What is the Third Act of Life?
This week I entered a new phase of life. My “baby” left for college, and I entered my third act of life. It happens to most parents, and it’s often called “the empty next”. Your last child leaves your home, and with a term like “empty nest”, no wonder people dread it. We don’t choose this. It ends because children grow up and start their own adult lives. We know it’s coming. Some parents celebrate it. Some ruminate over it, and some fall apart because they don’t know what to do with their lives sans daily parenting. Their “empty nest”, and their “empty” lives feel desolate. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want that life at all.
Every Act of Life is a choice
If you think about it, every stage of parenting is potentially joyful or devastating. In the first act of life, most parents love watching their children’s first steps, but some mourn their baby growing up. In the second act of life, some delight as their children go to school for the first time while others wish their children stayed young and stayed home. During the third act of life, some celebrate teen year, and some endure them reminiscing about their children’s younger days. Then comes the final blow. These children that parents invest so much of their lives and energy into leave home permanently. While it’s sweet for some, it’s bittersweet for others and downright painful for many. And some hold onto that pain far longer than is healthy.
Why not embrace the Third Act of Life?
I say we change that. What if, instead of empty nests, we choose to live our lives as a play, novel or movie and joyfully enter the third act of life? In plays, novels and movies, we learn about the story in the first act. The tension builds through the second act and reaches a climactic moment at the end of the second or beginning of the third act. Then, the level of action declines as the tension ends and the story resolves. In a narrow view of life, the end of the parenting journey could be the gateway to the end of life, but does it have to be? Could the third act of life be more than the end of the story?
What if we change the narrative? What if the third act is merely the setup for the sequel? We could decide to be like the Fast and Furious, Harry Potter or even Shrek, where the end of the story is not the end of the story. It’s merely the beginning of the next story and the next great adventure. Look, I know watching your babies take flight is difficult, but it’s necessary for them to grow up and become fully functioning adults. It’s necessary for parents to do continue to do that too. It’s part of why I started this blog. I want parents to live their best lives so when the time comes, they celebrate rather than mourn and encourage their children to do the same.
Make your Third Act anything you want it to be
So how do you do that? For me, it started with a hobby. I love writing and journaled most of my adult life. When my children got older, I self- published a few books and started blogging for fun. Truth bomb: The father of one of my son’s friends, who was much younger than me, passed away after blogging about his illness, and I decided to use his life to inspire me to push fear aside and start sharing my writing through blogging. I am grateful to him to this day. In the past two years, I learned about blogging as a profession, got certified to teach the DISC behavior system, and now call myself a full time blogger and DISC consultant. Everything I write about I used to raise my children the best way possible and have a great marriage. Now I get to teach that to others. It keeps me engaged and feeling great about life, and I love waking up every day.
Let your music and story out
I learned a huge lesson in 1997 when my father passed away far too young . That lesson is that life is short. I am reminded of that constantly as people my age and far younger pass on, many with their music still inside them. It used to scare me. Now, it motivates me to live my dreams before the journey ends. I get annoyed with my own excuses, so in the next few months, I’m launching products to help parents eliminate their own excuses and live the life they want so badly. When I was younger, I knew there had to be secrets to life, and I wanted to know them. I found them, and I’m sharing all of them in the products I’m releasing. To get access to those secrets, sign up for our email community and be the first to start changing your life, whether you’re in your first, second, third act or later.
Your best third act of life as a gift to the world
Look, we all want to live our best life, and when we embrace changes like our children growing up with joy rather than dread, everyone wins. We get the chance to have new adventures, and free our children to do the same. Who knows? You may inspire your children more by living well after they leave than you ever did while they lived with you. Sign up for out email community below and we’ll get there together. Let’s head into the third act or whatever act you’re in and have one heck of a good time figuring it out. What if you wake up every day happier than the day before, with a song in your heart and a skip in your step, knowing you’re living your best possible life? Take it from me, it doesn’t get any better than that. Time to embrace your story and take it further than you ever thought possible. Live your best life and truly let the rest go!Click here for ways to support the Moving Toward Better mission.