A wise friend once told me a long time ago that my life would be made up of multiple lifetimes. I think I just nodded and went on.
Welcome to the future.
It's very clear that most people look into their personal crystal ball and define what they see accordingly. The future. In my case I saw one long run on Broadway. It was uninterrupted by life or the circumstances therein. No shock here, but things often changed and I became good at navigating. Sometimes the navigating was done by the stars.
In our time we are a culture of second acts and encores. Reinvention is the norm. At first glance for some this brings sadness. Many were counting on things playing out as one show, one performance. But reality set in and we were told the curtain was coming down. We looked over our shoulder and saw someone younger, prettier and certainly cheaper lying in wait. It was the end.
Or was it?
When our eyes are opened and things are clear we can understand a forgotten truth. The truth of second acts and encores. We are continually experiencing them. And it is a good thing. Call it the width of life and not just the length. Those that have decided that security and stability are to be worshiped will not understand this. I recommend you expect and embrace your second acts and encores. Savor the opportunity to fashion a wonderful ending or a song concluding the performance. Just don't linger too long over the empty auditorium. This will take a little getting used to.
I have had friends, family, money, jobs, business ideas, and more that lasted for only a time. Some ended sooner than I would have liked, others seemed to drone on and on. But all were a part of forming the painting that is my life. It is a strange dichotomy that we crave things that will ultimately hold us back, while rejecting the things that open up doors to our dreams. I fear less and my grip is now a little less firm because I want what's to come to just come and set me forward to the next act. Is the alternative really a better option?
Here are some things you should consider for the road ahead:
- Second acts and encores are happening whether you participate or not. Everyone gets the chance to perform or leave the audience wondering what's wrong.
- Since the second acts and encores are in motion, why not prepare? Have a song list, rehearse how you will exit.
- Don't romanticize your past. It wasn't as great as you think it was.
- If you're a rugged individualist, "self-made", a do it on my own type, then stop. Life was not meant to be a solo journey.
- Embrace your sadness as you would your happiness.