What’s Happening at Act III Ignited


August 19, 2016

Congratulations on your retirement! It’s your turn to have fun, travel, spend time with friends and family and complete all those home organization projects you’ve promised yourself. At some point, though, you might sit back and wonder what to do next. You’ve been busy with career and family for many years; now is your opportunity to think about giving back as a volunteer. Of course, you may have been volunteering all along for school events, religious organizations or professional groups.  But now, a world of new possibilities is opening for you.

Giving Back

Retirees are sought after volunteers! In fact, older adults contribute more than three billion hours of community service each year. As an older adult, you may have more free time available than you did just a few years ago. You have skills and experience that are in demand by non-profits and community organizations. You might want to continue your professional work in a new setting or do something completely different—and often on a flexible schedule that fits your lifestyle.

Do I hear you ask “what’s in it for me”?  There are so many benefits to volunteering, both tangible and emotional. Volunteers find their roles fulfilling, providing a greater sense of purpose and making a positive difference in the world. In one study, 70% of retirees said that being generous with time or charitable giving provides a significant source of happiness.

In a very real sense, volunteering will make you feel better. Research has shown that volunteers show higher levels of self esteem, lower rates of depression, lower blood pressure and lower mortality rates! These benefits are especially notable in those with other life stresses or those at risk of social isolation. Those social connections don’t stop at the end of your volunteer shift; 85% of retiree volunteers say that they have developed new friendships in their new roles.

So what is the perfect volunteer position for you? Decide how much time you want to give. Do you want a set time each week, or would you rather work on one big project at a time? Where do you want to work?  What are you passionate about? The perfect opportunity may be an expansion of something you have done in the past or are already doing now. If you are a little nervous about stepping into a new volunteer commitment, find a friend who might enjoy working with you, 

Are you looking forward to traveling in your retirement, but still want to find a way to give back? Eco-vacations and short to medium term volunteer assignments are available around the world. More than 500 older adults are currently serving in the Peace Corps. The Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah accepts volunteers to work with animals for a week or two at a time, with discounted cabin or hotel rentals in the area. A bonus is Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks at your doorstep!

If you need ideas and inspiration to direct your search for the perfect volunteer opportunities, here are a couple of great websites. You will find organizations hoping for your help at your doorstep and around the world.



It’s ok if you have been retired for awhile and haven’t volunteered yet—or if you are looking at retirement soon, but want time to relax before making any big commitments. Take your time.  This is your moment! Just remember that it is never too late. Jeffie Carter, of Jackson Mississippi, volunteered from the time of her retirement in 1983 and was still helping out at the Salvation Army in 2013 at age 98! Her secret?  “As long as you can help others, you don’t think about yourself.” 


How to Stay Connected… Socially in Retirement!

July 20, 2016

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and other sites offer new opportunities.  Do you know about the “If you grew up” Facebook pages?  We started following “If you grew up in Indianapolis” and not only reconnected with some old friends, however you can develop entirely new friendships with Indy natives you’ve never met but who have been anchors in rough times and co-celebrators in successes and those of your family.  You may also discover that your own neighborhood has a Facebook page, and develop more new friends and engage more with your community in the past 18 months than in the previous 20 years. Many of these are friendships with much younger people, which greatly expands your world view and pop culture knowledge!  A 40-something young couple in the group may start setting up monthly meet-ups at local restaurants and bars throughout your neighborhood; each event expands your social horizons. It has also led to volunteering in local projects, providing real satisfaction in giving back to a community that you may love.Socially in Retirement

So how will you stay socially active in retirement, whether that is today or five years down the road?  Joe Udo blogs at Retire By 40 states that social interaction is what people miss most about work when retirement comes.  What are the strategies that will keep you connected and engaged in your retirement years?

  • Stay connected to co-workers, those still working and those who have already retired
  • Get reacquainted with a spouse/partner, embrace the freedom of an empty nest or revel in grandparenthood whether two or four footed
  • Volunteer for a favorite cause; as Baby Boomer retirees we are moving from the “me” generation to the “we” generation with a renewed commitment toward improving the world around us
  • Join a social group
  • Take a class; many universities offer special opportunities for older adults
  • Try (or expand) using social networking sites; find new friends around the world

The thought of retiring several years earlier than had planned, sounds horrifying. However, deep down, we feel it’s the fear of loneliness after 41 years of close working relationships with wonderful people that sounds terrifying.  We used to joke that we spent more time with our co-workers than with our families.  In reality, renewed opportunities to engage with cherished friends from youth and work years while at the same time meeting new people and expanding your footprint in your community is the most rewarding.  Were you a Girl Scout?  We were.  The old Girl Scout song is one that will stay in your mind forever…and it is as true today as it was when you first learn it around:

Make new friends, but keep the old…one is silver and the other’s gold!

