Life in Three Acts, Part 3

Live Like You Can

By Janis McDonald

When I was little, my father would surprise Mom with her favorite box of Whitman’s Sampler on special days. My sister and I would be thrilled the minute the box was opened, knowing next we would get to choose a piece of chocolate. Mom would say, “Well, which one do you want?” I remember instantly feeling uncertain, feeling pressured and thinking, “What if I don’t like the one I picked? So many choices, what if I make the wrong one?”

Being seven years old, it felt so vitally important to pick the “one” I knew I loved just in case Mom never offered again (she was a chocoholic, that box could disappear fast). My sister and I finally figured out our favorites although it took many years of researching and daring, occasionally experimenting with our “usual safe” choice. Sometimes we were elated to find an even better choice than our old “standbys.”

A critical part of the Third Act of life is to experiment and discover new or re-discover long-forgotten activities that light a spark creating the energy to check them out. Perhaps trying out different lifestyles with new freedoms to do the things we simply like to do. It requires a certain tenacity and courage to step out of old patterns and choices to explore something different.


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