Being in your over 50s can be especially daunting for older men. You’ve worked, perhaps married and become a father, so you’d think it would be a great time to conquer those dreams you’ve had stored up, but instead you feel lost, alone and scared of where to turn to next. Alan Heeks is an inspiration. Through his own and others’ experiences, he’s providing a practical guide to others including how to enjoy the later years in the best possible way, how to handle the hurdles that life can still throw your way, and most importantly, insight into male relationships. Fifty can be fun, you just need to know how to enjoy it…
1) Try something new and develop a sense of adventure. It takes courage to explore the unknown and whilst we all know that men don’t like change, this really will open your eyes.
2) Build a shed. It may sound odd, but nowadays sheds are where men socialize with others and learn new skills like woodturning or metalwork. It’s a great way to meet new friends.
3) Reinvent yourself. That doesn’t mean to say you should change who you are entirely, rather think about what it is you really want? In your twenties it may have been travel, in your thirties it may have been work, in your forties it may have been a family.
4) Make inner listening a habit. Take yourself off to a quiet space, relax and take some long deep breaths. Clear your mind and listen to what the inner voices are telling you – they may help you make that decision about the job offer you’ve been stressing over.
5) Strengthen your support network. There are many changes emotionally and physically men over 50 go through, so it’s important to have family and friends close to you so you’re not experiencing this alone.
6) Choose a new home. If the children have left and you need to downsize, maybe you’ve finalized a divorce, or perhaps have no work commitments, moving home can be a great way to shape who you want to be over the next years and create new opportunities…like the space for that shed!
7) Communicate with your other half. It is very easy to co-exist next to a partner you have been with for over ten years, but by making an effort to talk and letting them know your feelings, it’ll bring you that bit closer together.
8) Change your outlook on work, so as not to repeat patterns in relationships and other parts of your life.
9) Consider self-employment. There is a strong percentage that men in their forties, up to their sixties, take the plunge and set off by themselves. Be aware that it can be lonely, so decide how best you want to do it. Do you want to be a sub contractor so you can still interact with others, or literally be a one-man band? Either way you’ll have more freedom, just make sure you plan the best way to do it.
10) If you’ve been made redundant or are about to retire, lower your break-even. By reducing your outgoings so the minimum monthly income is less, you’ll find this will help you stress less.
11) Start a healthy lifestyle. When you grow older, health is something you can’t shy away from. Change your diet and exercise more – but don’t fret if you miss a day; you are only human after all! Instead, dust yourself off and start again the next day. A healthy body and mind will leave you feeling rejuvenated, as well as having positive long-term effects.
12) If there is anything you want to say to people before you die, now is the time to do it. There’s no getting away from the fact you’re getting older and won’t be around forever, so getting these things off your chest will enhance the rest of the time you have with them.
For more tips and advice read: Out Of The Woods: A Guide to Life for Men Beyond 50 (£12.99, Constable & Robinson) by Alan Heeks