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

How Does Your Garden Grow?

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Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells
And pretty maids all in a row.

This spring I asked myself, "how does my garden grow?" What to do about my mostly scraggly and very visible flower garden bordering the sidewalk coming up to my front door? The garden plot is quite large and has tall feather grass and lots of white hydrangeas in rows at the back with iris, Echinacea, sedum, bee balm and native prairie grasses lined up in front. Also, there's a connected section on the side of my detached garage with a huge patch of Russian sage. All of this was quite lovely when it was put in about 10 years ago-but now, despite my best (well, pretty good anyway) efforts, it's become overgrown and weedy with invasive species and lawn grasses. Also, some of the plants have died out altogether, not surviving the cold winters (though supposedly hardy in this zone) or excessive water falling right under the garage eaves or the ravenous appetites of local deer and rabbits. And because my house is at the top of a gentle ridge I get lots of not so gentle winds. So, you get the picture and the need for the "what to do" question.

fieldWell, for the last 4-5 years I've weeded and mulched and re-planted and patched up and managed to hold up a semblance of what once was. But this year it seemed even beyond my humble efforts-not to mention neglect. So, I decided to ask for help-and actually pay someone who knows what could be done to restore my garden to its former splendor! By happenstance I ran into a former student of mine who is in the gardening business and before I knew it I'd asked her for a consultation and a plan-and before the ink was dry on our contract she'd been here to dig out, thin, weed, transplant and newly plant. Now, voila! I have a partially restored garden--though my helper is not finished (too many graduations this month) and for my part, I have barely just begun! After even more cleaning out and new planting will come the big bags of mulch to keep those pernicious weeds from overcoming the potential vigor and beauty of the flowers and grasses.

So, by now, I'm sure you have the metaphor in mind. What to do about the garden of our lives? Don't we too need to be aware and awake to where the weeds are, to what needs rooting out and what is best to newly plant-given the conditions of our place in time? For the last few years, due to some personal neglect and/or ignorance and external forces like weather and animals my literal garden has merely survived-straggly and unhealthy-and not thrived! I've not really paid the time and attention that was its due-and am now paying the cost. I don't want to be doing that with my life too! Consequently, here are five questions to jump start you and me into the summer of our lives!

  1. What is the "soil" of your life like? Have the nutrients been used up? How do you feel about your overall health and well-being?
  2. Since your body is your "ticket" for being an Earthling, how are you caring for it? What and how do you need to replenish and nourish it?
  3. What needs rooting out in your life? What weeds are choking you up and preventing your spirit from flourishing? Where do you especially need to pay attention?
  4. What new seeds do you want to plant? What new activities or practices do you want to begin or renew?
  5. What do you want and expect to harvest? What do you hope for in the next year?

Nancy, Nancy, plain not fancy,
How does your garden grow?
With light and shade and attention paid
All present in the now!

Read 309676 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.


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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