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Been feeling a little DISSATISFIED lately?
April 30, 2005

Midlife Wisdom For Men Issue #033, April 30, 2005

=========== TABLE OF CONTENTS ==========

· Been Feeling a little "Dissatisfied" Lately?

· Discovery: Being Overweight Means Greater Chance of Alzheimer's


Written by Noel McNaughton (c) copyright 2005


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There are about 875 words in the articles in this newsletter, which may take about four minutes to read.



Been Feeling a little Dissatisfied Lately?

Bob is 48 years old, and dissatisfied with his life. The job he has enjoyed for more than 25 years has suddenly become so boring and routine he can hardly stand another day. He used to look forward to Mondays. Now he dreads them. He wants to do something different, but feels trapped in a job that pays well, and is 'safe'.

Bob is not alone. One of the most typical feelings at midlife is discontent. It usually comes as a surprise, particularly when, like Bob, we suddenly find ourselves bored with what we used to be passionate about. Wes Barrett (see his story on my Men's Stories page: Men's Stories) hit this discontent big time in his early forties.

Discontent is a normal feeling at midlife. It is also normal to feel like 'kicking over the traces' and trying something totally new.

Psychologist Carl Jung identified five main phases of midlife:

  • Accommodation
  • Separation
  • Liminality
  • Reintegration
  • Individuation

It starts before midlife with Accommodation, where we wear a different 'mask' in different social situations. This again, is normal behaviour. We learn as children that certain actions or ways of being are ok in certain situations, and not in others (our grandparents will let us do things our parents won't let us do, for example). We wear a different social mask at work than we do at home, and at church than we do at cocktail parties.

At midlife, we suddenly become tired of all this - the routine of work, the 'inauthenticity' of having to be a different person under different circumstances, the lack of excitement and adventure in our lives. We want to just be who we are whoever that is!

So we step into Separation, where we may take the plunge and change jobs, or maybe even start a business. This can be exciting, and even financially risky. But perhaps no more risky to our lives than staying stuck in our job and becoming depressed, irritable, treating our families like dirt, and eventually ending up being downsized and/or divorced (there is only so much crap a woman is willing to put up with, especially if she is in menopause and struggling with her own midlife process).

After Separation, we get into Liminality, the state of being 'neither this nor that'. Another word for it is Transition. It is the 'Night Sea Journey' or the 'Voyage Through the Underworld'. It is a time of great opportunity and creativity (anything is possible), but also of feeling lost. This is a time for exploring new ways of being, trying things out. After all, we aren't who we used to be, and we aren't who we will be, so why not try all the ways we could be? Somewhere in there we will find out more clearly who we are.

Eventually the Night Sea Journey ends, and we enter Reintegration, where we have a clearer idea of Who We Really Are. We feel much more at home with ourselves, we know what we stand for, what our values are, and what matters now. (It is very common, having gone through a midlife passage, to look back at the things we used to get all stressed over, and wonder what THAT was all about.)

That brings us to Individuation, where we accept ourselves for who we are, including our 'shadow parts' - those negative aspects of ourselves that we have tended in the past to project onto others. Discovering and accepting our shadow is perhaps the greatest step we can make toward real maturity.

We are more accepting of the others around us as well. We are less critical and judgemental of our wife and kids. We don't get as upset with the boss, or the co-worker who used to irritate us so much. They just are who they are, and we accept them that way.

We also take more responsibility for who we are and what we do.

If we get through all these stages successfully (and in reality we usually spiral through them a number of times throughout our lives), we eventually become Elders - men mature and balanced enough to provide some wise guidance to those coming behind us. Lord knows the world needs Elders now!

SO… if you have been feeling a little dissatisfied lately, don't worry about it too much. Pay attention to what is happening to you. Talk to other men about it. Discuss it with your wife. Figure out a strategy to make the changes you need without unacceptable risk.

