3 Stages

Three Stages of Life: Wage, Page and Sage

We make plans and have dreams, but then life happens. The day to day takes over, having a mysterious way of clouding those great visions we have for ourselves. Here’s a little bit of life coaching for you.

Compared to many of you who read my articles, I sit with a few extra trips around the sun. From that bonus advantage, I want to share some basic observations. For the really big things in life, I see three distinct phases or cycles. I call them WAGE, PAGE, and SAGE. Let’s explore each one.


In our early years, much of what we do is about the wage; finding a job to earn a paycheck so we can survive. Having a steady paycheck or not has its way of defining us. At least that is true very early in adulthood.

Those who are blessed with high paying jobs right out of school become the upper crust so to speak. Others who struggle with mediocre jobs do OK but live with a burning desire for more.

Then there are those who by chance or by choice do little to find meaningful work and become downtrodden; perhaps even welfare recipients.

A distinct class system develops. I don’t say any of this to start a socio-political debate but merely state the obvious. These conditions are something seen in most parts of the world. The wage we find defines us in many ways whether we like it or not.

In addition, much of our focus in this phase of life is about the wage. How much do I get? How far can it go? What are my essential expenses versus things I’d like to have? Choices about money have their own compounding effect. Smart choices make the money work to grow and prosper. It is said, “Don’t work for your money, make your money work for you.” Too few of us make the opportunity to live that kind of life.


After we settle into the Wage portion of life, we begin the next phase. We start writing chapters in our own book of life, turning pages day by day. Relationships, marriage, childbirth (wedded or not), deaths of friends and family, relocation, social affairs, community involvement, and on and on.

Occasionally you’ll hear people talk about defining moments; those events in life that cause a radical change in perspective or circumstance. These too are stories we write.

Each page tells a story about who and what we are becoming. In a perfect world, the story being written follows some grand plan we devised. Sadly, in most cases, even that is not true.

Rather, the collection of pages seems almost by chance; pure opportunity or failure as things come along. The busy-ness of life writes the story rather than us writing it with an intention or specific direction.

Turning the page can be a celebration of a need for new direction. Prior choices may have written chapters you want to walk away from. So turning the page is a new lease on life. Finding a new way. That, of course, is good when it becomes necessary to do so.


Lastly is the Sage phase. Most world cultures have the notion of honoring the elderly. Age brings wisdom, right?

On one hand, it should. Life experiences, like those above, allow the building of a wealth of experience that can be a valuable teaching. Elders who have properly processed all of those life experiences should have good insight to share.

If the knowledge is shared with generosity and grace, then “sage” wisdom is the outcome.

However, far too many old people are just pissed off. Their choices and the pages in their books don’t tell very good stories. At least not the story they wanted to have happened. These folks miss the mark for becoming the sage advisor they could be.

Rather than being sought out, they are avoided. Younger people don’t even want to be subject to the hostility that is present.

The Really Interesting Pivot

If you think about it, you have choices at each of these stages. For your wage, you can choose to go or stay in a situation that is less than fulfilling.

For page, you get to choose how short or long most chapters of life may be. Sure some events may be beyond your control, like the onset of some disease that causes permanent health issues, but for the most part, you decide how long a chapter might be and when you should turn the page.

With becoming sage, again you get to choose. Will you let your life experiences be inspiring messages to the next generation or will you become some difficult personality? You choose.

Ultimately, this journey we call life is a series of choices. Choose wisely, my friend!

Question: Which stage do you see for yourself right now? Leave a comment.

Originally posted on DougThorpe.com

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