Readers.com asked midlife topic experts to share special advice on everything from healthy living to planning for retirement. Our experts’ uplifting stories will inspire you to approach every situation with a Glass(es) Half Full mentality, so check back each month for more in this series and like us on Facebook for additional tips!
We’re excited to introduce Wayne Levine as a guest writer for today’s post. Wayne is a professional life coach, specializing in guiding men through midlife and helping them become the best fathers, partners, and leaders they can be. He’s the author of Hold On to Your N.U.T.s: The Relationship Manual for Men and spearheads BetterMen Weekend Retreats. While Wayne mainly coaches men, his advice below is beneficial to anyone looking for inspiration as they navigate midlife. Take it away Wayne!
Oy! That was the sound of aging in my family. A refrain heard often these days from folks our age. Bending over. Oy! Dealing with your kids for the hundredth time over the same issue. Oy! Having to hear the same complaints from your aging parent, again and again. Oy! Being invited to an interesting or exciting event that may go past your bedtime. Oy!
As we get older, many of us tend to grow less tolerant, less physical, and less willing to be adventurous. Oy! That’s no way to grow older! As a 53-year-old, I might have a little more wisdom than some, and a little less than others. But I know this: I feel younger now than I have in decades. So let me share some of the wisdom I’ve received from those wiser than me that has guided me to make positive changes as I’ve entered mid-life. Here are seven ways to make the most out of mid-life!
1. Stop Acting Your Age
When was the last time you went to a night club? “Oh, that music is for the kids, not us.” Oy! To that I say, phooey! Being the only 50-year-old in a sea of 20-somethings might not sound like your cup of tea. But once you focus on enjoying the music and the dancing and your date, your age simply vanishes. Plus, being amidst that young energy is invigorating.
Being self-conscious is natural. But allowing it to cheat you from having the kinds of amazing nights you had when you were 20 or 30, is down right criminal. My wife and I have been those old folks in a sea of kids, even with our own kids. And I’m always amazed at how few of our contemporaries are there. “Don’t they realize what they’re missing?” I always wonder. I guess not.
Whether it’s a music festival, a trip to an amusement park, picking up a musical instrument for the first time, learning a new language, painting, or taking a class at a community college, doing now what you might have done when you were younger is one way to stay cool. And when was the last time you entertained the possibility of being cool?
2. Use Your Body
Use it or lose it. It’s easy to look around to see those who have chosen to lose it. But there are also so many good examples of men and women who have chosen to get the most joy possible out of their bodies. Yoga, cycling, hiking, Pilates, running, surfing, boxing, and martial arts are all excellent ways to keep your body strong and your mind sharp.
Some of you may be reluctant to jump in for fear of looking foolish when compared to those who’ve been at it for a while. Poppycock! This is your world, too. You have every right to explore and discover whenever it suits you. Once you start, you’ll never look back.
3. Seek Out Healers
Whatever’s been ailing you, there are countless competent and innovative healers who just might have the solution you need. Nutritionists, chiropractors, Chinese medicine doctors, naturopaths, holistic dentists, healers who work with body, colon therapists, and many more specialists offer new and ancient ways to learn about your body, to nourish it, and to heal it.
Don’t let your aches and pains convince you that your time has come and gone. Fight for your health and build a team to fight for it with you.
4. Quit Assuming You Know
The older we get the more closed-minded many of us become. Been there, done that. Well, maybe sometimes, but not always. I spend several hours a week with men who think they’re the smartest guys in the room. They really do. It’s funny. But just when they think they’ve got it figured out, invariably, some other dude makes a suggestion that upends everything that smart guy thought he had figured out.
When you open up to others, reveal yourself and ask for help, you will be astonished by the wisdom you receive. Getting stuck in ruts is a terrible but avoidable trap for the maturing. Don’t get trapped!
5. Be Spontaneous
Speaking of ruts, avoid getting stuck in one by making spontaneity a part of who you are and a part of what your relationship is all about. It’s so easy to get comfortable on that wonderful couch or recliner. Once you have a routine you enjoy, it’s easy to stop being creative, romantic, or adventurous. But it’s these equalities that keep us full of life. Be daring. Suggest new stuff to do. Tear it out of the Sunday paper and go!
Some of you may be afraid of hearing “NO” from your significant other. Well then, you just may have to go do it alone, first. If you want to make a change in your relationship, you’ll have to have a vision of what that relationship looks like, and then lead your partner down that path. Patience and commitment are key. Change can be very scary to some. But complacency can be deadly.
6. Improve Yourself & Your Relationships
It’s all an inside job. How you show up to the world reflects how you feel physically, how satisfied you are with your choices, and how you feel about who you are. That’s why it’s critical that you continue to improve on your efforts to be the best you can be. That means reading, counseling, retreats, podcasts, and whatever else inspires you and motivates you to take action, to learn, and to become happier and more patient with yourself, your partner, and everyone else.
7. Embrace Your Spiritual Journey
One of the true gifts of maturing, if you’re fortunate enough to take notice, is to see the spiritual underpinnings of everything around us. Whatever your religious or spiritual bent, spend more time in prayer, meditation, or thoughtful contemplation. This work that brings you closer to your higher power is what will sustain you and guide you as you strive to be that healthier, vibrant, more loving and courageous adult.
And perhaps you’ll be able to replace that Oy with a much healthier Om.
Thank you to Wayne for sharing such great advice! Make sure you head on over to Wayne’s website for more life-coaching expertise, and don’t forget to check out his favorite Readers.com picks: The Jet Setter, The Arizona Bifocal Sun Reader, and The Gershwin.