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.

Programs and Products
Programs and Products
Products we offer at Third Age Partners
Some additional reading.
Coaches & Professionals
Coaches & Professionals

Hummingbird Alert

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Hummingbird"Hummingbird Alert!" announced my husband as he walked into my office. "What?", I thought. It's only March 31st. We still have the markers up along our driveway to guide the snow plow driver, clinging to the hope that we'll receive the big snow storm that never came during this crazy winter. It's way too early for the hummingbirds - we usually don't see them until late April.


There's no doubt that we are seeing shifts in the long established patterns of weather and nature. No matter the cause, change in the norm can be unsettling at the least, and oftentimes frightening. Let's face it, few of us handle change very well. Yet that is the nature of life - things change whether we want them to or not.

So how to respond? I will admit that I am one of those Vermonters who bemoaned the absence of winter - not because I'm a big skier (I'm not) but because I worried about the bigger picture. What does this bizarre weather mean? It scared me to think about. I had two choices - embrace the upside, those less frigid days and lower heating costs, or panic about some unknown future.

Those same choices are offered to us as we consider our unfolding lives in our 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond. There are many uncertainties about work, finances, and health - no matter how hard we might try to control things. Yet imbedded in the uncertainty of the things we can't control are the unexpected gifts and pleasures that await us if we keep our eyes open.

A dear friend in her 60s lost her job and struggled - like many - to find a new one. As a result she accelerated some aspects of her retirement plan and now she and her husband live in a wonderful home in a new state, near her children and grandchildren, AND she has a wonderful new job she just loves. In the face of panic and worry she nonetheless plugged along with what she could control and is now embracing the gift of this unexpected and energizing new life path.

Not all aspects of unexpected change are bad. I'll remember that as I set up the hummingbird feeders to welcome my returning friends.

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Melita A. DeBellis

Melita A. DeBellis, JD, CPCC, is a life coach, entrepreneur and trainer based in beautiful Shelburne, Vermont. Her business is Midlife Unlimited. She is a former attorney and human resources executive who has made her own personal journey beyond the corporate world to a deeply satisfying vocation supporting individuals as they navigate their journey through their Third Age. She is a former board member of The Center for Third Age Leadership and the co-author/facilitator of its "Coaching for Third Age Fulfillment" program. She is also a trainer with Associates for Training and Development based in St. Albans, Vermont. Melita received her B.A. from The University of Vermont, her J.D. from The National Law Center, George Washington University, and has been trained and certified as a professional co-active coach by The Coaches Training Institute of San Rafael, California. Melita knows the fulfillment that comes from journeying through personal transformation and finding one’s passion. She finds that passion enjoying the natural world of Vermont with her husband Mike and their dog Chloe.


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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