Tuesday, July 18, 2017

10 Things About Life's Fourth Act

The Third Act is the catch word for passing 50 years of age. Back when the phrase became all the rage Boomers were getting nearer to that part of their life.  Someone came up with the idea that boomers would bring a new "younger" feeling to what was once thought of as the beginning of old age. We wouldn't call that stage old anymore.

I could tell you things about my Third Act but if you have been reading my blog or even websites that deal with aging, you will understand what it is all about. I always thought of that part of my life as a time of choosing and reinventing myself. On most website this stage of life is defined as the period after 50 years of age until death. I don't think that is true. I think that the Third Act is just an older young. The next act is when we are truly old. We are living longer now and a Fourth Act needs to be added.

I know because I am entering the Fourth Act. If someone that is an expert defines that part of our life to fit a particular time frame that is all well and good. But the truth is we all come to that place on our own. I think that there are people that decide to skip the Third part and move directly to the Fourth. It is all about when you are ready for what is next.

My family and my husband of 79 all went white water rafting on Sunday. It was a big workout for everyone. They had had the best time of their whole life and, I think, felt more alive than ever before. A little danger does that. In the midst of all this joy and laughter my husband commented that it was the first time he had felt old...as though he could not do what was demanded of him.
My husband is the one with the red cap.
His three granddaughters are directly in front
and in the middle on the right side of the boat.
My son-in-law is riding the bull...his feet tell the whole story!

I could see it in his eyes. The truth is he was asking himself the question, "Would I even want to do that again?" I think questions like that are a sure sign that it really isn't what we can do...it is what we think we can do or even what we want to do. We are entering a new stage of life.
I took this picture as they floated by.
The giant dog kept an eye on the
parking lot where he was sure they
would be soon!
I would really have liked to do
that but I just didn't want to!

: This grandmother stayed in a park nearby the river and took care of a giant dog that dragged me to the bathroom where he layed in my stall and stuck his head under the wall so he could stare and the lady in the next stall. It was all so classy. He then took me past the hot dog stand and back to the river where he pooped and peed and went promptly to sleep. I read. It wasn't easy but it was still a lot if fun and I laughed at myself a lot! That dog tested my metal!
I am sure you have notice that this has been on my mind. I have come up with a list of ten things I am experiencing that are different. This is what I see:
  1. I have experienced in a very active 3rd Act, but now I make choices to either quit or cut back on things because that is what I want to do for reasons that are personal.
  2. I notice that there are things about my physical condition that affect my daily life.
  3. I might be developing Type 2 diabetes. 
  4. I won't or can't walk or move as fast as I once could. I still walk many miles a week though.
  5. My posture is changing.
  6. My family has told me that I are not in charge. I like that a lot.
  7. We make our funeral arrangements even though there is nothing wrong. My family was shocked and amazed...after all we are going to live forever they think.
  8. Since I am a woman over 75, I will not need a mammogram.
  9. I personally have experienced a wonderful feeling of enjoying the now. I am more focused and introspective than ever.
  10. I feel excited about arriving at this place and look forward to seeing life from a front row seat. Even watching the next generation do what I so enjoyed, gives me great pleasure. 
If you are one of the chosen few that arrive at old age, you should rejoice and dance in the street. It continues to be quite a ride.

If you can add to this list, I would love to hear your comments. What Act defines you?



  1. My mother(84) says that there are elders where she lives. She includes herself in that group. That group actively engages in senior living situations and rarely engages with the rest of the world, but they are called on for their life experiences and wisdom. She also says that there are "elderly" people as well. Elderly need the help of others to function day to day. They shuffle. They are not interested in how they look to others. So, according to mom, there is a 4a- that you are entering, 4b- that she is in and a 4c, if you are lucky :)

    1. That is absolutely perfect. Your mother would probably be a good friend if I could know her. She too would understand that we don't want to be stuck at age 50 for the rest of our lives!

  2. I will turn 75 this year and find myself not only slowing down, but I find my desire to push myself to the limit has diminished as well. I still enjoy a challenge, but it's different now. I'm enjoying more leisurely pursuits much more these days. :-)

    1. You and I are much alike. You have pushed yourself in way that totally amaze me. I am glad that you are finding that smelling the roses and almost as satisfying as flying through clouds.

  3. This is my first time to comment but I read (and enjoy)your blog regularly. It is also my 75th birthday today and I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate this particular post!

    I actually had a little "incident" in May that ended quite well and had a change in medication that allows me to feel better and have more vitality than in the last three years! Up and at 'em in the morning. However, I have been trying to understand the "new normal'. Your post is quite helpful and suggests I don't have to beat myself up for not being a superwoman, that slow and steady is acceptable and that the little things in life actually make for happiness and contentment. I embrace entering the fourth act.

    Jeannine in Iowa

    1. First of all Jeannine, I am so glad you left a comment. It is reassuring to hear that people share the Fourth Act joy. Be well and come back soon.

  4. This is the first I've heard of the fourth act. But I guess you're right, we all have to face the time when we begin to slow down and let others take the lead. Still and all, I say white water rafting is a third act activity all the way!

    1. You are so right...white water rafting is a 3rdish Act gig. But, if you are in the 4th Act, surrounding yourself with much younger people seems to be the key! :)

  5. Age is so relative with other factors that contribute to ability. I'm reminded of ageing as I look upon the middle-aged children in my circle. I'm reminded of a time when my son asked me what I would be doing one evening - Mom, it's Friday night! To which I replied - Been there; bought the t-shirts. "Friday" nights don't hold the same appeal like some of the risk-taking behaviors that young people engage in. They think they own the market on that zeal for living on the edge. Personally, some of the withdrawal from those activities can be attributed to the "been there, done that" as well as recognizing my physical limitations. In addition, I don't feel a need to prove myself in those domains. I'd still go white water rafting though.

    1. I would certainly go along for the ride...if I were invited because there was room in the boat. The thing is, I may not be much help. :)


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