No one walks away unchanged from transitional moments in life. Some changes are easy to recognize and others not so much.
The changes that are unconscious are not only more difficult to spot, but they are also the ones that unknowingly influence you the most later in life.
Knowing how you changed following transitional moments plays a big role in creating new opportunities to fulfill your desires after 60.
This is where your character arc comes in.
In this third of a four-part series on the “Six Simple Steps to Change the Narrative of Your Life After 60”, we are going to explore your character arc, which is the fifth step.
To create new opportunities and fulfill your desires in 2023 you will want to know what your character arc is.
During my training as a professional actor, I began seeing the correlation of storytelling in Hollywood to the stories that unconsciously direct our lives.
The first and most important connection I made in this was understanding my own life story and what my personal character arc was. To do this I had to get clear on the throughline of my life, which I will share more about later in the article.
What is a character arc?
A character arc is when a character in a story, specifically the main character, undergoes an inner transformation that in turn transforms her outer world.
By the end of every story, the main character has learned valuable lessons resulting from transitional circumstances they went through in the story.
Being aware of your character arc can lead to huge breakthroughs at any stage of your life, especially when you want to change your life narrative.
For many people over 60, what gets in the way of changing the narrative are fixed beliefs about themselves and life in general. Most of these are limiting beliefs.
To change your narrative, and thus, letting go of limiting beliefs, begins with the stories you tell yourself and those you tell others.
These are not just any stories.
They are stories about subjects and areas of life you seek improvement in but may not believe are attainable.
For example, if you want to see improvements in your finances, romantic partnership, health, or even the conditions of the world, how will any of these areas improve if you keep telling the same narrative about them?
This is where you begin to create a new character arc in 2023.
The arc of any story begins with a pivotal event that serves as a catalyst for a series of transitional moments that create personal transformation. To uncover what this is for you requires an understanding of your dominant throughline.
The arc of your life story is comprised of several significant transitions. Each one has a unique theme. Despite the uniqueness of these themes and transitions, a dominant theme remains.
This dominant theme is your throughline.
Your throughline frames the overall narrative of your life’s story and determines your character arc.
To help you obtain clarity for the narrative of your life, think of your life’s throughline as a pitch for a movie that sums up the essence of your story.
In this story you are the main character.
Here’s my throughline, which described my life up to my mother’s passing:
My outdated narrative and limiting beliefs to that point in my life formed my dominant throughline. I believed I was an outsider and not good enough to be, do, and have what I desired.
The younger character of Joanie acted out this theme by trying to please others at the expense of her own fulfillment.
Despite the success I achieved with my business and acting, I couldn’t see past the stories I was telling myself. That is because my outer reality was reflecting these themes back to me, further reinforcing the validity of my limiting beliefs.
Mind you, I did not initially see my beliefs as limiting.
So, what changed?
At the time of my mother’s passing, my business and personal life went through monumental changes.
It was the perfect storm of transition.
The only way I could survive was to tell a new story because my life was no longer what it once was.
Rather than find people to commiserate with or remain locked into battle with my inner critic over what I was worthy of, I took control of my life from the inside out.
Calling on some of my actor training, I applied my natural gift of storytelling to create the character I always dreamed of playing.
Here’s my throughline, which described my life after my mother’s passing:
Today, I do not look to the outside world to define who I am.
At long last, I am my own best friend. That is good enough for me because she is good enough.
To help integrate what you are learning, join me in the companion video for this article. I share additional insights and guide you through four journal prompts and an action item to assist you in creating your new character arc in 2023.
What throughline describes your life today? How has that changed for you through the years? Has there been a major event that redefined your character arc?
Tags Finding Happiness