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5 Helpful Steps to Creating a Fulfilling Future: A Boomer’s Third Act

By Joan Frances Moran December 10, 2022 Mindset

How often do you think about creating your third act? If you are my age, nearing 80, you might think about it more often than not. You’re comfortable now, and yet, you somehow feel that there will be a few adjustments or changes in your future.

After all, this is your third act, and you want to roll with new experiences. Even though not all changes will be perfect, or even desired, you can expect they will be exciting and full of surprises.

Almost daily, I go over several ideas about how I want the next five or 10 years to evolve. I’m unsure about how these decisions, intentions, and goals will play out, or how they will affect the next 20 years of my life, but I’m clear there will be no huge changes, no abrupt entrances or exits from my present life.

No matter the outcome, I will be pursuing my passions – writing, practicing yoga, and dancing. My passions are the guarantee that I will have a fulfilling future.

What’s in a Story’s Third Act?

I was reading over my writing notes the other day on writing the second act in a novel, and I thought the ideas would be appropriate for analyzing a boomer’s third act.

After all, in every decade of your life, you contemplate the essence of your truth, and, perhaps, ruminate about the existential status of who you are.

Writing a story or a novel is essentially revealing a character’s life as it is lived. If you were a character in a novel, the author would create your arc beginning in the first act (who are you, what do you want, what is your conflict).

Then the author moves into the second act (attempting to solve your major problem(s) related to conflict and characters), and, finally, in the third act, the author resolves the conflict as the character moves toward resolution.

Your Third Act

When you enter your 60s – the boomer years – you are ready to retire and move on with the plans that have captivated your imagination. Freedom lies ahead of you. Creative dreams emerge.

All the planning and proposed activities (plots) stir up your emotions as well. Important events and activities will happen as you cross the threshold. Maybe unforeseen problems will emerge.

What Awaits You?

What awaits you? Grandparenting, or the changing dynamics with your adult children. You might hear a calling to take a risk or do something that seems incongruous with your first and second acts, or encounter adventures that seem contrary to how you are accustomed to living your life.

This is exciting and can be life-changing. Intuition coupled with planning will be your guides.

The following are five steps that will be helpful in structuring your fulfilling future.

Keep Your Passions Close

In a world full of distraction, you probably bounce from pillar to post. With a barrage of daily news and social media, you could go mad. If your focus is constantly diverted, how do you hang on to all that you cherish in life?

It takes clear thought to wake up every day with an intention to pursue one of your passions and begin the day with focus and joy. This is a discipline that keeps loneliness at bay, tackles a personal need, or integrates you with your community.

Meditate: Give Yourself Time and Space

No good decision is made quickly. Sometimes, it feels as if the deciding is taking place in the moment: On the spot, you plan to travel to Africa. But, in truth, that decision is made over weeks, or months, or even years, without awareness of it in real time.

Meditation, the idea that you are rooting yourself in the present, fosters consciousness and creates distance at the same time. You let your thoughts go in meditation – you watch them go by like clouds. Your ideas and plans will return at another time with clarity, which lends credence to your decisions.

Be Aware of Your Most Basic Personal and Financial Needs

A rule of thumb is to take stock of your most basic personal and financial needs once a year. How else will you understand where you are in the development of your most fulfilling future.

Keeping your personal information up to date, knowing upcoming events and activities, organizing an up-to-date calendar are good habits to maintain. This can save you countless hours of searching for necessary documents about future payments for house or car insurance or ledgers of expenses.

Keeping files related to your life correspond to how your remaining years will be consciously fulfilling.

Think About Your Legacy

A fulfilling future includes giving significant thought to your legacy. Every birthday, be aware of what you have accomplished, and what you look forward to accomplishing. It’s your future, and you alone determine how it will be meaningful and courageous.

You don’t have to ask anyone for permission because this is your life. First, put your will in order. Make a trust, if necessary, and organize life after death. The path going forward can be exhilarating and give you a sense of time and place that is surely inspirational.

