Act3 – The Art Of Growing Older

By Adrian and Judy Reith

Friday, 6 October 2017

Act3 wasn’t supposed to be this busy.

We hoped being fresh empty nesters, life would have calmed down a bit. Instead, we’re madly road-testing the book you’ve sponsored.  This autumn, we’ve a number of speaking engagements, webinars and workshops on the Act3 theme. We are taking bookings for 2018 if you want a chat about that get in touch.

Here’s what we’re finding:

Life doesn’t stop at 50: How to enjoy a fulfilling third act, our September Act3 Guardian Masterclass just went by in a flash. 

“How was it, to be in a room with unknown members of our tribe?” asked a friend, describing the 60 fellow-but-unknown newspaper readers in a room for three hours on a Wednesday night at the Guardian offices.  The answer is – very good.  Exciting.  Encouraging too.

Though we knew few in the room, we risked people walking out by starting the session with The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying, as highlighted by palliative care worker Bronnie Ware.  A deep dive.  Start with the end in mind, we said.

5. “I wish that I had let myself be happier.”

4. “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”

3. “I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.”

2. “I wish I hadn't worked so hard.”

1. “I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

It’s the first time we have kicked a meeting off with death, but the mood in the room, the discussion and the feedback afterwards reinforced the usefulness of this part of the Act3 framework we’re building together.  You. Us.  Together, dear reader and sponsor.  So thank you.

It was particularly good to do this with an intelligent, engaged group of people.  We felt sharpened, here’s some feedback from one attendee:

My partner Peter and I came to your evening workshop at The Guardian the other week and I thought it was excellent; in structure, provocations, outcome and the supportive environment you swiftly developed. It gave us a structure to discuss and negotiate mutual desires for the next stage - which is very helpful, so thank you!

Many have said the Act3 topic has never really been properly explored before, and we agree.  So it’s gratifying as we write the book, to be road-testing the material and find it has genuine power for people.

Another attendee reported:

I had entered the room with the thought, ‘I am never going to sell the family home’.  I left the room determined to put the house on the market.  I realised, I don’t want to live Act3 in a museum.

You might also be interested in some of the headline outcomes in our group discussion about the pros and cons of age.

What is good about growing older?

  • Confidence
  • Freedom
  • Time to myself
  • Financial stability
  • Wisdom
  • No periods
  • No pregnancy
  • Money

What is tough about growing older?

  • Health
  • Purpose & meaning
  • Money
  • Relationships
  • What will I do all day?
  • Menopause
  • Looking after elderly parents
  • Anxiety



A couple of days later and we found ourselves at a reception talking to a relationship therapist who confesses that autumn features a big spike in client talk of divorce.   The nest is empty.  The kids have gone to college, the straps are loosened and whatever held the family together ‘til now seems to be making way for separate lives.  Big ouch.

This conversation coincides with two notes from old friends, one to tell us of the advance of leukaemia in a partner and the other to give news of a partner loving another lover.  “Hurry up and finish the book, I need it now!” was the message.  Ouch. Ouch.

It’s likely the future will contain some discomfort, but part of our Act3 strategy is to prepare people:

“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning or purpose.”  — Viktor Frankl

So take heart and tell others.

We’re in this Act together and are currently 17% funded and rising .... Thanks again to you – the lovely, the attractive, the juvenescent supporter of our book. 

With best Act3 wishes,

Adrian & Judy

PS: our next Guardian Masterclass Weekend – is February 24/25th  2018.   Details here: Act3 Guardian Masterclass Weekend. We’d love to see you there. 



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