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

Taking Time for Letting Go

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autumn treeThis is the season of letting go. As we move into the mid November time of late fall the low slant of diminishing light portends an even deeper darkness for the months ahead. Fall has always been a hard time for me. Even, or maybe especially, because of all of its color burst of glory which I know is soon to end. Unlike the first greens of spring, I know that these reds and golds are short-lived. As I shuffle through the fallen leaves in my yard or look out my window at the maple still blazing against the Caribbean-blue sky I'm reminded of these lines from the Gerard Manley Hopkins poem, Spring and Fall, "Margaret, are you grieving over golden grove unleaving....it is Margaret you mourn for." For me, the slant of light, the early darkness, the dust of dried-up leaves-all penetrate my body and become a knowing that I too am part of this seasonal cycle.


Now, as I live into the latter part of my "third age," as I accompany more of my older siblings and in-laws as they experience illness and death, I realize more vividly my own mortality. As a student of Earth wisdom and the revelations of the evolving universe I know intellectually that the life and death and regeneration cycle is continually unfolding in new and creative ways. I see that as Steve Jobs, the Apple guru, has said, "Death is the best invention of life..." because our knowledge of it allows us to live with purpose and intention-to flourish fully in the present that we have. Really knowing in a deepening way that our time here is limited helps us realize what is most important to us and guides us in letting go of what is secondary, what is sidetracking us from what and who we love most.

Personally, that means that I need to take the time and quiet to connect with my heart and to uncover my "best self," my true nature, as it were, and to allow the energy and passion that flows from that to direct my daily well-being. As I light my candle in the darkness of my room, connect with my breath and body in the silence and quiet my mind I can merge with the energies of life and death and regeneration and come to peace.

And what better time to do that but in the silence and darkness of late fall moving into winter! My hope is that in doing that through this season I might not only live more fully but that I might also "practice" in small ways to prepare for the enormous letting go that any death requires.

Read 272516 times Last modified on Tuesday, 23 August 2016 15:58
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