middle age

The 10 Must-Dos of Middle Age for Men

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When I was in my twenties, my siblings and I were spending time with our older cousins. Our oldest cousin had just turned 44 and all of us were making fun of his age. At one point my sister wanted to make him feel better and said, “You know, you’re really just halfway through your life. Now you have the entire second half to enjoy.” Sarcastically, I responded, “Yeah, you’re a middle-aged man. Isn’t that great?!”

It’s hard to believe that now I am the one in my forties. I don’t know about you, but I never thought I would be middle-aged. For some reason, I don’t feel as old as how I perceived people in their forties and fifties to be when I was younger. But I have discovered that it’s a great time to take an inventory of our lives and make improvements. After all, there is a lot of life to live. Here are 10 must-dos of middle-aged men.

1. Make your health a priority.

Eating right, exercising, and responding well to stress all go a long way to determine midlife vibrancy. Start small, perhaps with a couple of push-ups when you get up in the morning. Gradually add more and more each day. When you feel yourself getting stressed, stop and breathe. Then reengage and be proactive with the things you can control.

2. Take a break.

The pace of life leaves a lot of us frazzled. We need to escape from time to time. Take a spontaneous trip with your wife. Play “hooky” and spend the day having fun. Escape into your favorite music or novel.

Be determined to discover one new thing about the world every day.

3. Learn new things.

Be determined to discover one new thing about the world every day. Two things I have never known anything about are home and auto repair. I have committed myself to learning both and have been loving it.

4. Make a pilgrimage.

Many men harbor a burning desire to explore, challenge limits, engage in a quest, and redefine who they are. What’s your ultimate pilgrimage? What does your soul want to experience? A mission trip helping people in the third world, visiting the country your ancestors came from, or perhaps something else? Answer these questions and start planning.

5. Become a mentor.

Success, mistakes, joy, and heartbreak—you’ve experienced them all and that knowledge can help young people. We can teach, volunteer, encourage, and listen. The only skill necessary is the courage to step up.

6. Discover your purpose.

Sometimes life can grow stagnant, a repetitive loop in the same endless circle disconnected and barely making do. Such thoughts can lead to depression, alcohol abuse, marital troubles, and more. I believe we are each created with gifts and abilities that can serve a great purpose in this world. What mark could you leave on the world?

7. Avoid tragic mistakes.

There are many common pitfalls—cheating, over-reaching financially, walking away from people or jobs we’re invested in, giving in to despair. Win early. Don’t even put yourself in a position to be tempted.

8. Take leadership responsibility.

Take initiative and responsibility for something. There are places that need your leadership right now. Find them and step up.

9. Be grateful.

We all fail when it comes to recognizing our blessings. In business, it’s imperative to take stock. The same goes for our personal lives.

10. The past is gone.

We don’t reach midlife without trauma. Struggles in life shape us. It can build character or destroy it, leaving bitterness and heartache. The past is a resource, but the future is where hope lives.

Sound off: What are you doing to improve your life?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is something you want to learn this week?”