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Table of Contents

Section One: Planting Ideas

A. Assessing Your Situation

  • 1. Finding the Weak Link In Your Chain From The Sun To The Bank …….1
  • 2. What's at Risk in a Two Generation Farm?
  • 3. Figuring Out When It Is Time To Quit
  • 4. Do You Have A "Millionaire Marriage"?
  • 5. The Third Life
  • 6. Can Your Marriage Pass the Love Lab Test?
  • 7. Your Mother Made You Do It
  • 8. Where Your Farm Ends and Your Life Carries On

B. Adjusting to Change

  • 1. Managing Sudden Change ……………………………………13
  • 2. Financial Stress Can Make You Do All The Wrong Things
  • 3. Are You Depressed, and Don't Know It?
  • 4. Difficult People
  • 5. Are You A 'Used To' Person?
  • 6. Be Kind To Your Spouse
  • 7. Would You Rather Die than Change?

C. Creating Good Communication

  • 1. Have You Talked To Your Wife About Money Lately? …………………….22
  • 2. Why It's Hard To Think In A 'Hot' Situation
  • 3. We Don't Talk About That
  • 4. Three Magic Words For Conversations With Your Wife
  • 5. Be Careful How You Talk … Words Have Power
  • 6. The Magic of "I" Statements
  • 7. Why Middle Aged Mars Doesn't Listen To Aging Venus
  • 8. Have A Heart-To-Heart Side-By-Side
  • 9. Respect versus Love

Section Two: Growing A Quality Lifestyle

A. Planning Your Life

  • 1. A Successful Farm Transfer ………………………………………… 34
  • 2. So You Want Your Kids To Take Over the Ranch
  • 3. How To Make $1000 Per Hour
  • 4. What Will You Do With Your $100,000?
  • 5. What Do You WANT from Life?
  • 6. Planning For Long Term Care
  • 7. Planning For A Long Life

B. Taking Action

  • 1. Act on Your Dreams …………………………46
  • 2. 'Cowed Out' - Take a Sabbatical
  • 3. Protect Your Property
  • 4. Overcoming Metal Hypnosis
  • 5. How To Get Your Wife And Kids To Stop Mumbling [45]
  • 6. Short Of Money? Try Sex! [16]

Section Three: Reaping Life's Profits

A. Accepting What Is

  • 1. Are You Preparing For Take-Off, Or Landing? ……… 57
  • 2. The Problem of the Centennial Farm
  • 3. Do You Have 'The Farmer's Whine'?
  • 4. How Larry Died
  • 5. Time Of Ashes
  • 6. Accepting What Is
  • 7. An Older Man's Letter to God

B. Harvesting The Good Things

  • 1. Midlife Is When Feelings Start Rising, And That's a Good Thing … 66
  • 2. Who Says There's No Free Lunch?
  • 3. What's Your Plan For Your 30-Year Bonus?
  • 4. What Does Quality of Life Mean To you?
  • 5. Becoming More 'Generative'
  • 6. With The Men …………………………………………75


When I was younger, I used to think that by the time I reached mid age, I would have life all figured out. It would be boring, of course, but at least I wouldn't have all the fears and anxieties I had when I was just starting down the adult road.

I couldn't have been more wrong. In fact, the decade of my fifties was one of the most challenging so far. I suddenly lost energy, focus, libido, and confidence. I lost my passion for the work I had been passionate about, and I couldn't figure out what work would interest me.

I would occasionally mention these symptoms to other men my age, and discovered many of them were feeling the same way. I began to research this phenomenon and discovered it is called 'Andropause'. I found out women going through menopause experience many of the same symptoms:

  • It takes longer to recover from an injury or illness.
  • Less physical stamina.
  • Weight gain
  • Can't read small print
  • Hair loss
  • Sleep disturbances and fatigue.
  • General stiffness and soreness
  • Excessive sweating.
  • Cold hands and/or feet.
  • Irritability.
  • Indecisiveness.
  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Loss of self-confidence.
  • Loss of a sense of happiness or joy.
  • Loss of a sense of purpose or direction in life.
  • Loss of passion or interest in work.
  • Feeling lonely and unloved.
  • Forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating.

A drop in hormone production (estrogen in women, testosterone in men) is one cause of these symptoms. But another part is simply the life journey. We go through cycles, or seasons in life, just as there are seasons in nature, and cycles in the life of a farm or ranch. At midlife, we look back and evaluate what we have done, who has influenced us, and who we have become. It is a trying and puzzling time, in some ways similar to those confusing teenage years we gratefully left behind.

It is a time of reckoning, and of deciding what kind of legacy we want to leave, and what we need to do before we die. It can be tumultuous, with unknown changes in the offing. Needless to say, this transition can put heavy stress on a marriage, and be hard on the farm's bottom line.

This book is intended to provide a bit of guidance as you go through your midlife passage. It contains stories from my own journey, plus those of farm men and women I have met over the years. May you be touched, challenged, and have your funny bone tickled along the way.


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