Back to Back Issues Page
Midlife Wisdom for Men Newsletter Issue #027, February 1, 2005
February 01, 2005

Helping Men Navigate Midlife Transitions.


Written by Noel McNaughton
(c) copyright 2004


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


Issue #027, February 1, 2005

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

Why Is Midlife So Often A Crisis?

Could There Be A Website In Your Future?

Is Midlife Irritability Made Worse By Cell Phones?


Welcome to this issue of Midlife Wisdom for Men. And a special welcome to the new subscribers this week. Hope you find this newsletter interesting and useful.

Preston Sullivan, in the last newsletter, mentioned the book The Seasons of a Man's Life, which I had not read. I borrowed it from the library and am finding it very interesting.

During the 1960s, Levinson and his research team at Yale selected forty men from four different walks of life (executives, workers, biologists and novelists) and interviewed them extensively, over a number of years, about their lives.

Levinson concluded we men go through a transition about every ten years. Each transition takes about five years, and there is a five-year 'settling in' period between transitions. I will write more about these transitions in future newsletters. In this one, I have included a bit about why the 'midlife transition' (age 40-45) is often so difficult.

Also... If you use a cell phone a lot, you might want to figure out a way to cut down. I have included a quote below from a longer article (the link to it is below as well) that describes quite thoroughly the increasing evidence that cell phones interfere with our brain functions and immune systems, not to mention our reproductive equipment! It's possible cell phones are contributing to road rage and the The Irritable Male Syndrome that psychologist Jed Diamond is seeing more of these days in his psychology practice with men.

There are 1840 words in the articles in this newsletter, which may take about seven minutes to read. I think you'll find it worth it :-)



NOTE: I am a regular monthly guest on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's AM Radio call-in program 'Wild Rose Forum', hosted by the inimitable Don Hill. The program airs locally in Alberta from 1:00 - 2:00 pm Mountain Time weekdays at 740 on the dial in Edmonton, 1010 in Calgary, and around the world on the internet at Wild Rose Forum on CBC Radio (click on #21 on the map). My next appearance is on Monday, February 7 at 1:00 Mountain time.

If you want to know what 1:00 pm Mountain time is in your time zone, go here: You can discover what time it is anywhere in the world.


From the Bottom Line Health newsletter (

Can Adding Cinnamon To Foods Lower One's Cholesterol?

Yes. A new study of 60 people with type 2 diabetes has shown that adding as little as one-quarter teaspoon of ground cinnamon to a daily diet lowers total cholesterol levels, triglycerides and LDL "bad" cholesterol -- as well as glucose levels. Helpful: Incorporate cinnamon into your diet by sprinkling it over apple sauce or breakfast cereal, or include it in savory dishes, such as braised and slow-cooked meats.

Our inside source: Mark A. Stengler, ND, naturopathic physician in private practice, La Jolla, California.


ON A KOREAN KITCHEN KNIFE: Warning keep out of children.


Why Is Midlife So Often A Crisis?

Daniel Levinson, in his 1978 book The Seasons of a Man's Life, says we go through a transition about every ten years, and each ten-year 'epoch' entails certain tasks.

Levinson labels age 40-45 the 'midlife transition', and says it is often a crisis (which not all transitions are).

Here is a quote from his book re: the midlife transition...

Every life structure necessarily gives high priority to certain aspects of the self and neglects or minimizes other aspects. This is as true of the Settling Down structure of the Thirties as of all others.

In the Mid-life Transition these neglected parts of the self urgently seek expression. A man experiences them as "other voices in other rooms" (in Truman Capote's evocative phrase). Internal voices that have been muted for years now clamor to be heard. At times they are heard as a vague whispering, the content unclear but the tone indicating grief over lost opportunities, outrage over betrayal by others, or guilt over betrayal by oneself.

At other times they come through as a thunderous roar, the content all too clear, stating names and times and places and demanding that something be done to right the balance.

A man hears the voice of an identity prematurely rejected; of a love lost or not pursued; of a valued interest or relationship given up in acquiescence to parental or other authority; of an internal figure who wants to be an athlete or nomad or artist, to marry for love or remain a bachelor, to get rich or enter the clergy or live a sensual carefree life - possibilities set aside earlier to become what he now is.

During the Mid-life Transition he must learn to listen more attentively to these voices and decide consciously what part he will give them in his life.

I made some BIG changes in my life during my midlife transition, but none of them made me feel as though I was in a crisis. In fact it was only in looking back a few years later at what I had done that I realized it had been stereotypical midlife behaviour.

I had been trying to figure out 'what I was going to do when I grew up' for many years by the time I hit forty, and I envied the men who had launched careers in their twenties and still seemed happy with their choices.

By forty I had already tried oil patch work, cross-cultural adult education, guiding and outfitting, direct marketing, and television journalism, and none of them seemed to be 'it', although I learned a lot with each of them.

By forty I had the urgent feeling that I had better figure out what my 'right livelihood' was!

At a church retreat I had a very powerful 'vision experience' where I was shown what appeared to be the Soul of the Earth. It is difficult to describe this experience, but it was as though I could see this entity with my eyes and in my mind. It was a beautiful emerald-colored presence, powerful and yet vulnerable, and I realized in the moment of this vision that we humans were abusing it.

I decided as a result of this experience that my mission would be to spend the rest of my life helping people take better care of the earth.