Remember staying connected during retirement is not something that needs to be terrifying…you can remain connected during retirement! You simply have to be willing to connect with family, re-educate yourself, join a hobby, participate in community service activities, volunteer, join clubs, build a new network, stay in touch with ex-colleagues, foster relationships with your spouse, connect with family, and create meaningful relationships.

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May 18, 2016

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. 

Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.

–“Families”, by Jane Howard

Throughout our lives, we have been part of social groups. In our earliest years, those groups were defined by our families and their social connections—neighbors and friends. As we started school, our connections expanded to include classmates, sports and activities co-participants, college roommates. As we reached adulthood, our connections expanded further to include coworkers and perhaps parents of our own children’s friends. (I remember the first time I was introduced as “Penny’s mother”, not “Mimi”. It was disconcerting!)

Social ConnectionsWhat do these relationships have in common? These circles were, mostly, provided to us. We could pick and choose who we liked best among our classmates, our coworkers, or other parents but the groups were there.  Sometimes, proximity creates closeness that lasts a lifetime, but also may last only as the shared experience itself. As we approach retirement, some of those ready-made networks will begin to shift, or disappear entirely. For the first time, we have the challenge and the opportunity to create our own social worlds. We have the freedom to include our oldest childhood buddies or to strike out in new directions that match our post-working world interests.

Who are your closest friends? What part of your life do they come from? Are your interactions in “real time” or more virtual? As you begin retirement, or as you anticipate your retirement years, who do you want to share your newfound free time with? The good news? There are no right or wrong answers to these questions, and the answers will continue to grow and evolve as you do. You may rediscover closeness with a spouse or partner, grow closer through caregiving to a parent, sibling or grandchildren. As much as we may not want to think about it, aging and social connections also inevitably involve loss.  How will that change you, and your relationships?

Relationships take work. As Mom always says…“to have a friend, be a friend.”  We can’t take for granted that our social networks will be there; it’s something we need to be aware of and be open to exploring. Even if someone is naturally an introvert, we still want to be part of the greater world.  As a college professor once said, “The first time you are in a new group of people, you may be shy and hide behind the potted palms. The second time, you recognize another person from the potted palms at the first event, so you have a friend. By the third event, they will put you on a committee.” If you are thinking ahead to retirement, take any opportunity to expand your networks.  According to William Frey, a demographer and visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution:  “People in their 50s now are the most educated, most tech savvy generation in our country’s history.  They’ll want to stay engaged in their work and be physically social.”  Sound familiar?

Maintaining and nurturing social connections is more than “just for fun”.  Social support in retirement is associated with

  • Lower levels of depression, loneliness and anxiety
  • Higher levels of life satisfaction and happiness
  • Fewer health problems
  • Faster disease recovery
  • Longer life

Any major life event, such as retirement, has an important impact on our social networks. As we age, we encounter changes in health (our own or our friends and family). Some of us will unfortunately experience widowhood or the loss of close family members. Any of these events will alter the structure of our social network and the availability of social support. Maintaining friendships and building new relationships provides the backup to not just survive, but to thrive in difficult times. As retirees, we may even find a reduction in the sheer numbers of our social networks. This is a natural and inevitable shedding of less important relationships in order to focus on those most crucial and to develop new ones based on our changing lives. It’s ok to become more selective with social contacts, and choose to spend time with the most meaningful, emotionally rewarding interaction partners.

Whether you are anticipating retirement or you are already there, it’s important to maintain connections with others, form new relationships—including intergenerational friendships, and explore new forms of communications using tools such as social networking.

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Retirement: Tending to Your Psychological & Emotional ‘Portfolio’

March 15, 2016

transition to retirementWhen planning for the transition to retirement, the primary focus is generally finance-related: questions and concerns about portfolios, benefits, budgets and savings constitute the majority of discussions. Yet while financial security is an essential element of ensuring a secure and stable retirement, it is not the only significant consideration. A different type of personal “portfolio” is equally vital when planning for retirement: psychological.

