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The Last Issue Of The Men's Wisdom Newsletter
December 31, 2008

Midlife Wisdom For Men Issue #119, December 31, 2008

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This Is The Last Issue Of The Men's Wisdom Newsletter

It's A Good Time To Travel

What's Your Dream?

As this is my last newsletter, it is a bit longer than usual. There are about 1700 words in the articles in this issue, which should take you about five minutes to read.

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Written by Noel McNaughton
Midlife-Men.com
(c) copyright 2008 midlife-men.com

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This Is The Last Issue Of The Men's Wisdom Newsletter

I have been writing this newsletter every other week for a number of years, and have decided this, being the last of 2008, will be the last one altogether. My apologies to those who just subscribed recently, especially during the past week!

I just turned 63 on December 21st, and no longer feel 'middle aged'. I haven't forgotten the turmoil of my midlife transition, and have written about it on my website, and in these newsletters over the years, but it no longer feels as fresh in my mind as it did a while ago.

I find my energy is moving toward the transition to elderhood (as opposed to simply becoming elderly), and I may even start another website on that topic.

Although this is my last newsletter, I will still be adding to my website. I am planning a blog with an RSS feed. You can download an 'RSS aggregator', and get the latest blog entry automatically when you check the aggregator. Here are some of the most popular aggregators: Live Bookmarks (this is my favourite, because I use Firefox); Bloglines; My Yahoo; Google Reader.

I am also going to be adding a 'Content 2' section to some of the pages at midlife-men.com, such as the Men's Stories' page, where you can add your own story, and see what other visitors to the site have to say about their own midlife journeys. I expect to have these changes added by the end of January.

I hope you will continue to visit the site, and to add your own comments from time to time.

All the best in 2009!

Noel

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On New Year's Eve, Marilyn stood up in the local pub and said that it was time to get ready. At the stroke of midnight, she wanted every husband to be standing next to the one person who made his life worth living.

Well, it was kind of embarrassing. As the clock struck - the bartender was almost crushed to death.

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It's A Good Time To Travel

It has been cold here in Alberta (-20 to -35 C) for the past few weeks, and it is getting tiresome. I know many other areas have been getting colder than usual weather as well. It would be nice to go somewhere warm.

Well guess what? If the economic meltdown hasn't hit you too hard, now is the time to go.

Travel to many winter vacation destinations is down considerably, and there are bargains to be found. Elizabeth and I are going to the Dominican Republic for ten days as of January 1, and will be staying at a five star all inclusive resort for 50% of the normal rate!

We heard from a friend that there were deals to be had, so I checked a few search engines, and booked the trip.

Here are a few search engines to check if you want to book your own trip: Priceline.com (this site even allows you to name a price, and see whether you get it. I booked a rental car for a trip to Arizona, and got it 30% below the best rate found online.); Imaginative Traveller; Sell off Vacations; Book It (this is the site I booked our Dominican hotel through. After I had determined where I wanted to stay, I called their very helpful customer service desk at 1-888-782-9722 (I am not sure if this works outside of North America), and did the booking. NOTE: to get the best deals, be prepared to pay in advance.)

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A New Year's Wish

May your hair, your teeth, your face-lift, your abs and your stocks not fall; and may your blood pressure, your triglycerides, your cholesterol, your white blood count and your mortgage interest not rise.

May you get a clean bill of health from your dentist, your cardiologist, your gastro-endocrinologist, your urologist, your proctologist, your podiatrist, your psychiatrist, your plumber and the IRS.

May what you see in the mirror delight you, and what others see in you delight them.

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What's Your Dream?

One thing I have found in coaching people in midlife, is they almost invariably have a dream of what they would like to do some day. It might be a trip, or a community project, learning a skill or helping in a third world country.

They realize time is moving on, but they don't have any kind of plan to carry out their dreams. They are putting it off until 'they get time' or 'they can afford it'. They don't realize that most of their dreams are far easier to achieve than they think, and what is needed is some concrete planning.

Europe on a Shoestring

One farm couple's dream was to visit Europe, and to see some organic farms. They had switched to organic production six years before I met them, and wanted to see how others did it. They put off planning the trip because they assumed it would be too expensive. I challenged them to make their dream a reality, and within 8 months they had taken the trip. They got creative and found a couple of ways to save a lot of money:

- a friend of theirs was a business executive who travelled a lot and had more air mile points than he could use. They traded some grass-finished organic beef for enough of his air miles to get round trip tickets.

- they connected with some organic farms in Europe through The International WWOOF Association (World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) and arranged to volunteer their time on a number of organic farms in exchange for room and board. They saw a lot of country, learned a tremendous amount about organic farming and met some very interesting people on a budget of less than half what they had anticipated. It's amazing what a little research, open-mindedness and creativity can do.

Some have just given up...

Some of the people I talk to have given up their dreams so long ago that they don't even know what they are any more. Many were told so often by well-meaning parents and other adults when they were kids that their dreams were unrealistic, they just forgot about them.

Sometimes they still remember their dreams, but have given up on ever achieving them. When I ask, they say something such as: "Oh, I used to think I wanted to ("travel to China", "learn to fly", "become a cabinet maker", or you name it....), but ("its really not practical", "I could never do it", "I'm too old now" "I can't afford it", or any of a number of other reasons).

If I challenge their assumptions about why they can't carry out their dreams, they often begin to realize they have simply been telling themselves the same stories their parents told them long ago, and maybe the stories were not true. I can hear the energy in their voices rise as they begin to think about ways they might carry it off. From there, it is mainly a matter of commitment and planning.

Are you starting to think about 'how little time you have left'?

If you are starting to feel a bit of anxiety about how much time you have left, and you have some dreams or personal goals you have yet to achieve, this might be a good time to make a plan. After all, it is the beginning of a new year.

Don't know what your dreams are any more? Here is a simple exercise I use to help people get in touch with what really matters to them:

Write down the answers to these three questions. Don't ponder them. Just write down what comes to you. Do this for about 2 minutes per question.

1. If you knew you were going to suddenly die in 5 years, how would you live til then?

2. If you knew you were going to suddenly die in 6 months, how would you live til then?

3. If you found out you were going to drop dead in 24 hours, what would you regret not having done?

Once you have answered the questions, start planning to do the important things that showed up.

One of the very best direct marketing advertisements I ever saw was back in the 1970s for a book called "Lazy Man's Way To Riches", by Joe Karbo. The last line of the ad said something like "Six months from now, you could be on your way to living the life you have always dreamed of, or you could just be six months older. You decide."

That edgy feeling you have about getting to the end of your journey might be trying to tell you something. Pretty soon you'll be six months older anyway.

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Here is another exercise you might find useful:

Its five years from today. Answer these questions in the present tense: (for example, it is 2014, I am 48 years old.)
1. Your age (I am _____ years old.)
2. The ages of your spouse and children
3. What you are doing for a living.
4. What recreational/social activities you are participating in.
5. Where you are living. What kind of accommodations you have.
6. Who the most important people in your life are.
7. What lifetimes dreams/objectives you have accomplished in the previous five years.
8. What you did the previous five years to achieve those dreams/objectives.
9. Any obstacles/logjams you had to overcome in order to achieve your dreams.
10 any attitudes/beliefs you had to change in order to achieve your dreams.

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One New Year's Eve, two babies were born in a big city hospital. They laid beside each other in their bassinets for a few days, then their parents took them to their respective homes and they never saw each other again until 84 years later, when they both ended up in the same ward, on their death beds.

One turned to the other and said: "Well, what did you think?"

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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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