Midlife Crisis? Nah…It’s Just the Starting Point for Your Longest Run.

At its heart, OlderBeast is about clearly seeing and courageously confronting many of the concerns that appear for men at their mid-life point and beyond. Concerns about staying physically vital. About not looking “old.” About warding off maladies that lurk in the shadows.

Among all concerns, perhaps the biggest is the most subconscious and hardest to recognize:

At or beyond life’s halfway marker, we’re uncertain what our life ultimately will have meant.
I know this “Meaning of Life” concern is caricatured as the mid-life crisis and the sports car in response. But in reality, it can be more of an awakening, a broadening of vision and spirit, a healthy challenge, and an opportunity.

OlderBeast’s call – for you to double down on overall body-and-soul health – is to help maximize this opportunity. We’ll come back to that. First let’s take a deeper look at this “Meaning” concern.

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At its heart, OlderBeast is about clearly seeing and courageously confronting many of the concerns that appear for men at their mid-life point and beyond. Concerns about staying physically vital. About not looking “old.” About warding off maladies that lurk in the shadows.

Among all concerns, perhaps the biggest is the most subconscious and hardest to recognize:

At or beyond life’s halfway marker, we’re uncertain what our life ultimately will have meant.

I know this “Meaning of Life” concern is caricatured as the midlife crisis and the sports car in response. But in reality, it can be more of an awakening, a broadening of vision and spirit, a healthy challenge, and an opportunity.

OlderBeast’s call – for you to double down on overall body-and-soul health – is to help maximize this opportunity. We’ll come back to that. First let’s take a deeper look at this “Meaning” concern.

QUESTIONS ON MEANING: WHY NOW?

It’s logical to step back and assess something at its halfway point. But beyond that, for a lot of guys the real trigger is evolution of family circumstances (that happens to occur in the 40-60 age range). Your parents reach true senior status, or have passed away. Kids are increasingly-independent teenagers, or out of the house and launched on their own.

My wife and I are about to be empty-nesters, and I’ve noticed this feeling: for the first time, I can visualize and want to plan a chunk of time called “the rest of my life.”

Age zero to 18 or so living with your parents, young adulthood and pre-kids marriage, your own parenting-of-children phase — wow, there was so much in each one of those life parts. But the phase we’re reaching now could be much longer than these prior ones (even twice as long).

Framed positively – and that’s how to frame it, man– “welcome to your life’s longest chapter.”

Looking ahead at this, and of course realizing this longest chapter is also the concluding one, brings up powerful questions.

powerful LIFE QUESTIONS

As we start living this longest chapter, big questions develop and gain urgency.

Such as:

⇒ What do you really Want? “W” for “want” in the biggest sense: what short list of fundamental goals do I have for my rest-of-life?

⇒ What values drive these goals? Are they the same ones I’ve lived by so far, or have they changed?

⇒ How can I become more?

⇒ If I take “inventory” of life so far, what’s missing? What do I need now?

CHANGING PRIORITIES & LIFE ATTITUDEs

Each man’s life questions and conclusions are of course unique, and intensely personal. But I sense certain themes resonate among us. They drive a shift in priorities, and evolution of attitudes, many of us hold in common.

Examples:

⇒ Desire to be our best possible self. While not new, it’s clearer and stronger than ever before.

⇒ At the same time, self-forgiveness for what we’re not, or things that didn’t happen. This includes “letting go” of outdated values, goals and priorities which don’t serve us well anymore.

⇒ Recognition that dedicating time to care for our own bodies and souls isn’t abdication of “provide and protect” responsibilities to our family…it’s actually part of those responsibilities.

Engagement of our minds – our creativity, resilience, will power – to overcome the increased challenges of physical fitness (compared to when we were 20- or 30-something).

⇒ Gratitude for good things in life, and fewer complaints.

⇒ Appreciation of beauty and timeless things, and motivation to experience them more often.

OLDERBEAST’s connection to meaning

OlderBeast sometimes focuses at the “tactical” level – like how to swim more efficiently, or how to make killer oatmeal. And sometimes at the strategic level – like how to “architect” your own sustainable fitness and wellness approach, and how to get and stay motivated to pursue it.

But at its highest level – the vision of a healthy life and a game plan to achieve it – OlderBeast serves and encourages these changing priorities and life attitudes you likely feel.

