I have discovered after speaking with a lot of people, some that I’ve known for a while and others that I haven’t, that creating to a new start in life is difficult. The idea of letting go of what you had before isn’t an easy thing to do even though you know that it has to be done.
No matter who you are, circumstances in life will undoubtedly change your path whether you want it to or not. People will try to avoid this arriving train called change, but they won’t be able to do it. Staying on the platform hoping a better train will come won’t help you either. At this point, you need to lift up your head and get ready to decide what’s going to be your “second act”.
A lot of times, what triggers the need for a “second act” is not voluntary. It could be any of the following situations:
- You have retired from your job and now you are trying to find something to do
- You are coming back from an injury and you can’t do what you used to do
- You have been layoff unexpectedly from your job
- You have gone through an unwanted divorce
- You are getting out of a long relationship that you didn’t see coming
- Your kids, which account for a large part of your happiness have grown up and moved out
- Your parents have become ill and they have to move in with you
- You lost a spouse or close relative due to death
- You get that unwanted call from the doctor informing you that you have an illness
If any of these situations sounds familiar to you, remember that they are completely out of your control. Many of the decisions that were made were in the hands of others and whether you agree with them or not, they have already been made and will not be reversed. So, spending a lot of time beating yourself up, will not help you get past this phase. Trust me, I know this from personal experience. I tormented myself for weeks and weeks, as I always thought that I could find the answer to everything, and when I couldn’t I got depressed. I was trying to figure out what went wrong and I finally realized it wasn’t me, but forces outside of my control. The truth is, life will put us all through some ups and downs, and it’s all about how we are able to bounce back. We can’t let these events stop us from looking forward to starting something new.
During the “second act”, you must ask yourself this very important question, “what am I going to do next?” This is a very big question for those of us who are at this stage in our lives. We know that we need to move, but where to and how to do it, are questions that need to be answered. Our old life is in the rear mirror so our plan for the future is the only thing that counts. What we pursue during our second act is something that we have to decide for ourselves with the help of others or from our bucket list.
I wish by now that I knew a way to make this process easier for you. However, the truth is, there is no easy path. This journey can be lonely at times, but it’s your journey and no one can take this but you. Also, while you are trying to figure out what you want to do, you may encounter some other challenges like you may need better health coverage than you had anticipated or need to take a part-time job to supplement your pension funds and etc.
For the record, during my tenure, I have discovered that there are more people in this personal predicament than I had thought there would be. There are thousands of us out here, battling with this dilemma every day, trying to figure out how to handle our “second act”. Some cut their hair, dye their hair, and start doing things drastically different from what they used to do just to be different.
On the bright side, I can tell you from personal experience that by searching for your “second act”, you will discover something about yourself that you didn’t know before. Also, to be successful in this process, you need to know your strengths and weaknesses, and you may have to try several things before you land the right thing for you. Going through this process will help you realize you are stronger than you thought you were because I discovered the same when I started out.
So, what are some of the things that I have tried in my “second act” you may ask? Here’s a quick list.
- I have tried giving small seminars on financial literacy
- I have tried coaching children age 10-12 on basketball
- I tried being a world traveler but I ran out of funds
- I have tried being a more active grandpa to my two grandsons and it’s great
- I have tried being a golfer but I hit too many balls into the water
These are some of these things that I have done, and I can tell you upfront that I have failed at some and succeeded in others. I’m still working on trying to find that special thing that will make me happy and I wish you well at doing the same. No matter what, don’t look back, as the “second act” is all about “YOU” going forward. GOOD LUCK!!!