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Been Having Much Fun Lately?
November 02, 2005
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Midlife Wisdom For Men Issue #045, November 1, 2005

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Been Having Much Fun Lately?

Thank You For Everything, I Have No Complaint Whatsoever

Book Review: The Seasons of a Man's Life

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Written by Noel McNaughton Midlife-Men.com (c) copyright 2005 midlife-men.com

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If you like this e-zine, please do a friend and me a big favour and forward it to him. If a friend DID forward this to you and if you like what you read, please subscribe by visiting Midlife Wisdom for Men.

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Welcome to this issue of Midlife Wisdom for Men.

Midlife transitions can take away a lot of the playfulness we normally feel. Perhaps it is a way for our souls to tell us to start paying more attention to fun. Being thankful is a good habit to maintain as well. See below.

Hope you find this newsletter interesting and useful.

There are about 1138 words in the articles in this newsletter, which may take about four minutes to read.

Noel

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Letters

Here is a letter from a reader of the August newsletter, which I somehow missed:

Noel, I really appreciate receiving your newsletter. It's helped me a great deal. I may have something that will help you and others. It appears that the world around us is changing more than we know. Part of the problem of being in middle age (58) is that you think your future (retirement) is going to be a carbon copy of your parents' retirement.

I just read a book, Free Agent Nation by Dan Pink, which has totally changed my approach. Chapter 14 is devoted to e-tirement, defined as what people of our age are doing (or will be doing). It's nothing at all like my Dad's retirement, and I am now looking forward with some enthusiasm instead of dread. I should have known that the boomers would do their 'own thing'. We've done it all our lives.

I also checked out this site: www.2young2retire.com

Just what I'm (and maybe some of your readers) are looking for.

Thanks again,

Michael

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Dear Noel, Couldn't resist this as we sell grass-raised and -finished bison meat. Just as fish are high in omega-3 from eating plankton or plankton-eaters, so grass-raised and -finished beef and bison are high in omega-3 fatty acids, but you won't hear about this from Cargill. Regards, Del Myers, October Farm, Prince George P.S.: I enjoy you newsletter and read most/all of each one. Thanks

Editors note: I don't know how I could have missed this, as Elizabeth and I eat only grass-finished beef, lamb and bison, and pastured chickens. We do it because the meat tastes better, and it's higher in omega 3 as well as Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) which research shows may be one of our most potent defenses against cancer. If you want to know where to buy grass-finished products, the best place I know of is www.eatwild.com

Been Having Much Fun Lately?

A few years ago, when I was in the depth of what Daniel Levinson (author of The Seasons of a Man's Life) calls the Age Fifty Transition, I did not have much fun. My wife Elizabeth, who was also going through a major transition, and I, would often talk about how we felt so serious all the time. It wasn't that we had lost our sense of humour, but we just felt serious.

We enjoyed hiking, and as we lived in Vancouver, B.C. at the time, we were near many great hikes in the mountains all around Vancouver. We were part of a group that hiked on many weekends, and it was a source of renewal and recreation for us, and even fun, as we hiked with a wonderful group of people. It helped us get out of 'serious mode'.

I had another experience around that age, during my training to become a personal/professional coach. One of the exercises we did was a visit with our Future Self (ourself, 20 years in the future). It was a powerful experience for me, and at the end of the visit, my Future Self gave me an Otter. He explained it was a 'Cosmic Otter', and that it was to remind me to approach life from a sense of playfulness. That life is too important to be solemn about.

It took a number of years before I felt playful again (I do now), and those experiences were helpful in keeping the need for playfulness and fun in mind, even though I felt serious most of the time.

I have noticed the same tendency in most of the men I meet who are going through a challenging transition. Sometimes it just feels as though things are falling apart - our work is no longer satisfying, our marriage is feeling a little dull, and we feel irritable much of the time. Not exactly a fun experience. Yet fun and playfulness are very important, especially during challenging times.

Here is what William A. Sadler says about it in his excellent book The Third Age:

"Play is important to growth at all ages. It is the source of our creativity. It is also important to health, not only as a form of therapy but as a form of healthy adult adaptation. Researcher Dr. Vaillant discovered that those best adapted to life in their fifties allowed more time for vacations than did the least-successfully adapted, who often found little or no vacation time.

"Similarly, the reporter Peter Chew found that "leisure was the key to men's eventual successful passage through the most critical years of their middle life."

"Play is no less important to adults than to children. Human beings are not only Homo sapiens and Homo faber, but also Homo ludens - beings who are thinkers and workers and, preeminently, players. Play has fundamental importance to individual development. It is even a foundation of human culture. Play frees the human spirit and provides the basis for the highest forms of human expression. If we are to become more open and creative as well as happier and more fulfilled we need to increase the element of play in our lives. We also need to infuse more of it into our work. That is a sure way to activate the child within us so that we can grow young."

Going through a midlife transition can feel pretty heavy, and sometimes we need a break. So... have you been having any fun lately? I am not talking about the most incredible fun you ever had, or hours of belly laughs, but just doing something light and playful... anything from literally playing with little kids (your grandchildren if you have any), to having a good conversation and a few laughs with your buddies.

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Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but then has to check when you say the paint is wet?

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Thank You For Everything, I Have No Complaint Whatsoever

(From Alan Cohen, the author of Why Your Life Sucks and What You Can Do About It)

The story is told about a woman Zen master named Sono who taught one very simple method of enlightenment. She advised everyone who came to her to adopt an affirmation to be said many times a day, under all conditions. The affirmation was, "Thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever."

Many people from all arenas of life came to Sono for healing. Some were in physical pain; others were emotionally distraught; others had financial troubles; some were seeking soul liberation.

No matter what their distress or what question they asked her, her response was the same: "Thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever."

Some people went away disappointed; others grew angry; others tried to argue with her. Yet some people took her suggestion to heart and began to practice it. Tradition tells that everyone who practiced Sono's mantra found peace and healing

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Elizabeth and I have used this saying when things don't seem so good, and also when they do. Elizabeth has it taped to a shelf above her computer monitor. I just try to remember it from time to time. It is particularly effective when I am feeling down.

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On an Electrician's truck: "Let us remove your shorts."

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Interesting Book: The Seasons of a Man's Life

by Daniel Levinson, Random House, 1978.

This is one of the originals about men and transitions, and it is still a classic despite being almost thirty years old. My friend Preston in Arkansas told me about it. Levinson did in-depth research with men in four different walks of life, over an extended period, and discovered that we go through a transition about every ten years. Each transition has its own tasks, and if we don't complete the tasks of one transition, we may have a hard time during the next one. That explained to me why some men have a crisis around age 30-35, others at 40-45, and still others in their 50s.

Whether you are in a midlife transition or not, I recommend this book just to learn more about life.

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In a courtroom, from a sharp laywer:
Q: How was your first marriage terminated?
A: By Death.
Q: And by whose death was it terminated?

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Got your copy of Picking Up The Burning Feather yet? It will help you on your spiritual journey.

Just go to Picking Up The Burning Feather: A Spiritual Guide For Midlife Men.

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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 , and follow the instructions.

Enjoy!

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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.

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Classifieds


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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I Need Your Questions and Feedback!

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

Just email your suggestions and/or questions to noel@midlife-men.com . I look forward to hearing from you. And thanks.

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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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