The Three Acts Of A Woman's Life - What's Your Purpose When Your Kids Are Adults?

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Let’s face it. 

No matter what other profession you’ve had, no matter what professional accolades you’ve received, if you’re a parent – it’s been your primary purpose in life.

Before I was a parent (almost 30 years ago), I was leading a workshop on transition and asking the participants what they were most proud of. This was a pretty standard career exercise – where you mine the accomplishments to discover transferable skills. 

Every person there would say “my children”. At the time, I assumed there was nothing else to the story – that they loved their kids so what else was there to say? So I modified the question and asked, “Aside from your children, what are you most proud of?”

I was really naïve.

I thought having children and raising children wasn’t special – that it was normal – that it was expected. And I thought there was nothing that we could mine in this success story that would be related to finding a new career. I was SO wrong. I was ignoring the huge emotional and psychic energy that is required to raise children. I was ignoring that raising children reveals gifts and values that you weren’t even conscious of.  which is a primary purpose of the second act of life. I was ignoring that – parenting children helps you to wake up to who you truly are. 

And then I had a child.

And my whole theory was blown to bits.

Having my son completely changed my life. He had a medical condition and so he spent the first year of his life being poked and prodded by medical professionals and was part of an experimental treatment. I had to give him a daily injections at different parts of his body, and record this on a chart. Then I drove to Montreal, weekly for a series of blood tests, scans, optometry, and measurements to evaluate how he was responding to the experimental treatment.

I practiced holding a calm, grounded, space, living in uncertainty, staying in the present moment, and not moving into doom and gloom. For the first time in my life, I had a purpose that transcended everything else that I’d been told I was supposed to be.

And as for my paid work, well that just had to fit in around my focus – which was Zac.

I became self-employed when he was a baby.

And that allowed me to control my schedule. I did work that I liked, and was good at, that I made a living from, but he absolutely came first.

My priority was my son.

I would drop everything on a dime if he had an appointment or needed something at school. 

I spearheaded bringing in computer assisted-learning and new processes and support – systems for neuro-divergent children in my son’s school – all so he got what he needed. Those process are standardly used today, in the schools in the schoolboard, that he attended. 

And I held my other dream lightly. That calling that I’d always had to do something unique and special in the world.

Starting when Zac was 4 years old, we used to go to Mexico for family vacations almost every year. I have fond memories of him in his little Cailloux t-shirt, and his bundle of Pokémon figures – and I’d walk down the beach and dream of having my own little business. I’d look at the lighthouse hotel on the beach at Playa del Carmen, and the spiral logos that seemed to be everywhere, and I’d get inspired.

I magnetized that dream.

I knew that while Zac was young, I was not going to be creating this little business. 

Yet I continued to imagine my little niched business that looked and felt like me. 

I wasn’t quite sure about what “it” was – though I knew that in some way, it had to do with small groups of women “returning to their happy chatter”. 

This dream was calling me for years. 

And while my son was young, I focused on him.

I wanted him to be happy and stable and safe, and to succeed in school. And my work fit into the spaces that I could find. 

But once he was in university, that all shifted.

That’s when I could start to create my work…the way that I’d always dreamed it could be.

Bring on the Third Act, baby…..

Here’s the way I see the three acts of a woman’s life:

First Act – Your job is to Grow Up. 

You go from childhood to young adulthood – testing, growing, learning, and discovering.

Second Act – Your job is to Wake Up. 

You start discovering who you are, you find a partner, create a profession, become a parent. You navigate overwhelm and exhaustion. You learn from the pains, heartbreak, and joys of life. Through all this life experience, you wake up to who you truly are. 

Third Act – Your job is now to Show Up.

You show up as who you’ve become, unflinchingly and unapologetically. This is where you stop holding back and you stop worrying what other people think of you. Y ou excavate that dream that’s been living in your heart. You answer that calling, and create your Work of Heart.  – that passion project or creative endeavour – paid or unpaid, that allows you to be YOU and make the contribution that you were made for. This has nothing to do with proving yourself to the world – it’s about BEING yourself in the world.

In your third act, your job is to show up fully, authentically, and purposefully.

When your children are adults or when you are past the point of proving to the world that you have a right to BE…. that means you’re in your third act. 

Now is the time to create your work of heart, to claim that unanswered calling and do the thing that lights you up.

You aren’t here to save the world, you’re here to fully shine your light – because that’s how you’ll bring more love to the world, and that’s what the world really needs from you.

I know that in your 3rd Act, it’s possible.

If I can do it, you can too 

Below, are a few pictures of EMERGE – my 3rd act work of heart – that I had in Mexico recently.

It’s how I get to show up in my 3rd act, and it answers a deep calling that lives inside me. 

Big love,

 ❤️

Bev

 

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