We interviewed Jeri Brown a few months after she flew up from Los Angles to attend the 3rd Act Workshop.
How did you hear about The 3rd Act? Why were you interested?
I heard about it from a friend who had met you. We were talking about issues at this time of life. So I went on line and found you and Sara Lawrence Lightfoot’s book. I haven’t read her book yet but I got it together to come to the workshop. I was interested because I had turned 65 and I was questioning how I wanted to live out the rest of my life; I was feeling “funky” about the process.
Why did you decide to attend the workshop at this time in your life?
The whole concept of the 3rd Act was engaging and intriguing. I was trying to wrap my head around this stage and realized that retirement didn’t hold water. It was unusual for me to travel to something that was just for me. It was different than going to a training or seminar for CEU’s. Although, in my practice, I do have some women at this stage in life who are trying to figure out if companionship is what they should be focusing on or something else. But I was coming to the workshop for myself.
What did you value most about the workshop?
I valued the permissiveness from you and Patricia and the other participants. It was a permissive atmosphere…a feeling that I could speak freely and watching the other women do the same even those that were shyer that I am. There was a wide range of participants with a range of concerns. They talked about fears, doubts, aging parents and many other issues. The questions were invaluable, both those that were a part of the structure of the workshop, and those that came up from participants.
What were the outcomes for you in attending?
I set goals that day to think about forming a group; finish my book; and I don’t remember the third one. It looks like my book will be published, although I haven’t quite finished it. I rearranged office to host a group but I haven’t moved on that because of other concerns that have since arisen. The other result was that the workshop opened my mind that I could do these things…that they were possible.
Anything else you would like to say?
Although The 3rd Act workshop is not a “support group”, it is a supportive group. The workshop introduces the idea that these years after 50, are a specific time in our adult growth. There is acceptance in that. Life doesn’t end at 50, or 60, or 70. The workshop environment is safe, nurturing and encouraging. This enables people to be forthcoming about their doubts and fears.