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

One Stroke at a Time

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Fear of anything new, any break in routine or habit, can be daunting. For me, putting on a swimsuit and going to a pool feels as daunting as any major life change might.

During the past year I've often felt stuck and overwhelmed. Life overall has frequently seemed so difficult and sad that it has been impossible for me to write an inspirational message - especially when personally I haven't felt inspired. I spend a lot of my time encouraging - or is it preaching? - others to take a break, stop, listen for that inner voice to emerge. Yet, like many teachers, I don't do so well practicing what I preach.


Recently I was lovingly gifted by my husband with seven days all to myself at a local ski resort, compliments of our time share. As it was "stick season", the resort was empty and snow-less - a perfect time for solitude and reflection. I decided to use my time there as an opportunity to develop the practice of sitting, stopping, and listening.

autumn leavesI will admit it was very hard to force myself to stop. My inclination - my habit - was to keep busy; I just exchanged the work, family, and housekeeping activities for "me time" activities like hiking and reading. On occasion I did, however, push myself out of my comfort zone and practiced stopping and listening. Unfortunately, for the most part the inner voice that kept emerging was saying, "eat pretzels . . . where's the hummus . . . did you remember to bring the chocolate?" Oh well.

So clearly, stopping and listening, like any habit, takes time to develop. And if my short periods of stopping didn't summon an inspired inner voice of wisdom to drive major life change, they did, nonetheless, go a remarkably long way in refreshing my mind and restoring my soul - enough at least to help me foster the courage to put on that swimsuit and go to the resort's indoor pool.

This message was actually written poolside, looking out at the grey autumnal sky, with 10 laps and a sit in the hot tub behind me. I didn't quite yet have the energy or inspiration to move mountains but as a result of pushing myself out of my routine, I felt more renewed, satisfied, hopeful and yes, maybe even fulfilled, than I have in a long time. In addition, I finally returned to writing! And it was all triggered by a brief period of stopping.

Here's the message I'd like to leave you with. In this time in our history when there are so many challenges facing people and the world - and inspiration is hard to come by - sometimes the best we can do, and maybe all that we need to do, is move just one or two steps forward and see what happens. Any forward movement has the potential to foster little life shifts. To paraphrase the ancient Chinese proverb - a journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step - or in my case, a single stroke.

And a little stopping helps too!

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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