About the Third Act Project

The Third Act Project or TAP grew out of the men’s group Sam Bittman and Bill Davis helped to get going more than a decade ago. The idea was to talk about how it feels, and what it means, to be getting old. Over time the group evolved into an ever more intimate community, increasingly sharing and learning about the experience of aging. In 2013 Sam asked Bill if he’d like to create an online version of the group, in effect, a virtual gathering place for older men to explore the ups and downs, the peace and tumult, the joys and sorrows of aging. TAP represents the fruition of this effort.

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Why call it The Third Act Project?

The final act of a three-act play is a perfect metaphor for the later years of any man’s life.  In theater, the story lines, the plots and subplots that are introduced, explored and developed during acts one and two propel a certain dramatic resolution during the third, offering perhaps, some new understanding or perspective. So, too, in life, a man’s earlier years provides the framework, nuance, and context that he carries with him into old age, shaping and enabling his own particular, and perhaps inspired, twist on how to adapt to and live with oldness. Eventually, of course, any play ends, as must our lives, and we eventually must comes to terms with the curtain descending.

What’s The Third Act Project offer?

At the heart of TAP is a unique collection of personal narratives and published materials that speak to every aspect of how men experience and react to aging.  The section called “Conversations” gives every man a chance to join, and participate in, ongoing cyber discussions about the multitude of issues that accompany getting old. So, for example, it’s possible to converse with men anywhere about the heartbreak of losing a spouse, the thrill of a rejuvenated sex life, the worries that accompany a sudden new ache, or the confusion that, surprisingly, follows on retirement. The Art of Aging offers a different opportunity. It contains a vast array of published writing, art, photography and music, all related to the multifaceted tapestry of aging, and is divided into themes of particular interest, such as Friendship, The Look of Aging, Don’t Die Till You’re Dead, Work, and Money. Readers can reflect privately on the various offerings, suggest an additional work for potential inclusion in The Art of Aging, or contribute their own commentary to be shared with the TAP community.

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Our men’s group — Oldies But Goodies

What’s special about The Third Act Project?

A thorough search of the Internet suggests TAP may be the only, or at the very least one of the very few, websites devoted exclusively to the experience of aging men. There are certainly websites that focus on the general topic of aging, but not on aging men. So, It is special simply by virtue of its (relatively) singular status. Much more importantly, however, is the fact that TAP is devoted to creating and nurturing a community of aging men. There appears to be nothing like this on the Internet. Generating a sense of community can strengthen individual members of a group because it promotes feelings of safety and security. And yet many men, especially as they age, find themselves feeling alone, and isolated. TAP is special because it offers individual men an opportunity to join and share with a group of like minded others, and in so doing, increase a feeling of community. Finally, and perhaps most significant, the contributions to Conversations and the materials and commentary in The Art of Aging are special because they can engage, teach, and stimulate. This life affirming activity that may have genuine adaptive value as the years march on. And it can make for an interesting, productive and inspiring Third Act!