Second Acts according to Google, is something a person devotes his life to later in life, after retiring or quitting his original occupation, after a successful career. I am nowhere near the retirement age; neither do I have a successful career under my belt yet, so I don’t feel as qualified to take on this topic. But after a bit of research and thinking, I think I have a thing or two to contribute to this conversation. Watching my father who is newly retired, still go after his dreams of building a legacy, definitely gives me something to look forward to as I get older myself. But the second acts, shouldn’t be reserved for just when you retire or when you are done with a successful career and here’s why.
When I think about the Second Acts, I see it as the next phase in life. In screenwriting, there is something referred to as the first act, the second act, and the third act. So we can liken the first phase of a person’s life, to the first act, where a person or a hero so to speak is first introduced into this mystical world. We learn about who this character is, their backstory, and why they are where they are now. The second act is usually when the character is trying to figure out how to get out of a particular situation or to solve a specific problem, which we can then liken to dedicating your life to one specific cause (second acts).
While the third act, usually the grand finale, which is mostly victory packed, is not relevant to this article. The reason why the term Second Acts, shouldn’t be reserved just for those who are retirees or those who have had a stint at successful careers, is because young people like myself may have faced a lot of hurdles in our first act, and finally get it in the second phase of our lives, which is not necessarily after 60 years or after a great career.
For instance, I graduated from college at the age of 23, and I had no idea what my purpose was in life. I got a degree in engineering and tried for years to land a lucrative job, but to no avail. I struggled with the fact that I may never work as an engineer in my lifetime. And it was so hard to come to terms with that, especially when you see the people you went to college with, well advanced in the careers at this point. It made me look at myself as a failure and someone who wasted years of not knowing what they wanted out of life.
Then came age 29, and I rediscovered my gift for writing. I have always known that I had it in me but never stepped out to use it for anything. I remember my college professor telling me, that I was never going to make a lot of money from writing. If I wanted a good paying job, I had to focus on actually learning the engineering aspect of what I was trying to achieve at the time so that I could be successful. I am not saying he was a bad or a mean man, for saying that, but now looking back in hindsight, I know he was only speaking from what he knew or what he had seen in his career.
Before I turned 30, I stepped out on faith and launched my online platform, where I address a lot of topics through articles and open conversations. Initially, I thought; no one would read my articles, and I am not qualified to talk about things like these, and also I didn’t want to be stereotyped as a blog that had no credibility. But I’ve found out with my commitment to writing almost every day, and getting some of my articles published on Thrive Global, under community, has challenged me to become a better writer and communicator and hence drawing more people to my website.
I would say, discovering what I want to do now with my life at 30 years, is my second acts. Learning from those who have gone ahead of me and are successful at it, is my second acts, and now being confident in my abilities, is my second acts. When I think about getting older, I no longer freak out, because I know I will live a fulfilling life, dedicated to my craft and bringing others with me along the way.
So this is not to take away from what the actual meaning of second acts is, but I have seen a lot of people in my generation, who want to give up on life, because something hasn’t worked out, or they don’t know what their dreams and passions are. So my message to them today is— it is never too late, and there is a life out there that is waiting for you to be discovered. So let your despair, lead you to explore the greatness that is within you.