While most retirees understand the need for financial planning, many overlook the critical importance of the psychological ramifications and effects of retirement. Because retirement involves enormous adjustments, which range from the loss of career identity to the replacement of previously established support networks, it is often precipitated and accompanied by profound feelings of anxiety and depression. Most retirees will have psychological issues, with varying degrees of impact, and these emotional concerns are further exacerbated by the societal expectations of retirement. Cultural norms have long implied that retirement is synonymous with the ‘good life,’ marking a period free of any constraints and obligations: but the impact of such a major event almost guarantees psychological repercussions.

Furthermore, for many retirees, the loss of the traditional career-oriented work role can severely fracture and traumatize identity structure, as professional jobs often form a large component of selfhood. Moreover, the transition can reactivate identity issues that occurred earlier in life. The process of reinventing and recreating one’s identity—an integral component of a successful retirement—is analogous to diversifying a financial stock portfolio. Having an identity composed of several roles, rather than one single source, can sustain many people during the transition. Diversifying roles and interests prior to retirement can also help redefine identity as the work/life structure diminishes, ultimately replacing it with a retirement/life structure.

While research indicates that most retirees, regardless of age, experience a “sugar rush” upon the transition to retirement, these positive feelings are soon followed by a sharp decline in happiness. Studies have established that a viable option to counter depressive symptoms is practicing altruism: findings have revealed that volunteering generates increased levels of satisfaction and psychological wellbeing, while reducing depression and anxiety. Statistics have also found a correlation between volunteerism and blood pressure; older adults who volunteered 200 hours throughout the year were found to be at a lower risk for hypertension than non-volunteers.

Moreover, to mitigate all of these potential difficulties, strategic and rational planning and preparation are critical. People must invest as much time focusing on their psychological portfolio as their financial circumstances, in order to find what makes them happy and gives their lives meaning and value: the principal key to maintaining wellbeing and contentment. Carefully planned, organized efforts during the years preceding retirement can optimize happiness and productivity, in addition to reducing apprehension and enhancing feelings of inner control.

Transitioning to retirement must include not only an awareness of the inherent psychological and emotional aspects of the process, but also an attempt to embrace and understand these effects. While most, if not all, retirees feel a certain amount of nostalgia, it does not obviate the need for a meaningful and purposeful life in the present.

Those with a positive worldview, a robust and diversified identity, and involvement in meaningful activities will experience smoother, easier transitions to retirement. Yet altogether, more research is needed on how to maximize people’s happiness: specifically, the causes and factors of the crash, and the ways that the sugar rush can be prolonged.


Retaining Relevancy – How to Manage Your Sense of Identity in Retirement

February 23, 2016

Retirement, often considered to be the ‘encore’ stage of life, requires careful and thoughtful strategic planning in order to ensure optimal comfort, happiness, and stability. While we all have diverse methods and means regarding how to think, learn, make decisions, and accept change, several different actions can help ease the transition process: before and during retirement.

Identity in Retirement

The sentiments and reactions that accompany retirement are as emotional as they are rational. Not everyone is able to make a smooth transition, as change is inherently difficult and anxiety inducing. This life stage is regularly precipitated by intense feelings of angst, depression, and identity loss. Thoughts frequently include fear and trepidation concerning the loss of positional power when leaving professional careers.


Nevertheless, while the anticipation of change can comprise negative psychological effects, the process by which we retain relevancy and transformation has the potential to help shape a fresh perception and awareness of identity—one that is rewarding and exhilarating. This new type of freedom involves recapturing feelings of control, particularly a sense of choice and discretion about time and availability to others. Embracing this excitement is an integral piece of transformation and change, and will ultimately help spur forward momentum. By Investing in your social and psychological portfolio, coupled with working on financial and monetary readiness, you can start to replace what you were doing then with new ideas and innovative possibilities. As stress eventually decreases, you will begin to experience a successful and productive ‘encore’ chapter of life.


Additionally, by seeking out activities in order to maintain well-being—including altruism/volunteering; investing in friendships before retirement; forming support groups with other retirees; and talking openly with family about goals—you can create unique identities for yourself that are not limited by rules, protocols, or limited choices. Reflection and introspection are critical developmental benefits of transitioning, and expedite prospects to pursue individuation in less restrictive ways. Without the constraints of the workplace, you can engage in interests and pursuits that foster various forms of self-actualization, which can eventually become new and stimulating layers of identity formation.


Moreover, diversifying your recreational activities and hobbies, and finding venues that afford opportunities for building relationships and friendships, will enable you to find purposeful work that holds meaning and value for you. Ideally, this work will leverage professional and/or life experience, entail a significant commitment, and ultimately generate personal satisfaction and fulfillment.

