Act 3 – The Art of Growing Older by Judy Reith and Adrian Reith – life after 50

Act 3 by Judy Reith & Adrian Reith


This is a book which is subtitled “The Art of Growing Older – How to Re imagine your Life After 50”. The authors, husband and wife who use their own experiences throughout this unusual book to “Help”. Early in the book they list what the book will not do, such as “Nag you about your alcohol, drug, smoking or shopping addictions” or crucially, “Judge you” instead they offer various kinds of help, such as “Help you feel positive about getting older”. This is a book which seeks to help those who are over fifty to think positively about the third Act or section of their life, once growing into adulthood (Act 1) and enjoying career establishment and child rearing (Act 2)  are finishing. It may not suit everyone in that age group; it is an arbitrary age band. The essential point is that this book has suggestions for stopping to think about what “you really, really want” from life. Changing direction, moving house, retiring from one career to embark on a new one, considering new friendships and relationships, there are so many points at which this book suggests that stopping to think and consider can make a real difference. Not so much a book of rules as a friendly guide, this is a useful book for anyone who wants to stop and consider their own way forward, and I was interested to have the opportunity to read and review this book. 


This book uses various strategies to offer its affirmative message. It suggests keeping a journal, in which it is possible to draw visual representations of feelings and plans. It uses the extended metaphor of a tree, with various branches such as “home” and “family” which grow off the main trunk, a tree which begins with roots such as Attitude and Purpose, and is fed with both visible and invisible assets.  Circle diagrams ask the reader to consider and set out who is in their inner circle, and who inhabits the outer rings. 


The main inclusion in this book which breaks the text down most usefully is the experiences and comments of those who have been confronted by the same challenges and opportunities, It includes the actress Eileen Atkins who has contributed comments and a list of suggestions for everyday activities, as well as people who have had children very late, or who have adopted children. It includes experiences of retirement complexes, as well as those who have decided to start their own business, or gone freelance in order to better balance work and other activities. They are lively and realistic, and make the arguments in the main part of the text stronger.


One of the main aspects of this book is the importance of attitude in transforming life for the better. Pauses for thought and review are stressed as being important. The book argues that it is better to consider the way ahead, rather than have regrets at the end. This book offers a framework which is far from rigid, raises possibilities, and offers opportunities. Despite the sections on the end of life, it is a remarkably powerful book, with many positive suggestions to make a difference to lives. A book with many uses to inspire and educate, it includes many resources for anyone who wonders about Act 3 of life. 


The above book was for a blog tour, but I am enjoying choosing other books for review from my collection. I have plenty to get through, although some of the older books ( A Glass of Blessings yesterday and my Angela Thirkells ) are rereads. I think some rereading of favourites are especially good at the moment – what do you think?