Visualize Your New Life

It is an honor to grace your life with clarity; to see it in front of you on the horizon and make fulfilling commitments to the process. Visualizing the future is like extending a piece of music that will play out in beautiful tones and perfect construction.

You’ve lived long enough to know the pitfalls will be minimal and the gifts will be sweet. Seeing yourself ahead of your present life will give you courage and satisfaction. It will also make you happier and healthier, more curious, assured, and comfortable.

Acceptance and Gratitude

A boomer’s third act means something different to everyone. Yet, there are two constants that will give you a perfectly fulfilling life: Acceptance and Gratitude.

By accepting your life as it moves forward, you confer respect and acquiesce to its unique character, much like a character in a novel whose arc unfolds during the story.

Giving daily gratitude for the life you are living and sharing with others is the extension of your inspiration and dedication to a life well lived. Everyone can have a perfectly perfect future.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

How do you envision your third act? What do you do to make the most of it? What have you had to accept in your life thus far? What are grateful for the most? Please join in the conversation!

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Insecurity and Challenges: My husband and I have been together since we were 17yrs old…and we love every minute of the time spent together. We have lived a sustainable, self-sufficient lifestyle for 50yrs. Health did not bless us with children. My husband has suffered with kidney disease and faced pending-death four times. I have been his carer for 20yrs. In 2019 a mega bush fire destroyed our property. We escaped with our lives. Our financial security was locked into the development we had put into the house and land. Suddenly it’s value was reduced by 60%. Thus leaving us with no funds with which to buy into a retirement village. We have built a new house with home insurance money. However, we have hundreds of burnt trees and no fencing. We had a current valuation of our property and it is $250,000 below average due to the fire damage work that needs to be cleaned up and repaired. My husband can’t do the work. I have a rare spinal disease and cannot do the work. We have no money to pay for the work to be done. Our backs are against the wall. And we are still grappling with everything that we lost in the fire and how years of work and planning was destroyed. Every six months we take stock of our life. All savings are gone. Spent on health and repairs. The future is cloudy.

Patricia Ann Powell

Good morning, Judith,

What a long beautiful love story you have lived. A gift you have, having one another; taking good care of your husband inspires me care for my husband better. Our marriage has been a roller-coaster and PTL we haven’t and DON’T want to ever give up.

Lately I too have found my life full of many uncertainties. I remind myself every day how important trusting God is. I read ‘God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. And He trusts some of us more than others.’ I’m sorry that you have so many challenges and I will pray for you. When we share our struggles and joy too, it opens the door to love others more. I pray you have hope and that earth angels will show up to help you two. God works through good people.

Many times my mess has become a message. You are not alone! The trees will regrow, I’m sure you already know. Maybe there is a ministry or help agency nearby. One family friend lost her home and now lives VERY happy in a HUD program (subsidized by Government based on her income).

I can relate with your problem as we live in a floodway (flooded numerous times with water ankle deep on the first floor once). Now 35 years later our farmhouse foundation is bad shape and without the funds to fix. I count my blessings everyday and reflect on ‘The Serenity Prayer’ God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. One friend shared if He brought you to, He will bring you through. True. Hugs!

Last edited 1 year ago by Patricia Ann Powell

In your 80s? Just planning the next week should suffice!

Last edited 1 year ago by Gerry

The Author

Joan Moran is a keynote speaker, commanding the stage with her delightful humor, raw energy, and wealth of life experiences. She is an expert on wellness and is passionate about addressing the problems of mental inertia. A yoga instructor, Joan is the author of her wise and funny memoir, "60, Sex, & Tango, Confessions of a Beatnik Boomer" and "I'm the Boss of Me! Stay Sexy, Smart & Strong At Any Age". Her latest book, a thriller titled “An Accidental Cuban” is now available on Amazon. Check out Joan's website and follow on Twitter @joanfmoran.

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