Your body, and your sharpness of mind and freedom of spirit that depend on it, are literally your “platform” for the rest of life. The “vehicle” for your quest to achieve life goals and realize Meaning in your long, concluding chapter.

Thinking this way, are you prioritizing fitness, nutrition and wellness enough? If so, are you pursuing them in the smartest way possible?

Now’s a good time to ask yourself these things, brother.

 

“Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run…there’s still time to change the road you’re on.” (Led Zeppelin, Stairway to Heaven—click to listen).

Note, this is the live version with Jimmy Page playing the double-neck guitar and Robert Plant’s extemporaneous asides within the lyrics. If you want the studio version, it’s here.

If you think this would be useful to others, please help spread the word about OlderBeast by sharing this post with the social media buttons below. THANKS, MAN.

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Aging Guys’ Fitness Motivation Secret: Embrace the Connection to Joy & Meaning

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So right about now, we can all use a reminder about what motivates us to stay fit and vital. That’s why I want to reaffirm and expand on the biggest, most-positive motivation out there: thinking of fitness as a major enabler of Joy and Meaning in your life.

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Aging: 3 Reasons Why You’re Not as “Over the Hill” as You Think

We’re not 25 anymore, physically (duh). But 40++ guys (and gals) can feel pretty darn good if they’re physically active, eat well, get enough sleep and manage stress. And perform pretty well too – in endurance events, strength activities, skill sports and daily life.

Consider these recent news items. A 52-year-old guy set the world record for most push-ups in an hour. At the USA Track & Field masters’ championships, women in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 80’s, 90’s and 100’s turned in “age-defying” performances.

The glass-half-empty views says 40+ means “over the hill.” But the quest to live in glass-half-full mode raises these questions: 1). What’s the nature of this “hill?” Is there one crest, or different ones for different things?…2). When do these crests come along?…3). How steep is our slope post-crest?

I’ve researched this a bit, and here are my conclusions so far. Yeah, our “VO2max” aerobic capacity is lower, and we have less fast-twitch muscle fiber for explosive things like sprinting and jumping. But there are also several pieces of good news from research, brothers.

Read on for a summary of good-news points and links to research sources. Plus, some amazing data on how today’s OlderBeast-age guys would have done at the first modern Olympics in 1896.

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I Experimentally Reduced Cardio in My Fitness Mix – Here’s What Happened

There are good reasons for cardio-intensive guys to move to a better mix of endurance/strength/flexibility in the fitness mix.

Overtraining on cardio – especially without super-disciplined rest and nutrition regimes – can wear down your body, contribute to muscle loss, and allow development of imbalances that make you more prone to injury.

Also, in our time-challenged lives, too much cardio usually implies too little strength and flexibility training. And maintaining muscle tone and staying limber are huge parts of looking and feeling our best, and maximizing longevity, as we move through life’s second half.

And one big concern about reducing cardio – gaining weight/fat – may be misplaced. Evidence is emerging that strength training (with at least a somewhat-intense cadence) burns fat as well as, or better than, cardio.

With these things in mind (but still needing to overcome a “cardio reduction paranoia” mental hurdle), here’s what I changed and what I learned.

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In the Quest for Fitness After 40, You Gotta Pay Your Dues

One big OlderBeast goal is to help you evolve your outlook on fitness – and experiment with alternative activities – so you WANT to work out. Another important goal: help you PLAN so exercise isn’t super-hard to fit into your schedule.

But some days you’ll find yourself 0-for-2 on these dimensions. You really don’t want to do the workout you’ve planned. And something about that day’s schedule changed to make it hard to fit it in, anyway.

In such cases, sometimes you definitely need to be flexible, listen to your body, and reload for tomorrow. But sometimes you’ve got to suck it up and do your planned workout, man.

3 Comments
  1. […] recent OlderBeast article (Midlife Crisis? Nah…It’s Just the Start of Your Longest Run) highlighted that we have an opportunity to enhance the direction and meaning of life, as we start […]

  2. […] for the 2nd half of life. If you’re not convinced, before continuing you may want to read this about our decades-to-come and the role of fitness, nutrition and wellness within […]

  3. […] So dedicate time and energy soon to this question: What possibilities open up for me if I’m in better physical shape and feel less stressed? For a few thoughts on the opportunity to re-imagine possibilities in the mid-life years, see “Mid-life Crisis? Nah — This is Just the Start of Your Longest Run.” […]

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