A few years ago, I read a book titled “Second Acts” by Stephen Pollan and Mark Levine. “Second Acts” was about how Pollan, the father-in-law of actor Michael J. Fox, started a second act (or career) after a life-threatening illness put the brakes on his first career. The book is basically a “how-to” guide on helping others to follow their dreams and stage their lives’ “second act.”
I am at a point in my existence where I have yet to discover or land that “second act” in my life and career. Something was “missing” in the past 10 years that I was working in a different field, not to my own choosing. From the beginning, it was never the right fit. Like a stubborn mule, I trudged on until realizing that it was something I didn’t want to do anymore.
I would be lying if I commented that I wasn’t jealous of anyone who has started their “second act” because, in truth, I am. The problem for me is I don’t know where to start. Anyone who says “follow your passion” probably didn’t spend countless days and weeks pounding their heads on the wall, trying to find that “passion.”
Some know what their passion is right away. For the rest of us, it’s a journey that takes time, struggles, and faith to find it.
As Ashley Ambirge of “The Middle Finger Project” eloquently put it “we’re a fast food nation and dreams are no exception. So instead of taking the necessary time to figure out what they are, we opt to dive into whatever we think might suit our fancy at the time.”
I’m not going to jump into the marketing world because everyone else is doing it right now. That also goes for entrepreneurship, social media, and other “hot” pursuits. Finding a “second act” is much tougher and longer than what conventional wisdom anticipates.
While I continue to try to find my “second act,” here are three stories that exemplify, maybe not directly, a “second act” in life and career.
-Cara Buckley for the NY Times has a story on former Boston Red Sox star Mo Vaughn, who found his baseball “afterlife” by purchasing and rehabbing buildings as a way to give back to the community.
-Dana O’Neil of ESPN checks in with Butler University, post-NCAA tournament run this spring. Did the Bulldogs’ run to the title game versus Duke put the school, the team, and coach Brad Stevens (right) into a new realm of reality that they did not envision?
-Elizabeth Merrill, also of ESPN, files this humbling story about Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. Zimmer is going through a “second act” as well…as a widower, nearly a year after his wife Vikki’s sudden death in October 2009.
These stories give a glimpse of how people handle the end of one chapter in their lives and a start of a new one. It is easy for some, while for many, their patience and struggle are tested as they weave their way into a “second act” of their lives.