Photo Courtesy of Simon & Schuster

The pandemic has turned everyday life up-side down. Whether you’ve started to reevaluate your priorities or you are looking for work after a layoff, now could be the time to change direction and start your second act. Beloved actress Patricia Heaton has experienced her fair share of pivotal transitions in both her personal and professional life, and she reveals anecdotes about them in her new book ‘Your Second Act’ (available now from Simon & Schuster). She also shares the stories of many others who have successfully navigated big changes. In this special excerpt from the book, Heaton offers a few ideas for activities that can help you figure out your next move. 

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As crazy as it sounds, when you aren’t really certain what to do next . . . Just. Go. Do. Something. At this point, I could drop the mic and end the book, but with a history of getting four boys out the door and to school every day for twenty-five years, my motherly instincts won’t let me send you off without making sure your backpack is zipped up with some options for your journey.  

Volunteer: If I haven’t made it super clear that volunteering is an excellent way to learn about yourself, explore your passions, and find a bridge to your second act, let me just say it one more time. (Wow, I really do sound like a mom.) Where can you volunteer? Check out the local Boys & Girls Clubs, Habitat for Humanity, a local food bank, or simply search “places to volunteer near me.” If you are part of a church, that’s a great place to get started, too!  

Take A Class: Remember, taking a class in an area that interests you doesn’t mean it has to be the end all, be all of what you end up doing. Just stepping out and learning something new will do wonders for you. Also, many state colleges offer free tuition to adults age sixty-two-plus, so look online for options in your area. And speaking of online, there are many online learning options as well…. If you want to take a class geared specifically toward exploring a second act career, Marci Alboher, vice president of, has a free class on LinkedIn Learning. She also has a wonderful book called The Encore Career Handbook that you may find useful.  

Want more? Listen to Patricia Heaton read from the Introduction in this clip from the audiobook edition of Your Second Act

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Read Books: And speaking of books, keep reading! Of course, I probably don’t need to tell you that since you made it to the end of this book. Reading is a wonderful way to expand the mind, find inspiration, learn, and grow. So keep up the good reads!  

Listen To Podcasts: Need inspiration on the go? Podcasts are a wonderful way to feed your mind and expand your horizons. Listen while you are getting ready, working out, driving, or even cooking dinner. Nowadays, we have access to so many wonderful leaders and motivational speakers.  

Journal: Journals don’t have to be just about your deepest emotions and private thoughts. You can write a gratitude journal and list things daily that you are thankful for. You can write goals, you can write inspiring thoughts, whatever you’d like. Journaling helps you slow down and really connect with your inner drive and motivation. At least that’s what they tell me. Okay, I’m putting this on my to-do list, too! 

Patricia Heaton is an Emmy Award–winning actress who has played two beloved TV moms on the long-running sitcoms Everybody Loves Raymond and The Middle. She currently plays the lead in the CBS comedy Carol’s Second Act. In 2001, Heaton cofounded FourBoys Films, a production company which she runs with her husband David Hunt. Heaton recently launched her homewares line “Patricia Heaton Home” with Walmart. Born out of her love for spending quality time with family and friends, this delightful and charming product line was a natural next step after her Emmy Award-winning Food Network series Patricia Heaton Parties and her first cookbook, Patricia Heaton’s Food for Family and Friends. A committed philanthropist, Heaton is the founding member of World Vision’s Celebrity Ambassador Network. She is the author of Your Second Act, and lives in Los Angeles with her husband. 

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Excerpted from Your Second Act by Patricia Heaton. Copyright © 2020 by Third Coast Productions, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved. Simon & Schuster is a property of ViacomCBS.