Finally, tapping into more formal and structured resources in order to navigate your way into new roles without clearly defined tasks and functions, and facilitate transformation and self-discovery, can be highly beneficial and constructive. Financial planning services, peer support groups, and coaching programs collectively provide valuable information about part-time work and volunteer opportunities, and potential involvement in advocacy and activism. With advanced preparation through strategic and rational planning, in addition to sustaining and reinforcing a system of strong, supportive networks and relationships, you can undergo a fulfilling and fruitful retirement planning process—one that enables you to maintain your sense of identity, and retain your feelings of relevancy and purpose.

January is National Reinvention Month

December 7, 2015


Act III Spotlight – Ann Quasman’s The Dreaded Question

May 4, 2015

Our team at Act III Ignited is pleased to introduce you to Ann Quasman from WOMANTALKLIVE as this month’s guest speaker.

Ann Quasman is a woman on a mission. Her goal is to encourage and facilitate conversations that will help women connect with and rely upon the wisdom within their hearts as much as they do the wisdom within their minds.

From early 2007 to the end of 2013, Ann grew WomanTalk Live from a radio show plunked down between male-focused programming and a national podcast, to a true community of women and men who actively engage in a more conscious conversation with Ann and each other every day almost 24/7 primarily through social media and her blog now.

In June of 2014, Ann and her husband relocated to Woodstock, Vermont, a place they had fallen in love with on numerous road biking vacations and trips to New England. It’s time to “live the dream.”  She thought she would continue her WomanTalk Live podcasts, but another message is coming up for her…  STOP and see what comes up next.  It’s time for something new.  So, another transition period started and is continuing.

But, you can rest assured, Ann continues having conscious conversations wherever she goes.  She’s not done talkin’ yet.

Ann Quasman’s On My Mind: The Dreaded Question?

“And, what do you do?”

I’m always expecting it but never sure exactly when it’s coming. There were times when I couldn’t wait for someone to ask me because I had the perfect elevator speech all ready for them – carefully crafted with just enough information so they would ask for more.

The first time I realized that “what I do” or “what I don’t do anymore” is so very important is when I left my position in corporate America. When I was there, what I did explained it all with just my title. Doors opened because of what I did and where I did it. The right people were interested and often impressed by what I did. It wasn’t a hard sell.

When I left a senior management position at corporate headquarters to do what? – I had no idea, but something totally different – what I “do” suddenly changed. I had relocated to Baltimore, gotten married and needed a break from the schedule and life I had been living. That life and “what I did” had sucked me dry and I knew I had to “do” something else. Here I was in a new city with no friends or associates.

It didn’t take me long to figure out that “what I don’t do anymore” can get in the way of creating new relationships or business associates. Often when I told people I was taking a break to figure it all out, I could sense something – to them, I wasn’t an important person anymore. I had no title, no corner office and no big expense account. And, at that time, I know I wasn’t confident in who I was without those things either. I wasn’t okay with just being me.

What I have come to realize twenty years later is that our culture has really driven home four things for so many of us:

  • we are what we do
  • production equals self-worth
  • the more you work, the more important you are so it’s important to let everyone know how busy you are – exhaustion becomes a status symbol
  • the pressure to perform, and to out-do is ongoing

So, as I head into this transition of leaving where I’ve been for nineteen years, saying “so long” to so many incredible friends and business associates and leaving the “me” I created during this stay, I am, once again, going to be confronted with…. “What do you do?”

Ahhhh… but now, I am so ok with my answer. Maybe the age makes a difference but I am quite comfortable in telling people that I’m figuring it out and that my priority is to take the best of what I know, the best of what I love doing, the best of new things that may come along that I wasn’t even expecting, and the best of having fun and living life… and DO IT.

What about you? Where are you with all of this and where do you want to be? And, of course, I’d love any tidbits of wisdom you have to share. Click here to share your thoughts with Ann Quasman!

Welcome to the Act III Ignited Blog

February 4, 2014

HelloThank you for visiting the Act III Ignited blog.

This is where we’ll be sharing all kinds of articles, information and resources to support you in creating the most fulfilling third act you can possibly envision.

It’s also where we’ll keep you updated on upcoming webinars, live events and coaching programs that will take you through a thoughtful and exciting process for determining exactly what your vision is.

If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to subscribe to our list at the top of this page so that you don’t miss a blog post or update – and we especially invite you to be an active participant in the conversations we’ll be having right here.

Talking with women who want to consciously design their third act with passion and purpose simply thrills us and encouraging a meaningful dialogue about this stage of life is what this blog is all about.

Until next time,

Paula Singer & Linda Roszak Burton