What does it mean to reinvent your third act?
According to Josh Sapan (left) and the 60 diverse older adults profiled and photographed for his new book The Third Act: Reinventing Your Next Chapter there is no one answer — and lots of exciting ones to pick from.
We spoke with two expectation-defying men featured in the book, who have both found great success in turning an artistic passion into new careers later in life.
Larry Weissman (left) went from being a hippie to working as a Senior Vice President of Tech at Wells Fargo all the way to being a full-time DJ and music producer in Brooklyn at age 64. Art Schill transitioned from a life as a US Air Force medic into being a chemist and then to becoming a stand-up comedian at age 83.
Senior Planet will be hosting Josh Sapan, a former Executive Vice Chairman of AMC Networks turned author, as well as Larry and Art for a Supporter-exclusive talk on Wednesday, November 16, from 1-2pm ET all about this exciting new book! Interested in attending the talk? Click here to give, become a Supporter and receive your invite.
What made you want to reinvent your third act?
Larry: For a long time, I was only DJing on the side. Then in 2014, I kind of came to a crisis point in my life. I realized that my health was being affected by the intensity of working IT at a bank and that I was losing touch with parts of myself. But I realized I couldn’t just retire – I had to find something to do that would also bring in some money.
Art (at right): I was watching America’s Got Talent one evening and I thought, “I could do that.” I’ve always told jokes. The only difference is before I was telling it in my friends’ living rooms – now it’s just a bigger living room.
How has your age benefitted you as you pursue a new career?
Larry: Having worked for so long, I’ve developed a lot of discipline and habits in terms of being able to DJ and enjoying it, but also running it like a business. (His website is here.)
I think it’s also meant that I’m more focused on what I’m trying to achieve and what kind of message I’m bringing to the kids I’m playing for. Plus I really appreciate it – I think in a way young kids don’t.
Art: I get a lot of my material from being old. I talk about the golden years and how they’re not so golden, things like that. My feeling is, and I really do believe this, is that if I can take a person’s mind off their trouble and worries for even a couple minutes and get them laughing – it’s worth it for me.
Here’s a quick peek of Art on stage.
What advice do you have for someone looking to reinvent their third act?
Larry: Don’t be afraid of challenges. I didn’t know anything about DJing when I started, I just knew that I liked music. Challenging yourself at an older age is a good thing and it’s healthy.
Art: If you’re going to do it, do it. If you keep putting it off, you’ll never get around to doing it and you’ll never know how fun it really was and how good you might be at what that third act is going to be.
What does aging with attitude mean to you?
Larry: To mean it means that I don’t let anyone define me based on their conception of what a 72-year-old person should be.
Art: You gotta have a positive attitude in life. I have some struggles of course, but I know that in the end – I’m going to be the one who wins.
Pam Hugi is Senior Planet’s Community and Advocacy Manager. Based in Brooklyn, she runs Senior Planet’s Supporter program in addition to being a contributing writer for this site. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos: (Top) Larry Weissman DJ’s in Brooklyn