The sayings for folks around retirement age are often less than kind.


“Over the hill”--”out to pasture”--”on your last leg”--”worse for wear.”


And let’s not forget the classic “no spring chicken.” Yikes!


Here in Ecuador where we’ve lived for over eight years locals have a more respectful term for their over 65’ers:

Tercera Edad, which means "Third Age."


How much better does that sound? No negativity. No judgment. Simply a recognition that one has moved into the next stage of life.


Ecuadorian culture takes matters a step further by honoring the older generation with numerous perks and discounts. Banks, government offices, utility companies, and even the grocery store have special lines and windows for members of Tercera Edad.


It’s said that age is just a number, but how many of us think and behave according to how old we are because we’ve decided that’s what we’re supposed to do?


Here’s a better question--according to who??


Parents can be heard telling misbehaving children to “act their age.” Which, of course, translates to “stop annoying (and perhaps embarrassing) me with your immature behavior.”


But such an admonition is seldom directed toward older people. To the contrary, continuing to look youthful and approach life robustly as one ages is for the most part universally admired.


If one's life can be viewed as a three act play, how that final act turns out is entirely up to each of us. We are the author, director, and star of our own production.


Maybe the first two acts haven’t turned out so well. So what? That was then; this is now. You get the opportunity to make your ending a showstopper!


And why wouldn’t you? Retirement offers an abundance of a precious resource treasured all the more because you know it is in shorter supply with each passing day.




If life is viewed as a bell curve with youth on one side, old age on the other, and adulthood bulging in the middle, Tercera Edad’ers really are over at least that hill. Without tomorrow promised to no one, and a finite number of “tomorrow’s” looming, doesn’t it make sense to use time wisely making yourself and the world in general better?


When you decide that your life matters--that you matter--there is simply no room for complacency. You take your health and wellness more seriously with proper diet, sufficient exercise, and adequate rest. You treat yourself and others with kindness and respect.


You realize that now is the time to do whatever it is you’ve always dreamed of. And perhaps to finally take care of delicate or painful personal matters you’ve been avoiding.


As the final curtain falls nobody wants to look back on a life filled with woulda/shoulda/coulda’s. Resolve right now your Third Age is going to be a blockbuster that deserves a standing ovation.


Then get busy making it so.

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