Brené Brown was the first to teach me about Act 2. In any play or storyline, there is a flow that occurs. Act 2 is the height of the tension. It starts with an event or decision that creates ‘the point of no return.’ The point where the heroine/hero or protagonist cannot reverse course.
Elsa and Anna enter the enchanted forest and are trapped inside.
Ariel goes to the surface and saves Prince Erik and knows “something’s starting right now”
Marlin sets out to Find Nemo and finds himself in the middle of the ocean.
From that point on, you cannot return to life as you previously know it.
My Act 2 has been parenthood. I never doubted that I’d be a mom. I knew I wanted to be a mother, I was built to be a mother, something I knew very young.I think I thought it would come naturally. As the favorite babysitter for a family of six, I had a false sense of confidence about my own parenthood capabilities.
My son, and his Creator, interrupted that arrogance very early on.
He was a baby that, instead of one nice 2-hour nap, he took four 30-minute naps—and usually he awoke just as I started to get into a Master’s level text reading or essay.
That was just the beginning of being thrown off my self-determined parenting pedestal.
I do no have naughty or bad kids.
I have strong-willed, bold, tenacious, and passionate kids.
As they grow up, I am hopeful I will find a sweet spot in Act 2 that transforms me, even more so than them.
I am also confident that it is these same characteristics that make my parenting job so difficult, that will also serve them well in adulthood.
My thought process about these Acts of Life also sent me on a trip down memory lane of Act 1 and, yes, expectant anticipation for Act 3.
Act 1—My young adulthood with my husband was so vibrant.
We traveled, we partied, we explored!
We were happy, but I was also immature.
Act 1 in a play is about setting the stage and introducing the characters. Defining the “rules” of the world you are about to enter. I was learning all of that.
Who I was.
Who my husband was.
What it meant to be an adult.
While there was so much fun, there was also a lot of ignorance and immaturity—anywhere from careless mistakes to deep cuts in relationships.
I am grateful that none of them were so life-altering that I could have been part of an entirely different play.
I look fondly on Act 1 and it will forever hold a tender place in my heart.
And then there is my anticipation for Act 3.
Camille Braverman, the matriarch from the beautiful television series Parenthood. (PS I cannot begin to tell you my adoration for this series—I’m seriously embarrassed by how emotionally attached I am to this fictional family). She talks about her excitement to get back to her interests and dreams post-parenthood.
The culmination of the fun of Act 1, with the life lessons of Act 2 sounds so mesmerizing. I am inspired to be take heart through Act 2 and to care for myself so I can soar into Act 3.
A Therapist who should know, but doesn’t