With the help of many friends of all ages, as well as gerontologists, sexologists, urologists, biologists, psychologists, experts in cognitive research and health care, and a physicist or two, I have written this book. Even though I was already in my own Act III, doing this has been a form of rehearsal— for myself and for you, the reader. I wanted to be prepared and learn all I could. I wanted to be able to say to myself and to you, "Let's make the most of the years that take us from midlife to the end, and here's how!" I do not want to romanticize the process of aging. Obviously, there is no guarantee that this will be a time of growth and fruition. There are negatives to any stage of life, including potentially serious issues of mental and physical health. I cannot address all these things within the scope of this book. As we know, some of how life unfolds is a matter of luck. Some of it—about one- third, actually— is genetic and beyond our control. The good news is that this means that for a lot of it, maybe two- thirds of the life arc, we can do something about how well we do.
This book is for those of us who, like me, believe that luck is opportunity meeting preparation; that with preparation and knowledge, with information and reflection, we can try to raise the odds of being lucky, and of making our last three decades— our Third Acts— the most peaceful, generous, loving, sensual, transcendent time of all; and that planning for it, especially during one's middle years, can help make this so.