Anyone got any good advice for getting through mid-life

MikeO

Active Member
I read a very interesting quote a while ago that really seems to resonate with me. It is that we spend the first half of our lives battling against the world and the second half battling against ourselves. Our first half is focused on career, building a family, buying a house, seeking status of some kind in the world, The second half is coming to terms with aging, declining health, declining energy, and the fact that we are all small specks on this planet and are only here for a short time, and that we probably have a lot less control of our lives than we believed in our youth.

This certainly seems to apply very well to me. I am now in my early 50s and the things that used to push me forward in my younger days no longer hold much interest. And in talking to my friends of a similar age, they seem to be feeling similar.

I suspect that a good portion of this site is made up of males who are middle aged or older and am wondering if anyone can share any profound discoveries that they made during this period of their life that have led to a renewed spirit for the latter part of their lives. I can't say I have any advice to offer as I seem to be struggling to find a renewed energy that will propel me into old age.

For me, consumerism no longer holds any appeal at all. As I get older I really lack any desire to buy anything. There are still needs that have to be taken care of and things that break and need to be replaced, but a bigger house, fancy car, summer home, traveling, hold no appeal. In fact, I would say I feel the opposite in that I would love to get rid of about 90 percent of the stuff I have and move to a much smaller house. I will add that I have no kids so undoubtedly changes my perspective on the world. I know that I want to move out of the city (one of the busiest in North America) to a much smaller and quieter existence, but we are stuck here until my wife retires within the next five to ten years. My favourite activity in the world is sitting on a quiet lake just staring at the water. This opportunity is very rare for me as the only nature around where I live is usually packed with other people trying to do the same thing. Last time I tried to walk to some nearby nature, I found that after forty minutes of walking, every bench and every flat surface was filled with people so I turned around and headed home angry.

My brother in law has found that hiking in nature is essential to his well being. He forces himself to drive to nature every other day and hike for a couple of hours in the woods. He does not live in the city though. I have heard others who suggest serious meditation can give that sense of well being and release from the busyness of the world. I like the idea although all my previous attempts have not been successful.

Don't want to sound like I am completely down on the world or anything. As I said I am sure much of it may be that I need a change of scenery from the busy modern city life. But I really am curious if anyone here can offer advice for getting through this strange stage of life.
 
I hit on many of your points in past few years.
I don't have any profound advise, but you need to take stock in the good and the blessings you have.
I have learned to let go of the things that trouble me and those things that I "should have done" in hind sight . This helps a lot.
I find joy in things I can..
I do believe that a certain bit of depression comes with aging.
I will second sitting on a lake shore and finding that solem zen moment.
I grew up on a dairy farm over looking one of the New York fFnger Lakes. I don't have that but I have found it every day when I have my first cup of coffee in solitude and often darkness. )
 
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JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I don't have much advice but I can tell you that you're not alone. I'm really just hitting it. The past two years are the first years in my life that I've felt my age hitting me. I didn't do the first half like many people... didn't have kids, I got married 3 years ago after a lot of different relationships that just didn't stick, good and bad. I've had a great life. And now suddenly I just feel like I want something else, that my mind is changing, that age is hitting me, and nothing I enjoyed before is feeling all that fulfilling now. I can't speak for you but I have this urge to just ditch things. Life's accumulated stuff, physically and mentally, feel like an anchor on me. I feel like I'm dragging around 45 years of needless baggage when I miss the lightness of youth. When I travel without all my stuff, I feel younger again. If you're feeling an aversion to consumerism maybe this weight of being is part of feeling down? The weight of stuff physical and emotional? Like you I enjoy few things more than sitting on a lake staring at the water (especially at sunrise). But my wife is a city person, so I'm stuck with the city stuff. Which I think is hurting my marriage but that's another thing.

But you sound like you need and want a drastic change in the complexity of life. You ask for advice but I think you're saying what you need right there. Stuff and complexity becomes a burden. We spend the first half of our lives becoming what other people expect, maybe this half we do what WE want, what we decide makes us happy? And if you have a desire to get rid of 90% of your stuff, maybe do it? Try to get something for it, but this notion that he who dies with the most toys wins, is bullshit. He who dies HAPPIEST wins.
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
I spent 13 hours looking at cars yesterday. The first 4 were roasting in the sun. The next 5 were driving a very small amount of miles, at ludicrously low speed, whole inhaling tons of nasty old hot rod exhaust. I talked to probably a couple of hundred car folks. Saw cars I hadn't seen before, experienced the new C8 Corvette.

