Two by Two

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The last couple of times I spoke, I have had men come up to me and say, “You know we are aging, too! Why don’t you talk about us?” Well, of course it’s true! We are all aging from the day we are born, men and women. I always thought men had an easier time with it, but I now see it is tough for them in different ways! I think that the top problem for men is the loss of their identity once they stop working in their field. Now in retirement, it is time for them to find another source of identity.

In their old lives, they had assistants to do their phoning and their planning. They had co-workers to question and discuss projects. Now they are in a foreign land, alone, and expected to do all of this themselves. It’s difficult. Because we are living longer men also need to find new passions and new ways to express themselves.

My husband gave me his list of things that bothered him about aging and I loved it! He said as men grow older the inability to compete is one the hardest things to deal with in business and in sports. How profound! He misses his memory, who doesn’t? The ease to drive at night, and get this, putting on his socks easily with a back problem, is challenging. Unfortunately for all of us, we need to accept and adjust and move on.

As women we find aging a little bit easier in those departments. We have always had more identities than men. For instance we are mothers, we work , we are caretakers, etc. We know that we have to keep our minds active. We know we must find “firsts” to keep relevant. We need to realize men are having the same problems. Let’s have empathy for men with the losses age brings them because their whole identity was in their work.

Firsts are hard to find in your 70’s and 80’s and 90’s but they are there, and they are really necessary! They are like needles in a haystack but worth finding. I started Tai Chi last year for the first time. My husband started Pilates. Both firsts. I spoke to a group in Santa Barbara and I heard a 92 year old woman started Yoga. The point is you are never too old to look for and follow your dreams.

I find there are four simple rules to live in a Healthspan instead of a Lifespan, for both men and women: 1) exercise, 2) keep your brain active, 3) eat well, and 4) stay socialized. To stay socialized is just as important as eating the right foods. That’s why married people stay alive longer than single people. If you don’t have a significant other or family in your life, keep friends nearby and see them for a lunch, a walk, or dinner. After all is said and done, a laugh between friends is the best medicine for men and women alike.

Let’s help each other in this new territory of aging with love, empathy and above all, humor!