Theatrical productions usually have a First Act, an Intermission and a Second Act. When I turned 50, it was a time of reflection. I looked back at my First Act that featured college life, internships and career advancement. Marriage, children, mortgage payments and other realities of life were all there too.
To me, turning 50 was like an Intermission at a theater when you get up out of your seat to stretch your legs and get some fresh air. I gained a new perspective and a sense of urgency about what my expectations were for what was going to happen next in my life. I embraced my age. I didn’t fight it or deny it. That’s how lots of people in their 50s get into trouble, don’t they? Wisdom doesn’t always come with age.
Far from being ready to call it quits, I was, however, tired of toiling in the same corporate scenario day in and day out. When Saturdays and Sundays became “working remotely” days, I knew something had to change. As a marketing executive, I’m truly motivated by and inspired to help my talented colleagues move forward with their careers and, hopefully, their dreams. But, I have dreams yet to make realities and my “birthday clock” is clearly reminding me that time is slipping away.
I never saw turning 50 as a before-and-after point in my life. But a change was in order. I had to push a little harder for the next change to occur, though. Big dreams can be hard that way.
For me, the Second Act is living out my long-held dream of becoming a novelist. I’ve always been a good storyteller and I can be counted on to blurt out the ending to a television show long before it’s over. I must admit, while my endings are often more interesting, the blurting-out behavior has been curtailed as other viewers in the room prefer to see how the writers tell their stories on screen!
So after decades in an office chair, I’ve earned a break for my last act. My home office chair suits me well. Plus, when you’re a writer, you can escape to your imagination anywhere, anytime.
I’ve lived long enough to have firsthand experiences to bank on. I have a nice patina on me from weathering love and loss, joy and sadness. I can translate and transmit those feels better now than I certainly ever could have at 20 or 30 or even 40.
I like the following quote attributed to George Eliot: “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”
Go ahead, read that again. Let it soak in.
Now go write that book of yours, if we share the same dream! You can do it!
Take it from a Boomer who’s making sure he doesn’t bloom too late.