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The Third Act

The Third Act.

Transformation, second chance, new career after retirement,

Time ,Space. Opportunity for growth and development.

The Third Act: After the Middle Ages Comes the Renaissance!

~Dr. MaryLynn PattonGail Sheehy puts the key question out there for our third act: will we be refreshed or resigned? This can be the best time in life if we release old roles, finish unfinished business, and find a renewal of purpose.

As Jane Fonda’s Youtube posted on the third act proclaims, this does not have to be an automatic drop off into insignificance but is an opportunity to reach upward in authenticity and spirituality. Scott Fitzgerald said “There are no second acts in American lives” and we do indeed live in a culture that glorifies youth. However, most of adult developmental theory and everything in Sheehy’s Passages would disagree, leaving the matter up to the choice of each of us. Greater self knowledge and new measures of self worth is possible in the 50s and forward. I’ll share at the end of this reflection on the third act the diverse bibliography that produced these comments. A common thread is whether we would always be led by our egos or experience the deeper inner call of our spirit. We all live with the constant social and external demands of our ego to look smart, have a partner, have money or a “successful” child, or be forever young. Going deeper and quieter with my breath to discover the heart and soul of who I am is harder but worthwhile. It helps me answer the questions of “what I really love is...” and “If I was not afraid then I would...”Paulo Coelho calls the ego “the other”. He explains that “the other” is the part of me that taught me what I should be like, but not what I am. He goes on to say, “I am just like everyone else who listens to their heart: a person who is enchanted by the mystery of life, who is open to the miracles, who experiences joy and enthusiasm for what they do. It is just that “the other”, afraid of disappointment, keeps me from taking action.” This retreat will provide time to listen to our inner guidance.Oriah also wrote about the ego and the weaving together a life time of choices that form a pattern of the deep essence of who you are and always have been along with your own persistent life challenge that comes up over and over for you. We’ll explore these personal patterns through visualization and collage.I was blessed this summer with the opportunity to have Betty Fussell to lunch for a conversation about her own Third Act. Betty had her 85th birthday in Tepoztlan while renting a house here and she will teach a writing workshop in Tepoztlan in January 2013. Check out Betty Fussell at to see her interesting website. Betty explained her third act in terms of the culture she grew up in, which echoes Gail Sheehy’s book New Passages that considers the changing patterns of aging influence by our individual culture. Sheehy says if we make it until age 50 without cancer or a heart attack then we are most likely going to live to age 92 or beyond. The implication then is at age 50 we may be just at the mid-point of life having given little or no thought to how we want to live the second half. Could it be possible to begin a creative endeavor, pursue a never-realized dream, connect in a closer way to one’s community, become healthier and more content?

Jane Fonda: Life's third act | TED Talk | this generation, an extra 30 years have been added to our life expectancy

The Fourth Act

Winding down,dealing with increased frailty and health issues . Coping with pain and loss

Facing the inevitable end of life.

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