I am now in my 40's, and I have learnt that my perspective on life has changed over the years, understanding, what is important, what has changed in society, etc., and yes I do get the grumpy old man syndrome on occasions. As we age, life teaches us lessons, we understand the difference between being alive versus life. After all, one can live well, but can you say looking back that I led a good life?
Now I am not going to discuss the changes in technology etc, as I have aged, although a social media detox is useful and healthy from time to time. As it can be a source of stress, unhealthy comparisons, and needless negative opinions. However, even with out comparing myself to others, I have come to see the changes in my mind body and soul, throughout my journey in this life thus far. I have come to realise men's health is important and that, at my age 40+ I need to be concerned about all aspects of my health, whether it be physical health, mental health issues, or spiritual healing and wellbeing.
When I was younger, I had asthma, but I learnt to manage that well with breathing techniques. Other wise I was fit and kept in good health, I had a sharp brain, enthusiasm, and ambition. Then life happens. Yes, I had promotions in my jobs as a civil savant, had girl friends, then fiancés etc. Then the marriage, career progressions and success as a nurse, senior nurse manager, regional trainer, preacher, public speaker, owned my own home, had a beautiful child, and a reasonable marriage etc..
Then came the "acute stress episode" (breakdown), divorce, loss of house, wife etc. Eventually, after 2 serious episodes, I was diagnosed with endogenous depression, I lost all my savings, lost my "mojo", for life, felt like I had failed, could not do anything right, even did things that I knew were contrary to my teachings as a Christian. I really had reached a low point, suicide was never far away in my thoughts.
Since that point, and now, I have remarried, to a wonderful woman who has helped me to open up, she doesn't push to give answers, she simply listens and encourages me. I have had to be honest with her, even when I have let her down, when I have had bad thoughts, and dark days, when I have made choices that some may call bad decisions, and counterproductive actions etc. Had I not been open with her during these occasions, and we had not talked honestly, I had not apologised, sought forgiveness, I do believe she would not be with me today. Physically, I have my health issues, early onset Osteoarthritis, Asthma, eczema/sensitive skin, food intolerances. However, I have learned to manage these conditions rather than letting them manage me. I no longer worry about the six pack stomach, because I am loved for who I am, by all those I care for. Yes I am keeping as healthy as I can, managing my weight, diet etc. after all those are sensible lifestyle choices, rather than being an obsession or my primary focus. With regards to my mental health issues, having the correct diagnosis and understanding it, has helped me to avoid, manage, and look after myself during difficult circumstances and situations.
I have to admit it has taken me a long time to get to this point in life, where I feel more in control, and more relaxed about who I am. I have given up nursing, after being in a senior management role (despite concerns from family, due to stress factors, but as usual, I was too ambitious), and when I made a few errors in judgement as a manager, due to the stress effects on my mental health, I knew it time was to take a break. So i left nursing after 20+yrs, it was hard at first, as i identified as a nurse, rather than Me whose job was nursing. I have, however, found talking to like minded individuals on Twitter, family, and writing these blogs have helped. I have now realised that what I thought as a younger man, was incorrect, and that it is not a weakness to talk about feelings, thoughts (good or dark), desires etc., but rather a strength. #TimeToTalk #MensMentalHealth Hence, I have now set up the a Men's health Discussion Forum https://www.discusslife.net/forum
Another factor that effected my health and well being, was my spiritual journey. I have always been brought up in a Christian home, I became a Christian at the age of 11yrs and even studied theology for 3 yrs. However, like any other relationship, one's spiritual healing, comes from an open faith in love. My excuse was, because of life factors, ambition, mental health issues etc, I have had a fluid, variable spiritual journey that resulted in me seeing darkness, in myself, in others and this world. Some of this was by own hand and choices I made, sometimes this was a result of, the influence of others. However, one thing I do know, that despite those dark times, my mistakes, my choices, and my footsteps I have taken, I know my spiritual journey is still ongoing. I believe not only in the love, and forgiveness, and support of my wife but, also, that of my God. After all a relationship with God is like any other, it takes time, tolerance, acceptance, and discussion, learning how to pray etc, to develop and grow.
So being in my midlife era, so to speak, have I learnt a lot, Yes. Will I make the same choices again, I hope and pray, No. Do I still have anything to learn, Most definitely Yes. Life is a journey, it is a school of constant learning. In ten years from now will I have changed, of course, because I want to. As for now, I am who I am, and I am content with that, as I m a better, wiser, more willing to learn man than I used to be.
Talking of learning, anyone know how I an post this on snapagram thing? ;-)