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Creating a New Character Arc for Yourself In 2023

By Joanie Marx January 07, 2023 Mindset

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.

What Is a Character Arc?

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.

The Arc of Your Life 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.

What Is Your Dominant Throughline?

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.

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:

  • Believing she was not good enough, Joanie lived to please others, ultimately learning she pleased no one, including herself.

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?

The Transition to Your True Self

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.

This became my true, authentic self.

Here’s my throughline, which described my life after my mother’s passing:

  • Discovering self-love as her superpower, Joanie accepted she is worthy of being valued and now confidently shares her gifts with others.

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.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

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?

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In my early adult years i didn’t believe in myself or that anyone else would either, especially being married to an alcoholic who reaffirmed my self image. After I divorced I decided that I would never again be with someone who had an addiction or verbal abusiveness. Later I married an amazing man who believed in me and encourage me to step out of my comfort zone. I was terrified, but with his incredible faith in me, I moved up in the business world at one point owning my own company…(I know hard to believe). He passed away after a year long battle with cancer after many years of love and support. I remarried another wonderful man and life has continued with a sense of worthiness and love. I found my faith in 2002 and while I believe I have grown 10 fold in my faith since then. A sermon today made me realize that 2023 is a year that I need to have more personal time with God, putting down books, social media, and television….so many things distract us from that all important time with God and the salvation for all…..Jesus. It will be a hard to set aside the simple pleasure to spend time with the greatest gift we have every been given….time with our creator. While I do my daily reading….it’s minuscule as I look at the time spent with those other things.


Thank you for sharing your story. It gives me courage to know that some people truly still believe in God. Although my narrative and personal story is different, it is helpful to know that you are a survivor and have successfully navigated through pain and loss.♥️


What an insightful article! At times, feeling lost and not knowing where to look for more meaning in life, this article has given me a starting point and ways to clarify my life and how to move forward. Thank yoh.


Thank you! That was a very empowering message to hear at a very pivotal crossroads in my story. I’m 73 and fear staying stuck in a limiting mindset.
I think our truth is within us, but a little catalyst doesn’t hurt to assist in the excavation.


I love this. My word for 2023 is REIMAGINE…. I have learned that being a pleaser and someone that always puts herself down to build another up is unhealthy for everyone, especially for myself. thank you for this article and reminder


I’ve been working — not having a name for it other than reflection! — since my husband of decades became very ill, ultimately passing in May. I’m having to begin not simply a new chapter, but an entire new book, it seems. Thank you for some suggestions!


My husband passed away in October 22, I have no idea how this year will be for me ..alone after 36 years of marriage. No children or family here.

The Author

Joanie Marx is a three-time bestselling author and the creator of the new, groundbreaking Refocus & Renew Your Life® online course series on Udemy. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in Psychology, and a leading authority on refocusing and renewing your life.

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