Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Second Acts

F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said there are no second acts in American lives. I disagree. I would say just the opposite, that American lives are almost fully made up of second acts. I don't know if it is the times we live in or our peripatetic nature, but I know more people who have changed career and life paths (not always willingly) and are the better for it.

I began teaching only after I was fired from a production company. I would not say it was a blessing in disguise, getting fired is hell, but in the long run it worked out great. Teaching has made me a better filmmaker and a better person. The big secret about teaching is that we learn as much, if not more, from the students than they learn from us.

A former student of mine moved to Denver where she had a great producing job with the Starz network. She and her husband, also a former student, lived the film life for the better part of a decade. But that life wasn't enough for them and a few years ago they opened a pet boutique called The Wag Shop. http://www.thewagshop.com They couldn't be happier. For pet shop owners, they are pretty damn good filmmakers.

I am thinking about second acts in American lives because I see students who are convinced at age 18 that they know EXACTLY what they want to do with the rest of their lives. How do they know this? I don't know, not from anything I have told them. Also, I have seen many comments, both on-line and off, from bloggers talking about what they really want to do. My suggestion is to start thinking about your second act, because Act III will be here before you know it.



Wonder Woman said...

I definitely agree that there is more than one act in life. You never know where your path will lead you - try as you might to predict the future. Trials and hard times are not fun, but I try to remember to experience everything for what it's worth, the good with the bad.

PeterH said...

I think living in the moment is probably a good way to live. Difficult, yes, but worth it.


Lyn said...

Excellent post and great point~! It is the times, and, it is our intelligence also. Not saying that back in the day they weren't intelligent, they were jsut more inclined to stick with one area of it. We are more versatile and less likely to allow others to rule our destiny. Many times as people mature (I hate that word), they decide that it is time to do what makes them ultimately happy. It is a very interesting phenomenon... Enjoyed it...