Life begins at 50 for Men – but begins to what?

Life Ends at 50It used to be said that life begins at 40 but not any more! Now the general consensus is that life begins at 50, or older, thanks (or not), to increased longevity. But what does it all mean?

One of our polls gaged midlife satisfaction – veiw poll here. The results tell us that life in general is not all that hunky-dory for a lot of middle-aged guys. So perhaps the true meanings for these somewhat flippant sayings should read: “Life begins to go downhill – fast – at 50!”

It all Depends on Attitudes and Outlook – doesn’t it?

This is not meant to be a negative post, but we do feel it’s important to be realistic and point out the rough with the smooth. One recent contributor to a blog post here on 50ish.org could see little point is living much older than 50 years. Could he have a point?

He firmly believes that middle age is the most stressful and unrewarding period in a man’s life. He wrote quite a bit on his views but we’ve listed below the general gist of what he said:

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RIP 50 TombstoneWhy Life Ends at 50 – IMHO

  • You want to live longer than 50! For what exactly?
  • Death begins at fifty
  • Health complications start to kick in.
  • You’re constantly caring for elderly relatives.
  • You start outliving your savings.
  • Everything that was ‘good’ starts to go downhill.

Is a Middle-aged Man Really Surplus to Society?

Any middle-aged bloke that has a good job, a happy extended family, to include kids, grandchildren, in-laws, a contented marriage, and so on, will read the above and think to himself; “What a load of old baloney!” But is he typical or an exception to the rule. After all, we know that unemployed men of a certain age find it really hard to get back into work, especially in their preferred field of expertise, and that alone can demoralise the best of us.

“May you live to be so old that your driving terrifies people.”

Suicide is no laughing Matter!

Men, of all ages, are 4 times more likely to take their own lives than women. But for some reason this peaks in middle age. In the UK alone, a study published in 2012 by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reported that suicide rates are climbing among middle-aged males and the trend is rising, much to the bafflement of researchers.

If you are concerned about your mental wellbeing, please visit the 50ish Forum where we have a list of Health Resources for Middle-aged Men and an ongoing thread on Male Suicides.

Middle-aged Men are their own worst Enemy!

Middle-aged man hangingWe call it convenience food but it’s really just junk grub that lacks nutrition and is packed with fats, salt, and sugar. What this means is that a lifetime of eating this crap has meant many middle-aged fellas are not the shape – or in shape – the way they would like to have been at this stage in their life. Being fat, or clinically obese, doesn’t exactly make a man feel good about himself, yet still he continues to live how he’s always lived.

Note: Western men should weigh somewhere between 70 and 80 kg, depending on build. Anything over this can, and most definitely will, eventually take its toll on muscles, bones, and joints. It’s surprising how many guys are unaware of these facts! Do you know your BMI?

How you feel at Middle Age often Starts in Childhood

When a young boy starts life with weight and fitness issues, it becomes very difficult for him transform into a fit and healthy man by the time he reaches mid-life. Adults, unlike children, understand the real dangers of being in poor shape. What’s more, they’re aware of what they need to do in order to change the way they are (unless a medical condition prevents it). Sadly though, most men don’t bother, and this adds to their rapid health decline as they grow older.

“Middle age is like everything else: to make a success of it, you’ve got to start young”.

So those men who have eaten junk food for as far back as they can remember, rarely exercised, drank more alcohol that is considered within the ‘safe limits’ and smoked tobacco for years on end, can only expect their life to start going down hill at age 40 or 50, unless of course they make some drastic changes to lifestyle – and fast!

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The Good Life begins to what – at 40 or 50?

Optimists still believe that the ‘good life’ begins at 40, or 50, yet according to medical health campaigners, this is the time when everything really does start to go rapidly downhill from a health perspective, especially among men who have neglected themselves for a lifetime. It’s estimated that over 40 percent of the over-40s in developed nations let themselves go. But it really doesn’t have to be this way, not if the man totally commits himself to a lifestyle change.

“At my age my back goes out more than I do.”

Here’s what the Optimists say:

  • We become more assertive and confident with age.
  • 80 percent say they are now more adventurous about life.
  • Kids have grown up left home.
  • There’s the joy of being grandparents.
  • More free time to pursue activities
  • Most of us are financially better off

Both the negative and positive lists could go on forever. It really does depend on the individuals, their health situation, and how they perceive life in general. One thing we know for sure here at 50ish.org, is that it’s good to talk with like-minded others. The camaraderie found in chat rooms incites men to open up, swap ideas, make new friends, and learn new things.

The sole purpose of the 50ish project is to provide a website for middle-aged men that helps them get more out of life by offering a kind of virtual pub. A place to read topical articles, interact in forums, and benefit from a wealth of experience from other visitors and members.

If you have something to add to this post, please leave your comments below, or, start/join a conversation in the 50ish interactive forums.

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By Toby Strowger | 50ish Site Contributor
Toby Strowger is a men’s lifestyle writer for 50ish.org

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Article Published and formatted by Andy Aitch – Webmaster of 50ish.org
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