Janine walked into my workshop, carefully choosing a prime spot in the room. As I presented the course, I observed that she was alert, deeply engaged and her mind seemed to absorb the information, evidenced by her genuine eye contact and ferocious note-taking. She stayed after, talking to several people, obviously asking them questions, and learning from them while taking more notes. Who was this wonderful woman???
Intrigued, I walked over to her after the class. She was 89, wiry, feisty, and moved swiftly. She came to my retirement reinvention workshop to find some good, fresh ideas for her three retired children. She felt they could do more to feel empowered and engaged in life. She wanted them to go to bed fulfilled and happy every day. Sensing they did not, she was looking for ways to motivate her kids to have that experience.
I find myself thinking of Janine all the time. She and others who are doing 3rd life fabulously have become role models for me. I delight in thinking of how confident and self-assured they are in their bodies. They approach their days, weeks, and intellectual pursuits with vigor. As with Janine, their presence is surrounded by strength and energy that can be felt almost before they even enter the room. I felt drawn to Janine’s persona. I wanted to learn from her. When I create content, I catch myself asking, “What would Janine do?”. We are interdependent beings. In the era between birth and independence, we learn from older and more experienced people. It only makes sense that we would benefit from positive role models for our 3rd lives!
What was it about Janine that was so compelling?
- It was how she carried herself physically. Janine moved quickly and flexibly. It turned out she was doing yoga several times a week and it showed in her body movements. I was not surprised. There was a confidence in her body. She seemed to trust her body and was aware of her physical self. In my book, On the Edge of Something Bigger, I mention the observation of my aunt Erna who went downhill skiing into her 80s. Both seem well, strong, and connected to their bodies, and everyone around them can feel it.
- Vivacious hunger for life in her pursuits. The other thing I felt around Janine was her conscious alertness and hunger for new information and learning. She seemed hungry for it, eager and ready to collect it. She told me she feels that way a lot. She said she got obsessed with the next thing that she really wanted to figure out in her life. She liked chewing on problems and then looking for answers. She mentioned that she sometimes had great ideas and insights but then would sometimes not be able to retrieve those brilliant insights later, so she had learned to write down notes. Her hunger and curiosity struck me as being traits of someone who was alive and living life fully. She seemed passionate and driven. She radiated an intense aliveness. It made her seem much younger than her years. She was clearly biologically decades younger than her chronological age.
- The third thing I noticed was her resoluteness. She spoke with confidence and conviction. She did not apologize for any of it, even the strong opinions. She said that she was done apologizing, done not asking for what she wanted as she had for decades of her life. She had survived an abusive marriage. She owned who she was. I felt a little bit like I would not want to mess with her. Given her age, I can just see how some people might judge her for her age and make assumptions about what she could or could not do. But the way she showed up, it was clear that she knew herself and could hold her own. I found it endearing and it made me intensely curious to learn more about her and to be close to her. It was obvious to me that I could learn a lot from this experienced woman with so much life knowledge.
My question for you is, who do you know that is living 3rd life in a way you find just amazing? Thoughts of them make you smile and make you wish to be a little bit more like them.
For the next week take a few moments each day and ponder this question. They could also be protagonists in your favorite Netflix show or in a book you read or in a fairy tale.
The important thing is that when you resonate with someone, you are bumping into wants and wishes that are already present inside of you. You discover them by looking at someone else. Some clients have told me that they found it helpful to write out what they would like to role model to their kids when it comes to a wild, free, and fun 3rd life. Then they started to live into their own unique way of doing 3rd life in the best possible way and, perhaps, their kids can get inspired by it. Though we need each other, in truth, everyone needs to find, articulate, and define 3rd life for themselves.
Summary: Find role models and ponder what they have in common. You may want to reach out to your role models and tell them you think they are fabulous. Ask them for the secrets that got them to where they are and ask them for advice. You might make their day because this conversation is affirming for both of you. I hope you have fun with this!
Thank you for reading my blog. Finding strategies for adding contentment and joy and forevermore satisfaction to your 3rd life is what I am all about. I am obsessed with and am having a blast being on the lookout discovering the best strategies and sharing them with you. Stay tuned for more ways to make the rest of your life the best of your life, yet.