Oh yeah, and now I know what an 800 HP engine feels like, going flat out. Scared the crap out of me, but man, did I ever feel alive!

People, fun and shared experiences. That is the secret to happiness.
 

rogerfederer

Junior Member
Mike,
Here is a great article about happiness:
Discusses Yale undergrad course; some great strategies in there.
Doug
 

MikeO

Active Member
Mike,
Here is a great article about happiness:
Discusses Yale undergrad course; some great strategies in there.
Doug

Thanks Doug

A very interesting read. I have read so much on the philosophy and psychology of happiness over the last few years that it is also somewhat of an obsession for me. I found it interesting that while many believe unhappiness is a product of modern life, even as far back as ancient Greece (and likely further back), the concepts of living a happy life are prominent in their philosophies. Stoic philosophy is an area I have taken particular interest in. It is just one of many ancient philosophies that try to explore how to live a good life.

But there is something different in my mind about mid life versus other times of our lives. I have never really believed that money, prestige, or a fancy job would make me happy. I would even say that since my happiest years were the four years I spent away at university with nothing but some clothes, a stereo, a computer, a desk, and a few books, I have known for most of my adult life that I do not want luxury at all in my life. I value my freedom over money every time. Of course, we do need some money to survive and in a sense money can be used to buy freedom to a small degree.
 

rogerfederer

Junior Member
"aging, declining health, declining energy, and the fact that we are all small specks on this planet and are only here for a short time, and that we probably have a lot less control of our lives than we believed in our youth"

when your family and friends start dying it is hard to avoid such big picture thoughts (in addition, the current state of the world is far from uplifting).

looking for personal happiness is a more achievable task than finding big picture meaning. a focus on personal happiness doesn't have to mean turning inward and/or away from the world (though it can); some find personal happiness (and meaning) through helping others, love, etc.
 

MikeO

Active Member
I don't have much advice but I can tell you that you're not alone. I'm really just hitting it. The past two years are the first years in my life that I've felt my age hitting me. I didn't do the first half like many people... didn't have kids, I got married 3 years ago after a lot of different relationships that just didn't stick, good and bad. I've had a great life. And now suddenly I just feel like I want something else, that my mind is changing, that age is hitting me, and nothing I enjoyed before is feeling all that fulfilling now. I can't speak for you but I have this urge to just ditch things. Life's accumulated stuff, physically and mentally, feel like an anchor on me. I feel like I'm dragging around 45 years of needless baggage when I miss the lightness of youth. When I travel without all my stuff, I feel younger again. If you're feeling an aversion to consumerism maybe this weight of being is part of feeling down? The weight of stuff physical and emotional? Like you I enjoy few things more than sitting on a lake staring at the water (especially at sunrise). But my wife is a city person, so I'm stuck with the city stuff. Which I think is hurting my marriage but that's another thing.

But you sound like you need and want a drastic change in the complexity of life. You ask for advice but I think you're saying what you need right there. Stuff and complexity becomes a burden. We spend the first half of our lives becoming what other people expect, maybe this half we do what WE want, what we decide makes us happy? And if you have a desire to get rid of 90% of your stuff, maybe do it? Try to get something for it, but this notion that he who dies with the most toys wins, is bullshit. He who dies HAPPIEST wins.

I get the sense that you and I are similar in many ways. The way you describe the lightness of youth versus the heaviness of the present is a perfect description of the way I feel. To me it seems like we have some life energy, like a battery that needs to be recharged every so often. When I was young, the energy was easily recharged and I felt like I could do almost anything. As I hit middle age, it feels like daily life drains all of the energy from me very early in the day just doing the basic tasks of taking care of my basic needs. I wake up with a bit of energy. I go downstairs to immediately see a pile of useless junk that I know needs some attention. Whether dishes in the sink, a leaky tap, cracked kitchen tiles, piles of my wife's clutter on the dining room table, etc. I let the dogs out back and see a carport in disrepair, cracks in the cement driveway, yardwork that needs to be done. All of the life energy for the day is gone and I haven't even done anything yet.

