What is Third Age?

Third Age is an emerging life stage running roughly from ages 50 to 75 and made possible by longer life expectancy. Rich in possibilities and potential, it involves the questioning of one's old identity, a search for new or greater meaning and purpose in work and life and profound change. It is a time of renewal if we address both its challenge and opportunity.

What's Third Age?
What's Third Age?

Third Age can be a time of renewal and transformation if we regard it as an opportunity as well as a challenge.

  • Its opportunity lies in seeing our life as full of possibility, as a process of continual and surprising unfolding, and in knowing that we can make decisions geared to regeneration and fulfillment. 
  • Its challenge lies in our "response-ability" to give back, to find the best way for us to contribute our gifts, talents, experience and wisdom to address the needs of our communities and our world. 

Third Age requires us to make those daily choices which help us to co-create, along with the people and circumstances of our life situation, the kind of living we want to claim for ourselves in the second half of life.

First of all, it’s important to get a brief rundown on what we mean by the Four Ages of Life.  Each of these "ages" is roughly about 20-25 years in a given life span and has the particular focus outlined here.  For those with less longevity the Ages may be greatly compressed but usually each stage is included in some fashion.

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Coaches & Professionals

After Spring Rain (for Martha)

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See those early buds coming out there--
On the hedge bordering your garden?
Those rabbits and deer sculpted in stone nearby
And such welcome friends for you all winter
Suddenly seem "over"-past their prime,
Mere background foils for nature's real beauty.

Yellow FlowersI'm amazed, aren't you, at that deep rich green
Just showing at the tip of each black, rain shining branch!
I saw early forsythia, too, on my way here,
All yellow and chartreuse coated sprays
Shooting up on each side of my neighbor's front door.

Spring has come back! And with such graciousness!
In spite of our wars-the news just fresh from TV--
And such dismal degradation of her home and children,
Our ancient and ever-present mother returns and renews, relentlessly birthing,
Showing up in annually unimaginable forms and colors,
Displaying for our viewing pleasure her ever irrepressible LIFE!

Dear friend, let us welcome her!
Let us open up so she can fill us-
Like the stand of maples behind the hedge--
With the sweet sap of her sacred energy
Rising and spilling out into ever new creation.
Let us start here, with our own greening.
Let us learn from her "yes" to life in all of its guises.
Let us allow this cleansing rain, spiraling down the ages,
To wash our fears away and bring us back to our life-giving selves
-to home at last!

Read 441308 times
Nancy Cosgriff

Nancy C. Cosgriff, MA, DMin, has a varied background and Third Age work "portfolio" that encompasses several of her interests. She is an associate of The Center for Third Age Leadership, the co-author/facilitator of its "Coaching for Third Age Fulfillment" program and facilitator of its client workshops. She is also a faculty member of the Center for Spiritual Guidance and Leadership and facilitates personal/spiritual development workshops for "women of a certain age" through her business, Spiral Explorations. Nancy has over 25 years experience in executive and life/work coaching, has participated in the New Ventures coaching program, in EDGES, a learning community for coaches, and is a member of the MN Coaches Association and MN Organization Development Network. She continues to serve organizational leaders and teams through her work in leadership and organization development consulting, design and group facilitation. Nancy is based in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and lives in Marine on St. Croix, MN, on the bluffs of the St. Croix River Valley where she continues to be renewed and inspired.

More in this category: « The Gift of the Unpredictable


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Are You Ready?

If you want to assess your readiness for renewal in Third Age take a few minutes to complete The Third Age Quotient

Message from Richard Leider

The desire to grow is nothing less than the love of existence--a purpose for being here and a deep desire to fully explore life. Growth is at the root of everything that makes us feel vital. Yet, sometimes we do stop growing. Few coaches are as clear and profound in their guidance as Nancy and Melita. They are master gardeners of the growth soil. If you want to feel vital in your third age, study.... It is a must read for anyone who is willing to ask the question, 'Where do I grow from here?"

- Richard Leider - Best selling author of "The Power of Purpose" & "Repacking Your Bags" and founder of The Inventure Group