I won’t lie. Sometimes the curtain goes up in Act Two when you’re still merrily treading the boards and thinking you’re in Act One. Some transitions take the meandering route, allowing you to gradually ease into the second act after you’ve had time to make a costume change, shuffle things around in the props department, shifted the scenery a little bit. Other times, you Exit, Stage Left thinking you’re just ducking out for a prop and discover the curtain’s fallen and risen again, and all the stage hands have rearranged the stage for an Act 2 you didn’t even see coming.
You know you’re in an Act 2 when the conversations start going, “Are you still a…?” Sometimes, that “still” rides a cushion of contempt because you never did take up the role someone else expected you to take. Sometimes that “still” is tinged with a hint of marveled amazement that you’ve been doing whatever it is you’re doing for so long and either a.) haven’t learned enough to stop, b.) haven’t yet reached your bullshit tolerance in the activity, or c.) have been able to weather the Byzantine political machinations of your fellows.
But when that answer is “No,” there’s often a void right after. Sometimes it’s a slightly awkward pause in conversation, sometimes it’s an awkward pause in your life. You’ve defined yourself as a… for so long that it’s part of your identity, like the color of your eyes or the earrings you’re never without. But when the answer is, “No,” guess what follows?
You get to say, “Now, I’m a…” and pick something new. Something different. Something redefining.
Because Life Act Two is all about re-definition. Redefining yourself. Redefining your goals. Redefining the ways you accept being viewed by other people. Stepping into a new lead role that may take you into unfamiliar territory on the stage. Unfamiliar territory, but no less exciting and full of adventure.
And even if you are still a… you’re still not in the same place as you used to be. Sometimes being “still a…” means you’re not just redefining yourself, you’re redefining the world around you.