Make Your 3rd Act Spectacular!

By Kim Scott, LMFT

I am a big reader and so far this year I have read 4 books by 4 amazing women!

  • Jane Fonda’s “Prime Time”,
  • Rachael Hollis’ “Girl Stop Apologizing,”third act
  • Shonda Rhimes’ “Year of Yes,” and
  • Michelle Obama’s “Becoming.”

I loved each of these books and am hoping to share some of my ‘take aways’ over the next few weeks.  The book on my mind today is Prime Time by Jane Fonda.  In this book Jane teaches us that it is never to late to have a new dream, a new goal and a new ambition.  It’s also never to late to invest in your health.  Jane explains, “on average, 34 years have been added to human life expectancy.  Moving it from 46 years to 80.  This addition represents an entire second adult lifetime.” 

I find this empowering and daunting because we haven’t been raised with role models or a blue print for actualizing this “3rd Act,” as Jane calls it.  The old script had us view ourselves as old people by the time we were in our sixties but today’s 60-somethings (and beyond) are still healthy, energetic and engaged in life.  Personally, I was scared when I turned 50 because in my life narrative 50 was the beginning of ‘old age’ and when my first daughter graduated High School and went off to college the narrative became louder (in fact it was screaming at me).  The empty nest syndrome hit me hard!  I was 54 years old when she left home and my second daughter was only 2 years behind.  I worried and wondered . . . is that all there is?  What will be my purpose without my girls at home?  Who will I be if I don’t have full time mommying responsibilities? What do I have to look forward to now? Old age? Illness? Death?  Even before reading Jane’s book I said, “HELL NO!” to this dismal view…I knew that I wanted more! I had more to achieve and to give!  This was when I went back to therapy to chart my new course.

Actually, the idea of retirement never appealed to me … I love working, and learning, growing and being productive so I knew that my 3rd Act would need to stay big, active and meaningful.  I needed and wanted new dreams because my old dreams had run their course or no longer fit.  The old concept of the 3rd Act being a time of leisure did not appeal to me — well, sure a little more freedom and time to hang out with friends and family sounded good but not as a steady diet — No, No, No!  I always knew I needed more than that.

Jane’s book accentuates this. She talks about how today’s baby “boomers and seniors – are the pioneer generation, the ones to compose together a template for how to maximize the potential of this amazing gift of time, so as to become whole, fully realized people over the longer life arc.”

Yes!  This is exactly how I see it . . . the template for the new senior has not yet been written but I can guarantee you it is not like the template of seniors past.  In my personal work and in the work I do with my clients I am all about helping to create a new template of aging – one that focuses on growing wiser and continuing to contribute to our families, our communities, and our society, while, continuing to be vital and have fun!  Jane’s book explores all aspects of aging and how to truly thrive.

Let us know how you are thriving in your 3rd Act — or how are you struggling.  What are your dreams and how are you making them come true? What are the footprints that you are leaving for your children and the next generation to follow?

If you would like some support on this journey, therapy is a great place to start.  Feel free to give me a call at 818-309-7780 to see if I can help you chart your course.

Kim Scott is a licensed marriage, family and child therapist in private practice in Porter Ranch, CA.  She has been licensed for over 30 years and is passionate about working with women on improving their self-esteem and self-care, while charting their course for a bright future.  For more resources and to see some of Kim’s other articles visit her website at http://www.sfvcollaborativecounseling.com.

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