Happy Birthday Old Sailor

Dear Bloggers,

It is that time of the year again, soon there is my birthday to celebrate and year 42 is there (that is 15.340 days).
Like every year the discussion starts what should we get you this year.
And funny enough the answer is already there, like always.

This year I get a bunch of flowers as the real thing comes later. But when it comes to surviving middle age, sometimes a man has to lose his bearings to find his way

Ever since Erik Erikson coined the term "midlife crisis" more than 30 years ago, male melancholy around halftime has been poked and prodded. The skeptics believe that the 40s funk is just a self-fulfilling prophecy for self-indulgent guys.
And given all the therapeutic silliness that gets sold as midlife fixes, it's tempting to treat the male willies as a psycho-bunch. Bad idea. Male midlife crisis is a time-honored trough, described by Dante and Shakespeare.

"There are multiple paths through midlife crisis,"at least that is what the experts say. Each man's journey is unique, shaped by his history and his hopes, his relationships, his blood pressure, and the angle of his dangle.
To be sure, the intensity of the midlife passage varies greatly. For some men, it's a dark ordeal that includes depression and is best navigated with a doctor's help. For most, it's a less perilous, but still demanding, midcourse correction. But whether the midlife transit is traumatic or just tricky, self-medication with bourbon is a bad plan, and nobody is served by pretending we're too tough to have troubles.

Our goal is to come through middle life as better men. Sure, we'll be a tick less quick off the dribble, and yes, we'll need to rely on others once in a while. But we'll also be wiser, calmer, stronger of spirit, and even more attractive to women of all ages. There are no perfect routes to your best older self. But we asked experts and some men we admire for guiding thoughts will ease the transit.

The midlife stew often starts with some garden-variety boredom. If you've been hoeing the same row for 20 years, only an idiot wouldn't wonder if there aren't some more interesting rows somewhere else. On top of it, we often get our first bolt of serious bad news: the death of a parent, trouble in a marriage, a career setback.

Often, come our 40s, some undeniable facts start eroding the dubious pillars on which we've built our notion of a man.
Remember Tolstoy's wisdom that "all happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
"The sadness of growing old is part of becoming an individual," and "The spirit finds an opening in the brokenness."

Express yourself, with anger. Nobody is suggesting that every hostile thought should get fired across the port bow. We've got to live together. But part of becoming a fully grown man is saying what's on your mind, respectfully, without rancor, straight up, no ice. But when the mortgage payment isn't at risk, it might help to be ever-so-slightly less eager to please. Speak your piece. Conflict is rarely catastrophic; it's just the sound of life happening.

Nope, sorry, this is not permission to act on those frisky feelings about Fiona from finance; just a reminder that the routinization of life saps our energy. Seek new tastes. Try new foods. Try reading a book, maybe two, maybe even one written by a woman. Or better yet, by a Latina woman. Get respectful of legends in areas other than war, and money. You're bored because you haven't learned anything new since the day you graduated from school.

Take up a new sport. Any new skill or competence -- cooking, gardening, carpentry, car care, golf, guitar, or origami -- makes the spirit more receptive. Get outside. Walk in the woods or even down your street at dusk or dawn. There is consolation in nature, inspiration in angles of light.

The Ferrari won't help. Nor will that teinted driver. There's no talismanic cure. "We deny our own sense of failure," says Levinson, "by using narcissistic pleasures as a device for reassurance." The only answer, wrote Jung, is to turn directly toward the approaching darkness and "find out what it wants from you."

The Old Sailor,


  1. Goedemorgen Old Sailor,

    Bijna feest dus,
    Ik wil nooit cadeautjes voor m'n verjaardag,
    ik geef liever dan dat ik wat krijg,
    vind het altijd wel erg leuk als iedereen komt,

    Alvast een hele fijne verjaardag gewenst,
    en een heel fijn weekend,
    groetjes que.

  2. Geachte vrouwe Que,
    Dank voor uw reactie.
    Uw omschrijft precies hoe ik over het verjaardagsfeest denk. Ik heb dan ook niet zoveel te wensen. Een dak boven mijn hoofd en paar "meestal" lieve kinderen is voor mij al genoeg.

    The Old Sailor,


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