Packing and Re-Packing

Leider and Webber (2013) introduce the idea that during the third age people need to learn to unload some of the baggage they have been carrying and begin a process of repacking. The baggage they are talking about includes material goods, stereotypes of aging, unproductive communication patterns, and debilitating views of the self.

At first glance, the idea of packing and repacking sounds straightforward enough. Leider and Webber suggest as an exercise that you find some part of your life that needs repacking and give it a try. For example, perhaps there a drawer or a stack of papers that needs to be tackled. When I did this I realized that the first part was just getting rid of stuff, having a trash bucket close at hand. After the purging there was a new task, how to reorganize the remaining material? The tendency was to just pile it up again, a smaller pile but no more accessible. Reorganization was needed and perhaps further purges as well.

As a starting point for this process, the suggestion is made that a life / career check-up might be in order. Just as we go to the doctor for a yearly health check, perhaps we should be examining other parts of our lives. Entering the third age is a time for renewal and a good way to start is to critically evaluate what we have been packing into our lives and how some of that might need to be discarded and reorganized.


Leider, R.J. & Webber, A.M. (2013). Life reimagined: Discovering your new life possibilities. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

Norman AmundsonComment