I am living the second act (or the third?) now at 63. Recently, I have been preoccupied about how 70 is looming on the horizon. My mother is finally slowing down at 87, having to deal with new little and not-so-little health problems all the time.
So is this about aging? But I feel so young.
Due to good genes people usually guess my age as a good 10 years younger. If you look closely, the skin on my hands and the rimples on my décolleté give my age away. I am still adjusting to being a grandmother, something which happened suddenly when my son married a woman with four kids. And retirement is two years away (even earlier if I choose to accept some financial cut in monthly pension payments.)
I have been busy all my life with projects outside of my job (thirty-some years as personal assistant to a German writer and television-maker.) I have built upon my B.A. in Psychology (NLP, biographical therapy, mindfulness, yoga) but never got around to teaching. I just don’t want to stand in front of a class. but I love being in a group of like-minded people, studying together.
I have been involved with Nepal and its modern art community for more than a decade, resulting in a discontinued gallery and an ongoing blog about modern art and modern life of Nepal. I started and maintained a preschool outside of Kathmandu for a number of years.
But now that the pension days are near and I am working on redefining myself again.
What do I really like to do, what gives me joy and energy from doing it?
My multi-passionate personality doesn’t make the next step any clearer. Slowly but surely projects like the gallery and the preschool are fading as well as the image of myself as the wise old woman offering courses in things from my background. What will take their place?
My love of travel is still there. Discovering new countries – with and without the husband – sounds wonderful. But I can’t travel all the time.
I have yoga, personal training and (kick-box)) fitness which I have really stuck to since my 60th birthday. I thought of becoming a senior fitness trainer but, it would still put me in front of a room — a place I don’t want to be.
I love being creative with photography and layout on the computer. Should I study graphic arts after I stop working? Do I want to do a full course of study from scratch at my age?
So many questions and no real answers.
For me, other second acts ideas pop up and die a quiet death again. There are days that I feel unhappy about the luxury problem of trying to chose my next incarnation.
I am blessed with good health (after overcoming breast cancer 12 years ago), blessed with a lovely family, blessed with a good income and nice colleagues, blessed with many friends near and far, blessed with living in a western country (Germany and Holland) with a very high standard of living.
But that aging thing is very real.
How many more of these very good and healthy years do I have? Maybe another decade. What do I REALLY, DEEPLY still want to do in those ten years?
I wish I could be a senior expert in something to be sent out on assignments worldwide. But my husband would miss me and I won’t see the grandkids much.
Instead of entering a phase of being totally free (from work, from expectations, from fulfilling the needs of others) I seem to have jumped right into the phase of not wanting to live too far away from the grandkids, of being caregiver for a more needy mother (even if only intermittently), and of being mate to a husband who is so nicely settled in our house that another move is not on the horizon.
So what will I be when I grow up?
What kind of shape will I give to this new act in my life? If I dare to be really honest I could share it on my blog (one of the many projects started but not really given good shape yet.)
Beata Wiggen splits her week between homes in Duesseldorf/Germany and Almere, near Amsterdam. She studied psychology (B.A.) at the College of Wooster, Ohio. After 7 years in the U.S. she lived in Italy for two years and then returned to Germany. The last 30 plus years she has worked for German writer/filmmaker Alexander Kluge as his PA and has collected trainings in diverse therapies and yoga streams on the side to stay sane. She is mother of a son (33) whom she raised alone until meeting her Dutch husband 20 years ago and is a somewhat recent ready-made grandmother. She wants to be a 60plus influencer when she grows up and blogs at www.beatawiggen.com and www.NepalNow.blog. Find her on Facebook and Instagram.