Life can now be appropriately divided into thirds. The first third roughly starts with infancy and extends to about age 30. It is preparation time, or getting started. Birth, education, spiritual guidance, growing physically stronger, and learning about being a good person happens here.
Then, around age 30, we are usually well into a time of productivity. Jobs, colleagues, friends and families are the clearest example of this. By age thirty, we are typically solidly underway, enjoying measurable, enjoyable companionship, offspring, income, and other rewards. Hard work often characterizes this part of life. There are numerous exceptions to the rule but, for most, the years from age 30 to 60 are high energy, hardworking decades of building and refining important products and resources.
Then there is the 3rd Age. It can be a brand new and refreshing experience. In the past, retirement offered only a few years of relief after a career of tedious employment. It was not, as now, a whole new decades-long opportunity for something different.
For many, the third quarter offers options that may not have been possible earlier in life. Some slide into new occupations that fit their passions. Others finally have the opportunity to see the world or enjoy travel. Many choose volunteer work helping, assisting, pitching in, on causes and projects that are clearly helpful to others.
Regardless of the many specific ways we can contribute, or enjoy life, there is one vital thread to be woven with special intentionality through these years. In one word, it is RELATIONSHIPS. This word defines God’s mandate for us throughout our lives, but the 3rd Age is a time when it is uniquely possible and important.
In the past, few lived into their late seventies and eighties. There were no patterns or styles for being an older person, because they were so exceptional. Today is different, and we are leading the way, setting the standards, creating images of how to be in the third quarter of life. It is an exciting challenge God has given us. It is one in which we all can be active.
(More on this next week . . .)
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At my age ’Getting lucky’ means walking into a room and remembering what I came in there for.