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Recommended Books

Aging Matters: Finding Your Calling for the Rest of Your Life, by R. Paul Stevens – One of the best Christian books on the third third of life, especially the last years. Offers wisdom, encouragement, and hope based on God’s calling of all people.

The Third Third of Life: Preparing for Your Future, by Walter C. Wright, Jr. – Former Executive Director of the De Pree Center. Popularized the phrase “third third.” Lots of wisdom and personal stories.

Retirement Reformation: Finding Freedom with Faith…. a Better Way to Experience the Final (And Best) Decades of Your Life, by Bruce Bruinsma. A biblical approach to retirement, with lots of practical wisdom, stories, and great questions. Check out also the Retirement Reformation website.

An Uncommon Guide to Retirement: Finding God’s Purpose for the Next Season of Life, by Jeff Haanen – Biblical wisdom for how to think about retirement, with lots of examples of people flourishing after they retire from their primary occupations.

Brain Rules for Aging Well: 10 Principles for Staying Vital, Happy, and Sharp, by John Medina – Fascinating look by a brain scientist at what happens to your brain in the third third of life. Includes lots of suggestions for how to flourish in this season of life.

Third Calling: What are you doing the rest of your life? by Richard and Leona Bergstrom. Lots of biblically-inspired wisdom by two experts in the field of third third flourishing. Specific help for identifying and living into your calling in this season of life.

Fascinating Videos on Third Third Flourishing

What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness, a TED talk by Robert Waldinger, professor at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Study of Adult Development at Harvard University. Waldinger asks, “What keeps us healthy and happy as we go through life? If you were going to invest now in your future best self, where would you put your time and your energy?”

Purposeful Retirement, a lecture by Dr. Amy Hanson, “a speaker, writer, and consultant with a passion to help older adults discover a life of Christ-centered meaning and purpose.” Hanson syas, “Baby-boomers marching into retirement in a radically different way. . . . I think God is up to something. . . . It’s an opportunity that I believe should not be wasted.” One of the excellent resources on retirement from the Denver Institute of Faith & Work.

Ellen Snyder – St. Francis Center. The moving story of a woman who lives purposefully in the third third. Snyder says, “I’m 91. So, why should I stop doing what I’ve always done, just because I’m a certain age. It doesn’t make sense to me. As long as I’m healthy and well, I want to keep on doing the things I do.” Another resource from the Denver Institute.

J.I. Packer on aging and the battle against sin. An honest conversation about again by a wise theologian. Packer shares some of the challenges of getting older, “I am aware that I am an old man. After 8:00 I’m beginning to nosedive into weariness. By 9:00 I’m pretty well zombified. . . . My wife can still go on to my amazement until 1:00 in the morning firing full steam. And she’s only six months younger than I am.”

Older people are happier, by Laura Cartensen. A TED talk by the director of the Stanford Center of Longevity. She says, “[T]he more we learn about aging, the clearer it becomes that a sweeping downward course is grossly inaccurate. Aging brings some rather remarkable improvements — increased knowledge, expertise — and emotional aspects of life improve. That’s right, older people are happy. They’re happier than middle-aged people, and younger people, certainly.”

Why we should embrace aging as an adventure, by Carl Honoré. Here is the official description of this recent TED talk: “We need to feel better about aging in order to age better, says writer and activist Carl Honoré. How? In this spirited talk, Honoré offers a set of simple solutions to combat ageism — as well as a host of trailblazers and changemakers who came into their ownlater in life, from artists and musicians to physicists and business leaders.”

The Formula for Successful Aging, by Gary Small. Here’s the description of the TED-UCLA talk by Gary Small, Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and Parlow-Solomon Professor on Aging at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA: “Recent scientific evidence is compelling that lifestyle habits have a significant impact on cognitive health and successful longevity; but the many reports are sometimes confusing and contradictory. This session will explain and highlight relevant new discoveries and translate them into practical strategies for improving memory performance, optimizing brain health, and living better longer.”

Centers Doing Excellent Work on the Third Third

Stanford Center on Longevity – The Center’s goal is to foster innovation and accelerate social and cultural change on the issues of longevity. They are working to help third third adults be mentally sharp, physically fit, and financially secure.

Center for Retirement Research at Boston College – Recognized by the New York Times as “…the nation’s leading center on retirement studies,” their research covers any issue affecting individuals’ income in retirement.

Startups by Grownups – A community of support, motivation, and insights for the older entrepreneur. According to the Kaufmann Foundation, more people in the 55 plus age bracket are starting businesses than folks who are 18-34, 35-44, or 45-54. Millions of “grownups” are starting businesses today.

Re-Ignite – Re-Ignite is dedicated to helping leading-edge Boomers discover their unique purpose and passion – in life and ministry. Founded and led by Richard and Leona Bergstrom, Re-Ignite offers a variety of learning opportunities, resources, coaching, and all-around wisdom about third third flourishing.

Retirement Reformation – Lots of resources and events at this site, which is based on the work of Bruce Bruinsma, author of Retirement Reformation. You can read and sign the Retirement Manfesto here. The website states: “The Retirement Reformation seeks to encourage and empower the 50 million Christians approaching or in retirement to embrace the calling God has been preparing them for.”