There are no second acts in American lives.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1932
Life used to be a lot simpler in this country, because we all died a lot earlier.
I'm serious. Look at the chart above. When Fitzgerald made that famous statement, there literally was no time for a second life act; you could expect to pass away in your fifties.
In the 50s, when I was a kid, life expectancy in this country went into the sixties, which was pretty good. But it still didn't leave room for a long retirement beyond that big retirement in the sky.
But now, life expectancy is well into the 70s, which leaves us more than enough time to chase multiple dreams during our time on earth.
The problem is that so many people in their forties and fifties get so caught up in the grind of career and family that they don't even realize they can build a career on top of their current career.
Sometimes I think: If I had started taking ONE CLASS PER YEAR when I was in my thirties, I could have a whole other college degree by now! One class a year!
But I'm not just talking about new classes and careers. I'm also talking about new relationships and hobbies and friends and all other sorts of rebirths and second acts.
So many middle-aged people get stuck in the groove of their own life and they don't expand their horizons in any area.
Look, I understand. Things change so fast around you. People move in and out of your life, seemingly beyond your control. The world you're used becomes unrecognizable just as you're getting used to it.
But while it all might make you feel a little lonely, you're never really alone. There are thousands of other people just like you out there.
And I'm not just talking about joining Match.com. There's more to your second act than specialized websites.
I'm talking about going out and living. Going to the supermarket more instead of ordering food in. The theater. The park. The community center. The continuing education school. A lecture. A fair. A local school play.
All of these things facilitate human interaction, and fresh thoughts and relationships and hobbies.
And before you know it, you're back in the game. It's a new game, yes, but you're a new player now.
So my question to you is:
What steps are you taking to begin your second act?
Did you know that the most successful people in the world never come up with an idea first? That’s because the most successful people do the best job of improving an already existing product or service.