The Power of Thirds

One of the best things in life is new beginnings.

We get one every morning as the sun rises and a new day, never experienced before appears.  New beginnings are all around us. They show up as new relationships, new jobs, new bosses and new relocations. Sometimes, we’re blessed with new beginnings in the form of additions to the family: a new baby, grandbaby, spouse, niece or nephew, or a daughter or son- in-law.

Although we may not consciously think about it, birthdays are a new beginning for each of us. We say good bye to the last year and the next 365 days of our very own special year begins.

Like you, I’ve had a birthday or two. Some birthdays went by without a second thought, and others were much more memorable, celebrated with family and friends. There have been one of two though (like turning 30) that left me feeling a little melancholy, like I had lost something, or that “time was running out.”

That was until I turned 60 and found the power of thirds. I was celebrating at my home with a small group of friends. We were grilling, laughing and enjoying the evening.

The big question

As I sat there looking up at the beautiful stars, I began to reflect on the first 30 years of my life and thinking about what they had been about. Then I moved on to the next 30 and then the BIG question came … what did I want the next 30 to be like?

I reached the conclusion that for the majority of the first two-thirds of my life, I had essentially been on autopilot. Although I’d made lots of decisions (some good and some not so good) and had been blessed with plenty of successes, I really had not spent much time proactively thinking about what’s next. I realized that I had been like a canoe in a stream … floating, being pulled along, but not proactively setting direction and making choices.

I am so thankful for this birthday gift of insight from the universe!

I got up the next day and “mapped out” the first two-thirds of my life. I wrote down the names of key influencers and major events during each of those periods. It was a great walk down memory lane!

Past, present, future

For the first time I hit the pause button long enough to really think about my life … past, present and future. What were the key events? Who had played a major role?  How had those people and events shaped me and my subsequent decisions?

Would I say I had lived a good life?  And how would I define a good life?  As the map of my life unfolded, there were lots of smiles and a few tears. What a powerful and eye-opening experience.

The best gift of all from my journey was the realization that I was in the driver’s seat for the next third. I had an opportunity to make every day – and every year – be what I wanted it to be! I didn’t want to be a passenger. I wanted to be all in, living full out!

Scary, maybe… exciting, definitely!  And, what a rush!

Imagine … being filled with the thoughts of creating your own life … realizing you have a blank sheet of paper… then making your dreams come true.

Can you picture yourself at the end of this next third of your life saying to yourself and others, “oh yeah, I rocked this last third – how great is the next third going to be!

As a recovering Type A personality, my tendency is to “get ‘er done.”  Although mostly a positive trait, I realize there are also downsides … like moving on to the next thing without hitting the pause button to recognize your accomplishments or celebrating your success.

My next thirty will be more about being vs doing; it will be about being more deliberate in what I do, and how I spend my time and energy. It will be about living and loving as if each day were my last. It will be about telling those I love how important they are to me. It will be less about being a perfectionist and more about living an imperfect life.  It will still be about setting and achieving goals (I did say recovering).

It will still be about paying it forward, but now it will also include giving myself grace when I fall off the wagon (or out of the canoe). The key is I am the designer and the driver!

Are you up for a challenge?  What do you want your next third to be? Come on – do it!

Accept the Power of Thirds challenge! Take time to discover what you want this next third to be — and then make it happen. Don’t be like me and wait until your next birthday, give yourself the gift today!

Until we meet again, be your best self!

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  1. Wendy Fennell

    Good morning and an awesome read! I really appreciate this post – it felt like you were speaking directly to me – the first step is acknowledgement – I acknowledge that my Type A personality needs to become a “recovering type A.” That will become my focus – transitioning to a recovering state!

  2. Jeff Rogers

    Thanks, Joan, for your thoughtful and helpfully motivating message today.

    1. Joan

      Wendy, first step heightening awareness, next changing behavior.. good luck!!

  3. Jim McShane

    Super promotion for more “living in the present” and finding your purpose Joan! Something my young adult sons have been talking about recently. Thank you.

    1. Joan

      Jim, good for your sons and you being a great role model!!

  4. Judy McLane

    I loved this post. Like Wendy, I felt like you were speaking directly to me. I’m going to life map the first two thirds of my life . . . pause . . . then find the vision for this third. Thank you for the gentle nudge and clear direction to get it going.

    Much love, friend.

    1. Joan

      Judy, happy this spoke to you! Looking forward to hearing all about your next chapter!!

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