Taking Care Approaching Nifty Fifty

Our Hope Project worker Sam shares his top tips for looking after yourself in middle age.

So, how do us men look after ourselves when we get to the ripe old age of fifty?

There are numerous things which can help us along our way and each to their own but here’s what has worked for me.

Many of us have been brought up to hide our feelings and yet I have been very lucky with this, always feeling able with other men in the family and in lasting friendships, to express feelings and holler for help when it is needed. This is a safety valve I am grateful for.

I think ‘me time’ is also a major factor but this can be played out differently according to what works for you. I am not a great couch potato and need an active ‘fortress’ that is my own. To this end I write which is often therapeutic, but more often provides an element of escapism into the imaginary world I am entering or creating. This space is untouchable and is entirely me and I am happy, hours on end composing, editing and gathering inspiration for more by reading others’ work.

I also like to keep physically active and I am lucky to have a decent level of fitness. I like to push myself, but competition remains within myself alone. Running, however, is never an obligation borne out of thinking that I should be doing something, I do it because I thoroughly enjoy it and this is a very important point. In the past, failure always met those fitness regimens borne of obligation. I can spend hours in the open air, listening to music or talking to myself (oh yes I do), usually along the Strawberry Line sometimes with long socks which makes people laugh. Of course I don’t care!

Then there is the blowout, which is in many respects the ‘teamwork’ element of taking care, though not always. This can be catching up with old friends, having a boogie at a gig, telling your best friends how much you love them when you’ve had too much juice etc This is important and serves as a release in and of itself. Alternatively having a jig in the kitchen cooking Sunday roast with The Clash ringing out works equally as well!

More generally and in summary, eat well, enjoy cooking and being at home (maybe with kids), be merry, engage with nature (I am also a keen forager) and never bottle up the things you feel.

Allow yourselves a ‘fortress’ space that is entirely you and is both an inspiration to your own life and also, at times, a refuge from it.

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