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

Into Winter

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Daylight Savings Time arrived last week in Minnesota so now we have darkness at the end of the afternoon rather than at early morning! But there is no saving of daylight by mere mortals! Darkness is not to be avoided. Now it sneaks up on me during the evening rush hour drive or a late afternoon walk. We're still a month or so away from Winter Solstice when the night is longest but the descending darkness envelopes us pretty quickly even in November-here the month with the most sunless days. The blaze of Fall has ended and as I put my garden beds and pots to rest I realize again that this time of early winter is one of even deeper un-forming. I am invited to slowly let go and come to terms with winter's harsh realities while knowing, too, it offers me its long, dark season of underground trans-forming.

Spiral TunnelI've come to see again that perhaps hibernation is meant for more of us than the bear and the groundhog. Maybe quiet and rest really is needed for germination and renewal. I voice the usual resistances and complaints: winter is too long, too dark, too cold, too limiting. Driving is hard and walking is harder. But I love, too, savoring my beet, cabbage and potato borscht, my veggie chili and cornbread and the fresh honey comb from my neighbor's bee hives spread thick on my morning toast.

So maybe it's good to spend evenings at home a bit more-to actually use my privilege of being able to cozy up by the fire, to read a great book or watch a good show, to talk on the phone with friends who are staying in or to sit in silence by a lit candle. Could it be that I, and you, need to be still in the darkness, to quiet our bodies and minds so that the soul can work its unconscious magic deep inside? If my obstacle to most everything is the "busyness" favored by our culture then isn't this time of slow soul work a great gift for my capacity to create and flourish? It seems self-evident so why is it so difficult?

When I reflect on the stories of my agrarian ancestors I can see the ancient wisdom of living in the rhythms of Earth, immersed in her cycles. The early myths of Inanna or of Demeter and Persephone teach us that a time of "visiting the underground" and the suffering it entails is required for rising into a new spring, summer and bountiful harvest. Both Inanna in early Sumeria and Persephone in the earliest Greek rendition of the story were invited to descend into darkness to comfort those banished there and thereby rescue them from their suffering.

Accordingly, my choice to face the hard stuff, to enter through compassion my own and others' pain, fear and wounding, our "darkness," is necessary to regenerate our renewal and rebirth. Thus the cycles of Life continue and evolve. As Dawna Markova writes so aptly, "I choose to risk my significance, to live so that which came to me as seed goes on to the next as blossom, and that which came to me as blossom, goes on as fruit."

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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