A recent study reveals that people in the 21st century get an extra 34 years added to their life expectancy. That’s practically another lifetime which affords us the ultimate “do over”! Yippee! I love “do-overs” since I rarely get it right the first time.
The old way of thinking suggested that we are born, peak somewhere around the Middle Ages, and then get packed off to descend into decrepitude. The NEW paradigm suggests the last three decades of life aren’t all that different from childhood when we were feisty, inquisitive and full of ourselves. Then came puberty and we became insecure, desperately trying to be part of the cool crowd and struggling to fit into some preconceived mold our parents dreamed for us.
The third act gives us an opportunity to circle back to where we started and reinvent ourselves without concerns about what others think. At last, we can be ourselves without worrying that we will look naïve or stupid. Like Picasso once said, “it takes a long time to become young.”
The entire world operates on a universal law of entropy that says everything in the world, is in a state of decline and decay. There’s only one exception to this universal law, and that is the human spirit which allows us to keep growing and become who we were intended to be. It just takes some of us longer than others.
Act III calls for nourishing the spirit with wonder, delight in doing what we love, daily doses of laughter and a lot of prayer. Without a prayer we don’t have a prayer of succeeding in our third act! And speaking of laughter, I had a personal experience I will carry with me always. I awoke one morning feeling depressed and frustrated over some little thing. I called my son in tears and he listened then reported he had just seen a guy on Highway 82 wearing a pair of panties on his head.
I laughed so hard I had to lie down on the bed. What a day-changer that little story was! I wish I could find the guy and thank him for helping me put my troubles into perspective. If you see me walking down the street with a pair of panties on my head, you’ll know I’m just trying to spread a little cheer. That, or I’ve finally gone and lost my mind.
In case you’re wondering, the curtain call for Act Three is somewhere around the 60th birthday which we should celebrate rather than complaining and considering ourselves “over the hill.” To be over the hill suggests that we are past our prime and growing so rusty we cannot do anything exciting or contribute to society. I prefer to think of it as “near the peak” and we can do pretty much whatever we please even if that includes “getting’ down” and dancing to the music in our heads.
We can finally eat dinner at 4 p.m. and our most embarrassing secrets are safe with our friends because they can’t remember them either. Kidnappers are not very interested in taking us and we’re likely to be the first released during a hostage situation. No one expects us to run into a burning building or be last in the buffet line –age before beauty and all that. Your supply of brain cells is finally down to a manageable size, and you’ve learned it’s not a good idea to give yourself a haircut after three margaritas.
My best tip for your third act – accept advice gracefully and take it– as long as it doesn’t interfere with what you intended to do in the first place.