Recently, someone asked if I had written a book to encourage men to avoid the decline oriented traditional retirement lifestyle. I’ve often thought about it, but what I have written for women generally applies to men – with two things that apply primarily to men.
Number 1: Men don’t want to appear to be a “sissy” about their health
In general, men do not take care of their health as conscientiously as women do. They are getting better at it but many tend to wait for “something” to happen and then reluctantly go to their physician hoping for a quick fix. Better late than never, of course, but the “something” that prompted the doctor visit might have been averted if early on an “anti-aging” program had been followed. How well you take care of your health while you still got it goin’ on is an indication of what can be expected in later years.
A traditionally trained physician may know something about staying healthy but a man’s best bet is a naturopath.
Why a naturopath? Because they have more tools to work with than traditional physicians whose tool kit is probably limited to drug company remedies. Yes, naturopaths can and do prescribe drug company medications when necessary but they take a more common sense approach to healing and staying well.
For example, a commercial on TV encourages men who are dragging their wagon to see their doctor about “Low T” which is testosterone. A man who is proactive about his health won’t need a “Low T” fix because his naturopathic doctor has undoubtedly been testing his hormone levels on a consistent basis and adjusting hormone needs accordingly, so instead of dragging his wagon he’s running like a Ferrari.
Midlife women do not hesitate to see their doctor for hormone realignment – it should be just as “normal” for men to do the same.
More than hormone tweaks, a naturopath uses a variety of tests to evaluate and provide nutritional guidance, and if the advice is followed, there is no reason why a man at age 65 can’t be as healthy and vital as he was at 35.
Number 2: The relationship consideration
If at retirement a man is in a relationship, how his partner wants to live will determine what happens to him (and them).
If a man’s partner is looking forward to moving to a retirement community where playing golf is a way of life, but he still has a fire in his belly and wants to start a new business, there will be trouble in paradise. Nevertheless, if the relationship is satisfactory, to keep her happy, chances are he will put aside his plans and do whatever she wants to do. Things may be great for the first couple of years but eventually, he tires of the unchallenging daily routine and starts to experience signs of boredom-induced decline –while she is still swinging clubs. If he has not been proactive about his health and his testosterone is just about depleted, can you say “grumpy old man”?
Bottom line: How well a man does in retirement depends on how well he maintains his mental and physical health, and if he has a partner, whether or not the partner supports his long-term goals.
So, it’s pretty much the same for men and women. You have to stay in the game – obey the rules it takes to win, and play as hard as you can for as long as the game lasts with no time-out for traditional retirement.
By Barbara Morris