Acting on this mission, I had within two years quit my job, gone back to university, left my dysfunctional marriage, and established a new, and very fulfilling relationship with Elizabeth, who is now my wife of 16 years. Everything felt good and exciting. None felt like a crisis, but it had all the markings of what Levinson describes.

How about you? What 'other voices in other rooms' are you hearing? Are they vague whisperings or a thunderous roar? What can you do within your current life structure to respond? A new hobby? Become a better communicator so you can talk at a deeper level with your wife or partner about your longings and dreams? Pay more attention to your spiritual development, whether through church, prayer, meditation, coaching or retreats?

In my experience, paying attention to what is missing, or what is yet to be done is the first step on the road to a fuller, more satisfying life. It can help keep the transition from becoming a crisis. You might check my Life Mission page ( for some exercises and/or books that can help you clarify what the voices are trying to tell you. Of course I am available to coach you as well. If you would like a free 1/2-hour session to see whether coaching would be helpful, email me at

Good luck!


FROM THE 'HUH??' CORNER: In Canada, it is illegal to kill a sick person by frightening them.


Could There Be A Website In Your Future?

I believe the internet is the ideal place for people in midlife to have some fun, follow a passion, and make some extra money. That is what I am doing with the site.

I am not talking about a get-rich-quick scheme here. As with any business, it takes about 3-5 years to get it established, and build traffic. There is a formula for success on the web that most people (including web masters) don't know. It is Content->Traffic->Pre-sell->Monetize. No one understands that better than the people at SiteSell, which is why I use their web program. They provide so much guidance and so many tools that even a total neophyte can succeed. All we need to provide is 'BAM' (Brains And Motivation).

If you think it might be fun to give it a try, but have no idea what you would build a site about, check this out: SiteSell Special Link

It can be a way to 'answer a voice in another room', have some fun, and make some money as well.


Elizabeth and I saw "Shall We Dance" with Susan Sarandon, Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gere a couple of weeks ago. It is a 'midlife transition movie'. Gere's character, a lawyer who has been in the same job for twenty years, decides to take ballroom dancing lessons, without telling his wife. He is feeling kind of empty, and wants to have more fun in his life. It has great dancing, good music, and a good story line.


Is Midlife Irritability Made Worse By Cell Phones?

Dr. Neil Cherry, a biophysicist from Lincoln University in Christ Church, New Zealand, has measured accelerated aging, increased cell death and cancers caused by radio frequency microwaves from cellphones and their relay towers. With the brain's electro-chemical communications repeatedly zapped by lightning-like cellphone pulses, this Ph.D. biophysicist warns that headaches, fatigue, lethargy, nausea, dizziness, depression, arteriosclerosis and even Alzheimer's can result from frequent or prolonged calls on cell phones.

"There is also a higher incidence of cardiac problems," Cherry comments, "in terms of the timing function in hearts. You get more heart attacks and more heart disease - it has now been shown in many studies."

He has also found that cell phones can murderously modify moods. In brains and bodies seriously derailed by tiny imbalances in trace minerals and hormones, depression, suicide, anger, rage and violence can result when calcium and serotonin levels are disrupted by cellphone transmissions.

And here's some more bad news for cell phone users:

Researcher Carolanne Patton notes that "the brain reaches peak absorption in the UHF bands, right where cellular telecommunications operate." British military scientists have discovered that cellphone transmissions disrupt the brain sites for memory and learning, causing forgetfulness and sudden confusion.

Other studies show that electromagnetic signals from cellular phones reduce the ability to concentrate, calculate and coordinate complicated activities such as driving a car. Startled by $4 billion a year in extra claims among cellphone-wielding drivers, North American insurers found simply handling cell phones is not causing the 600% increase in accidents over other drivers busy shaving, applying makeup, tuning radios, taming pets, making out, pouring coffee, retrieving dropped cigarettes, talking and gesturing to passengers, or actually steering the vehicle.

Instead of just another dangerous distraction, tests conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy found that using a cell phone severely impairs memory and reaction times. "Hands-free" mobile speaker-phones cause even more crashes because they typically emit 10-times more brainwave interference than handheld units.

For all drivers dialing out on their cell phones, University of Toronto investigators report that the heightened probability of cracking up your car persists for up to 15-minutes after completing a call.

That's comparable to the risk of crashing while driving dead drunk exclaims Dr. Chris Runball, chairman of the B.C. Medical Association's emergency medical services committee. Reeling from "dial-a-collision" costs, the government of British Columbia may join England, Spain, Israel, Switzerland and Brazil in restricting or banning the use of cell phones by drivers.

(Here is the link for the whole article the excerpt above came from: I found it interesting (if somewhat alarming) reading.


"If Life is a circular path, that at its ending starts again with its beginning, then all we can do is live in as respectful and curious a way as possible while remembering that the Creator put secret gifts in us to find." - James Anthony McGuire, in Windspeaker, April, 2004


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.



If you have something you want to advertise, just send me a note at



This is a handy program that I use every day to clean my computer and keep it ticking along at top speed.

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:

  • Personal Firewall - Protect your privacy against online snoopers and hackers
  • System Cleaner - Delete old, unnecessary files that waste valuable disk space
  • File Shredder - Securely shred files and folders with military precision, so they cannot ever be recovered
  • 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

Back to Back Issues Page