You are on the path to a 'different you' whether you want to be or not. If you try to deny these feelings and 'tough it out', in the end you might just become a bitter old man. If you pay attention, and follow the urgings of your soul, there's a good chance your life will become more exciting and fulfilling than it has ever been. (In many ways, that is how my life is now.)

You're going to get older anyway, why not play the game!


ON A BLANKET FROM TAIWAN: Not to be used as protection from a tornado.


Discovery: Being Overweight Means Greater Chance of Alzheimer's

It is harder to keep weight off at midlife. I guess that's why they call it the 'middle age bulge'.

And we already know all the data about obesity leading to heart disease, and myriad other maladies.

Well - add one more.

The most convincing research so far suggests that being fat in your 40s might raise your risk of developing dementia later in life. In a recently-published study from California that followed more than 10,000 people for almost 30 years, researchers found that the fatter people were, the greater their risk for Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia. The results were published online Friday by the British Medical Journal.

The study was conducted by the Kaiser Permanente Medical Foundation. It followed 10,276 people, in their early to mid-40s, for an average of 27 years. They had detailed health checkups from the mid-1960s to early 1970s.

Between 1994 and 2003, the study data showed that roughly 7 out of 100 normal-weight people developed dementia. Among overweight people, the risk was almost 8 out of 100; and for obese people, it was 9 out of 100.

Just one more reason to push ourselves away from the table, and get to the gym regularly.


"Lead your life so you wouldn't be ashamed to sell the family parrot to the town gossip." - Will Rogers


Book Review

- Find You Purpose, Change Your Life: Getting to the Heart of Your Life’s Mission by Carol Adrienne.

If you have been trying to figure out 'what you are going to do when you grow up', this could be the book for you. Adrienne has put lots of excercises in here, and a cumulative 'score sheet' at the back of the book. As you go through and do the exercises, you enter data at the back, and when you are done you have a comprehensive look at your life mission.


Basketball analyst: "He dribbles a lot and the opposition doesn't like it. In fact you can see it all over their faces."


Just For You: A Free Do-It-Yourself Retirement Planning Report

If you are a new subscriber to this newsletter, you will recall I promised you a link to a secret page on the Midlife Men's site where you can download a free 27-page report on 'DIY Retirement planning' by George Slater.

Welcome to the newsletter, and for your free report, go to: DIY Retirement E-Report , click on the link, and follow the instructions.



Learn to be a Teleclass Facilitator

If you are a facilitator/speaker/professional who gives lectures or workshops, you can do it from home and make money. Teleclasses (also known as teleseminars) using telephone bridge lines, are becoming increasingly popular, and and a very inexpensive way to deliver high-quality training. I took training in teleclass leadership from Teleclass International which I highly recommend.



A Destroyer of Compasses by Wade Bell, published by Guernica Editions, (Toronto, Buffalo and Lancaster UK) $15.00 Cdn

One Man's Mid-Life Crisis Led to Spain. Planning to spend six weeks, he stayed five years.

A book of stories the Toronto Globe & Mail called "an assured and sensual portrait of a culture" with "precise and ironic examples of human idiosyncracy." The review went on to call stories "gems."

Available from Amazon, E-Bay and local bookstores.



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Is Your Computer Slower Than When You Got It? And Are You Protected From Hackers? Performance Pro is a POWERFUL little program that gives you:

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  • Speed up general system performance and hard drive searching performance
  • Block annoying pop-ups and banner ads - this alone speeds up your Internet browsing experience!
  • Delete all traces of your Internet usage, so nobody will ever know where you have been online


I Need Your Questions and Feedback!

Got comments? Questions? I'd love to hear from you.

Just email your suggestions and/or questions to . I look forward to hearing from you. And thanks.


Well friend, that's it for now. Again, if you enjoyed this and/or found it useful, and know of anyone else who might like it, please pass it forward. And if you have questions or recommendations, I would love to hear from you.

All the best, Noel

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