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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Programs and Products
Products we offer at Third Age Partners
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Resources
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Coaches & Professionals

Perspectives on Letting Go

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melitahouse

Just one week ago I closed the doors for the final time on the family home in New Jersey where I was born and raised - the home that has been in our family for 62 years. When my Dad died two years ago I inherited the house; I desperately wanted to keep it - and to keep the physical manifestation of those 60+ years of memories. However, after two agonizing years, I finally accepted that the most manageable and realistic choice was to sell the house.

For me, it isn't simply the sale of the "house" but rather it also feels like the loss of "home". So much of my life, my roots, my identity, my memories, all that formed who I am today are connected to that place. It's an extremely unsteadying feeling to lose that. Now, not only am I an orphan at age 60, but I'm also homeless - even though I live in a lovely home in Vermont with my husband and haven't lived full time in the New Jersey home in almost 40 years. I feel like a rudderless boat floating at sea - the significant things of my past that have kept me grounded are all gone.

Of course, this is a normal process in life. My experience is not unique, although my level of sentimentality may be different than that held by others. Yet the fact that this is a normal part of the human experience doesn't make it any easier.

The challenge now is to find a solid footing on which to move forward so that I don't get hung up on the memories of the past or the losses of the present.

This experience is much like the unforming process in the Journey of Transformation - the unsettling time of letting go without quite knowing what's in store in the future. Somehow the future has been easier to face when I felt shielded with the protection offered by all that this home represented. The invitation now offered to me is to actually embrace my future - with realistic optimism, faith, hope, excitement, energy. The sooner I can adopt that attitude, the sooner my identity can transform into a much broader sense of self that goes well beyond the Melita that grew up in New Jersey.

For all of us, choice or circumstances move us into this place of letting go - and we can fight it or embrace it. I believe that for over two years I have fought it; now I must see if I'm up to the challenge of embracing it. How can I both hold on to all of my wonderful memories and at the same time open myself up to the possibility of uplifting and gratifying experiences to come? Can I see my world as spacious enough for both? Am I willing to consider the possibility that the future can mean as much to me as has the past?

These are big questions that aren't easily answered; but in the end it comes down to attitude and choice. I can choose to dwell in the past with an attitude of mourning, or I can choose to embrace the future with an attitude of gratitude for all that has been and an attitude of hope for what is to come.

I know the journey isn't simple and straightforward but rather it's two steps forward and one step back. Therefore, for the moment I'm going to choose simply to embrace the present with a "one day at a time" attitude of cautious optimism as well as kindness to myself while I learn to let go. My hope is that in doing so I will create the space for my expanded sense of self to emerge – much like my empty house presents the space for its new owners’ memories to be created.

Stay tuned. . .

Read 411892 times Last modified on Tuesday, 23 August 2016 15:37
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