Carl Jung compared the unfolding of a human life to the course of a day.  As surely as the morning moves into afternoon and then becomes the evening, each life progresses through stages. What can go wrong?

“Thoroughly unprepared, we take the step into the afternoon of life. Worse still, we take this step with the false presupposition that our truths and our ideals will serve us as hitherto. But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning, for what was great in the morning will be little at evening and what in the morning was true, at evening will have become a lie.”  ~“The Stages of Life,” (from :”The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche,” Volume 8, The Collected Works of Carl Jung) (1931)

What is the program of life’s evening? I’m so glad you asked!

My long-suffering friends and colleagues can testify to my many efforts to describe the program activities appropriate to the evening. How to get people excited about these activities? How to enroll people in this adventure? How not to immediately trigger the denial reflex?

I read a lot of fiction, specifically mysteries and science fiction, and science fantasy. Stories! I have described end-stage care as a theatre production. Thanks again to the Google machine, I came across Story Structure: 7 Narrative Structures All Writers Should Know ( The author outlines the basic components of most stories:

  • The status quo (so-called normal life)
  • An inciting incident (catalyst)
  • Rising action
  • An all-is-lost moment
  • A resolution

Most interesting to me and my mission are the 7 story structures that are described in detail.

  1. Freytag’s Pyramid (a formula for tragedy)
  2. The Hero’s Journey
  3. Three Act Structure (Set-up, Confrontation, Resolution)
  4. Dan Harmon’s Story Circle (variation of the Hero’s Journey with emphasis on the character’s wants and needs)
  5. Fichtean Curve (Rising Action (a sequence of crises), Climax, Falling Action (new norm)
  6. Save the Cat Beat Sheet
  7. Seven-Point Story Structure (Plot Point 1, Mid-point, Plot Point 2, Resolution)

Another description of the Three-act Play Structure cites The Screenwriter’s Bible (pp 5-7). Fascinating! Especially the description of the third act’s goal:

“…the resolution of the story and its subplots. The climax is the scene or sequence in which the main tensions of the story are brought to their most intense point and the dramatic question answered, leaving the protagonist and other characters with a new sense of who they really are.”

What a great description of the potential available in the evening of life!

What if we could see our own evening of life as a story we each get to write? What are the components of your particular story? Writing the screenplay for your third act—who is the producer? Director? Star?