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Wednesday, 3 July 2013

The Second Act

by Anne MacFarlane

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I spend my time as I approach another milestone birthday. I’m no longer a parent of young kids, or even teenagers, and a couple of loved ones are struggling with serious health issues. It’s made me stop and consider what I want for my Second Act. Since I plan to live until I’m at least 110, that’s a lot of hours to fill.
 
Anyone who knows me well, knows I’m an “ideas” person rather than an “action” person. I’m really good with plans - if you want someone to brainstorm a story, I’m your girl - but I’m not so great with the follow through. Unfortunately I’m not wealthy enough to hire assistants to carry out my great middle of the night ideas, and I think publishers really expect you to actually write your own words unless you’re  James Patterson and can hire collaborators, so I have to find ways to inspire myself to action.
 
The other day I was wasting time searching for inspiration and discovered a site called the Good Life Project, Don’t Just Build a Living, Build a Life.  
 
You can check it out here: http://www.goodlifeproject.com
 
The videos on the site, at least the ones that I’ve had time to watch, discuss fear and courage and taking chances. It’s about spending your time doing what you love and making a living at it.
 
And that’s what I want for my Second Act: To make a living with my writing.
 
I would love to hear of websites, people, books that inspire you.
 
And do you think of yourself as a person on the first or second, or even third, act of your life?
 
Have you taken huge detours to get to a place that brings you joy?
Please share.















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24 comments:

  1. Great post! I'm definitely in the second act of life, and I'm also more of a planner than a doer, but I also really dislike wasting time. I shame myself into finishing projects. The names I call myself are terrible. Is that considered workplace bullying?

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  2. Paula,
    Now, if there were whips involved, you could call it masochism and have a book. But psychic pain? Not so much.

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  3. HI Anne,

    I've been doing a lot of reassessing, too. Too much stress on the domestic and work side of things, not enough balance. I realized that the reward of writing has to be as much about the process as the end result. I spend every day in my basement staring at a computer screen. I have to love doing this, because it takes a lot of time, mental wrangling, and pep talks. :) Thus, I need to ensure that I love what I'm working on.

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  4. Pam, I agree. Sometimes it's difficult to remember why we started writing in the first place. Finding our way back to that joy is important if we want to make a success out of both our writing and our lives.

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  5. I'm going to check that website out. I'm probably more of a planner/doer. I'm hoping within a year or so to find a bit more balance as far as day job/writing. Less of the first, more of the second. Working on the plan now with the hope of getting to the 'doing' part next year some time. :)

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    1. Kelly, you are definitely a doer! Hope you find the balance you're working towards sooner rather than later.

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  6. I love zenhabits.net ...great ideas for simplifying your life! Can' t wait to check out your link.

    I know with my son getting older I'm starting to think about this a lot more ... good timing!

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    1. Thanks for posting this link. What a great site!

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    2. Nikki, love zenhabits.com. And there's about 5 or 6 years of archived posts, so lots of great advice.

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  7. I commented over on Facebook already, but to repeat myself, the taking-huge-detours part is something that I've wrestled with until I've stopped thinking of it as a detour. Everything that has happened to me makes me the writer I am today, so why think of it as derailing? Really enjoyed your post today, Anne.

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    1. Julia, we often end up in places that we didn't expect. But it's nice to be open to those detours. You never know what wonderful roads you'll find when you go off the beaten path.

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  8. I'm firmly in the second half. A few years ago I bought a wooden sign that says spells Simplify, which I keep on the ledge of my kitchen window. This has been our motto since we became empty nesters in September, and once our house sells, we will be downsizing into something much smaller and paring down our possessions. Our goal right now is to focus on experiences, rather than material things. To pursue and devote more of our time to things we're passionate about, such as travel and my writing.

    Anyway, great post! I never heard of that website so will definitely check it out.

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    1. Annette, I think "Simplify" is a wonderful motto. I'm a pretty simple person. Don't get too excited by "stuff." The more you buy/have the more time and money you spend taking care of it all.

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  9. Great post, Anne. I'm in the second half and like Annette, trying to simplify. There are so many opportunities now to make a living with writing, so your timing is perfect. Thanks for the website link.

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  10. Thanks for dropping by, Bev. I know your kids are just a little younger than mine. Every year it gets a little easier - and you get more freedom. Love it.

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  11. Great post, Anne and some very thought-provoking comments, too!

    I don't have any inspiring websites since one of my second act goals is to spend less time on-line. ;) I am going to check out some of the ones suggested here, though.

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    1. Deb, I spend way too much time online as well. I spend at least one day of the week totally unplugged - interacting only with real people,

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  12. This is a fantastic post. I am definitely a planner - a much better planner/dreamer than a doer, but I think I'm getting better as I get older. I'm not sure if it's because I feel I just don't have the time to waste, because I am tired of seeing a long string of unfinished projects or that I am also more realistic about what I can do. My dad died relatively young - and unexpectedly. So that, and working in a kid's hospital for over 10 years - let's just say I don't take my next day for granted. Surrounding myself with doers helps too.

    I certainly do not have it beat - maybe I've accepted it's something I'll always have to struggle with.

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    1. Michelle, I struggle with it, too. I think it's part of having big dreams. No matter how much we do, we always have a bigger dream.

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  13. Detours...the story of my life, but like Julia, I've stopped thinking of it that way. All the side journeys have made me better equipped to do what I'm doing now, in the day job and with my writing. I'm much more of a dreamer than a doer, and it's part of my make-up to need to spend a certain amount of time "doing nothing" - which of course, isn't really doing nothing. It's refilling the well. For my second act I'd like to make a living writing - still hoping.

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    1. Jennie, lets hope making a living at our writing is part of both of our "second" lives.

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  14. Second act? Maybe. If I'm lucky.
    Symplify? It's a shiny idea. Right now the idea of simplifying life is having its biggest vogue since the mid 1800s, after Thoreau's Walden came out. Sometimes I yearn for it; sometimes I think it just isn't for me, that I need a minimal level of chaos and clutter or the ideas don't come.

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    1. Heidi, it's great that you know yourself so well. I'm definitely not a neat freak so my desk and writing room are always a little chaotic.

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