The Secret of Life is the debut studio album by singer-songwriter Gretchen Peters. It was released in 1996, and featured a minor hit single in the track, "When You Are Old". The song reached number 68 on the Hot Country Songs chart.
The album itself has become a hotbed for hit cover versions by other popular country artists. Faith Hill recorded a smash version of the title track that reached number 4 on the country chart in the States (while also scraping into the top 50 on the Billboard Hot 100). Trisha Yearwood recorded her own version of "On a Bus to St. Cloud" for her full-length Thinkin' About You (two years prior to the release of this album), while Martina McBride has recorded 3 songs: "This Uncivil War", "When You Are Old" and "Independence Day" which she took to number 12 on the U.S. country chart.
Allmusic gave the album three stars (out of a possible five), comparing her to fellow singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter, calling the songs "highly introspective, thoughtful and intelligent".