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Ten tips on Finding Your Passion at Midlife
August 30, 2005

Midlife Wisdom For Men Issue #041, August 31, 2005

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

· Are You A Frustrated Singer?

· Ten tips on Finding Your Passion at Midlife

· Book Review: The Elder Within


Written by Noel McNaughton (c) copyright 2005


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Welcome to this issue of Midlife Wisdom for Men.

I am an average guitar player, and an ok singer, and there are few things I like more in life than jamming and singing. That is one reason it makes me sad to see people who don't think they can sing. If you are one, read on.

I will be going to the Elders conference put on by a group of New Warriors ( in Bedford, Indiana in October. I believe we are called to Elderhood as we move through midlife, and our world really needs some Elder energy right now. I have reviewed a book I am finding useful in this issue.

Hope you find this newsletter interesting and useful.

There are about 1250 words in the articles in this newsletter, which may take about four minutes to read.



Are You A Frustrated Singer?

At a men's gathering a couple of years ago I met a man who was sure he could not sing. We were sitting around jamming and singing old-time songs, and I suggested he join in.

"Oh no", he said, "I can't sing".

"How do you know?" I asked.

"My music teacher in elementary school told me I couldn't carry a tune. She told me, when the class was singing, that I should just mouth the words."

I encouraged him to join in the singing anyway, and it turned out his voice was just fine. He carried a tune as well as the next guy, and once he found out he actually could sing, had a lot of fun.

I have met a depressing number of men over the years who have been told the same thing by music teachers. The problem isn't that the people can't carry a tune, but that the teacher doesn't know how to teach.

My mother-in-law gets Christmas letters from a friend name Robert Hooper in Calgary who teaches singing. Here is an excerpt from the last letter:

"I have two men (both have grown up families) who take singing lessons together on Saturday morning. One of them already sang but had never had lessons. The other was what is commonly called tone deaf, or a monotone, whose wife paid for a month's singing lessons to see if anything could be done for him.

It has turned out to be a very happy experience for both of them. At the first lesson I played notes in a easy range and sure enough, what the tone deaf man sang in response was not near to what the piano was sounding. But after some explanation of the mental process required to sing a pitch that you hear, he sang the note in tune. Then I recorded individual notes played on the piano, and then exercises followed by song melodies so that he could play the tape and practice at home. Progress was good and after about three months the problem was cured. He has a baritone voice, the man who could already sing is a tenor, and they are working on a duet together."

A friend of mine recently retired, and although he had never been told he couldn't carry a tune, he had never really considered singing as a pastime. He saw an ad in a continuing education calendar for a choral singing group, and thought it might be fun. Turns out he has a beautiful bass voice, and is having a lot of fun singing with the group. Elizabeth and I went to one of their concerts, and it was great.

Are you a frustrated singer? Did some bone-headed teacher tell you to just mouth the words way back in elementary school? Would you love to sing if you only ‘could'? Chances are you can!

Maybe it's time to step out a little… get some singing lessons, and add a whole new dimension to your life.


On a church door: This is the gate of Heaven. Enter ye all by this door. (This door is kept locked because of the draught. Please use side entrance.)


Ten Tips on Finding Your Passion at Midlife

Elizabeth sent me this list a year or so ago from Rachel Green newsletter, and saved it. Ms Green ( is a speaker and coach from Australia. I thought these tips would be good to use at anytime, but especially during midlife. Here they are...

Midlife is about what's important, about following your passion, about following your dreams. So here are 10 tips on how to find your passion.

What are your strengths? Write down what your strengths are. Are you using them?

Advertise Yourself Write an advert on yourself for a personal column. All those glowing adjectives about yourself - are they obvious in the way you live your life at the moment?

Notice what you do in life Monitor the things you do in your life and notice which things leave you feeling good about yourself and which leave you drained or down. Work out ways to do more of the former and less of the latter.

If you won the Lotto Ask yourself - if I won the Lotto tomorrow what would I do differently in my life? Now find ways to do it without winning.

Happiness Ask yourself - what would really make me happy? Find ways to do it.

Do the important things Ask yourself - if you only had 2 more years to live, what would you most want to do. Find ways to do it now. Don't keep putting the important things off.

Keep a list Ask your friends and family what things they think you're really good at. Keep a list. Then look at your life and work out whether you are using your strengths and if not, work out how to.

Hold onto your dreams What did you always dream of doing as a child, around the age of six or seven. Have you done those things? If not, can you still do them?

Values What values did you support as a teenager - were you active in a political party, a social group, in wanting to do voluntary service overseas - what? Did you continue to support those values? If not, would they still be important now?

How do you want to be remembered? Decide what you'd like your epitaph to say and make sure your life allows that to happen! Be passionate, have a purpose, do what's important and happiness will come to you.


At a Towing company: "We don't charge an arm and a leg. We want tows."


Interesting Book: The Elder Within – The Source of Mature Masculinity by Terry Jones, BookPartners Inc., 2001

I am finding this book pretty interesting. In many traditional cultures when a man reaches his late forties or early fifties, he goes through a ritual of induction into elderhood. According to the Cree tradition, there are seven stages in life, and the seventh is 'Teaching' (passing what you have learned on to the next generation, which is one function of elderhood.) I have felt pulled toward the exploration of elderhood for the past while, so am actively exploring it.

There is a difference between being an elder, and simply being elderly. We all know many men who have simply gotten old, and are not particularly generative in the way they live. Here is a quote from the book:

The move away from the doingness of our earlier years into the beingness of the second half of life does not mean that elders are passive. Being is a calling to the being in others, a resonance with others. Elder being is a state of accessibility and a passion for celebration of long life's experience, service, and an inner intimacy with your eternal spirit. Elder being is an understanding of mortality, the spiritual journey and an earnest concern for the quality of life on this planet. Elder being is a restoration of ancient man's uncontrollable commitment to cultivating and sowing the next generation - from the heart.

Curious about elderhood? Read The Elder Within


On a Plumber's truck: "Don't sleep with a drip. Call your plumber"


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.


On a Plastic Surgeon's Office door: "Hello. Can we pick your nose?"


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.



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.



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

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