Like John, I have particularly noticed a difference when traveling. I went to Iceland for a week in 2007 with just a backpack. I very specifically remember how free I felt there. I also like to spend a couple of weeks at my parents house up north every summer just by myself. My wife stays home and looks after the dogs. Again, other than some clothes, nothing is with me. Two years ago I read ten books in two weeks while taking daily walks to the lake. I felt amazing and recharged, eager to come home and start fixing things around the house. Within two days of being home, all that recharged energy was gone again.

What I really like about the lightness vs heaviness analogy is that there is no baggage attached to it. I have some idea of what causes it but if I am wrong about the cause, it still fully describes how I feel. I suspect that the clutter around the house is a partial cause. Not sure I can change it to an acceptable level for me as 90 percent of it is junk my wife has accumulated over the last 20 years and she seems unwilling to part with it. I also suspect that the burden of being responsible for this 100 year old house, which will be a major source of our retirement funds when we sell it is a cause. When I am not at home, I don't think about electrical issues, plumbing issues, roofing issues, etc. So my mind can rest from this. Finally, when I get away from this over crowded, sprawling city, I can access nature and solitude at the same time. Toronto has some nature but you can't find a minute of solitude there as thousands of other people will be there. I can find solitude by locking myself in my mancave, but there is no nature there. When I am at my parents, I can take a coffee down to the lake and chances are could be the only one there. I can sit and stare for an hour and come back re-energized for the day.
 
I read a very interesting quote a while ago that really seems to resonate with me. It is that we spend the first half of our lives battling against the world and the second half battling against ourselves. Our first half is focused on career, building a family, buying a house, seeking status of some kind in the world, The second half is coming to terms with aging, declining health, declining energy, and the fact that we are all small specks on this planet and are only here for a short time, and that we probably have a lot less control of our lives than we believed in our youth.

This certainly seems to apply very well to me. I am now in my early 50s and the things that used to push me forward in my younger days no longer hold much interest. And in talking to my friends of a similar age, they seem to be feeling similar.

I suspect that a good portion of this site is made up of males who are middle aged or older and am wondering if anyone can share any profound discoveries that they made during this period of their life that have led to a renewed spirit for the latter part of their lives. I can't say I have any advice to offer as I seem to be struggling to find a renewed energy that will propel me into old age.

For me, consumerism no longer holds any appeal at all. As I get older I really lack any desire to buy anything. There are still needs that have to be taken care of and things that break and need to be replaced, but a bigger house, fancy car, summer home, traveling, hold no appeal. In fact, I would say I feel the opposite in that I would love to get rid of about 90 percent of the stuff I have and move to a much smaller house. I will add that I have no kids so undoubtedly changes my perspective on the world. I know that I want to move out of the city (one of the busiest in North America) to a much smaller and quieter existence, but we are stuck here until my wife retires within the next five to ten years. My favourite activity in the world is sitting on a quiet lake just staring at the water. This opportunity is very rare for me as the only nature around where I live is usually packed with other people trying to do the same thing. Last time I tried to walk to some nearby nature, I found that after forty minutes of walking, every bench and every flat surface was filled with people so I turned around and headed home angry.

My brother in law has found that hiking in nature is essential to his well being. He forces himself to drive to nature every other day and hike for a couple of hours in the woods. He does not live in the city though. I have heard others who suggest serious meditation can give that sense of well being and release from the busyness of the world. I like the idea although all my previous attempts have not been successful.

Don't want to sound like I am completely down on the world or anything. As I said I am sure much of it may be that I need a change of scenery from the busy modern city life. But I really am curious if anyone here can offer advice for getting through this strange stage of life.
At age 52 a judge's gavel announced that my assets were forfeit. All of them. I really wasn't in the mood for a midlife crisis but there it was, right in my lap.

The short story is that, marriage intact (remarkably), we set two normally contradictory priorities: to regain the financial strength we'd need to retire and to never again do anything that we didn't want to do.

That second one turned out to be the key to achieving the first one. And to finding peace. I've found that being generous helps a lot. As does a happy doggie and long walks in the woods.

Last week I was out on a buddy's deck yucking it up when he leaned back against a railing, it gave way and all 250 pounds of a seventy year old man hit the pavement, flat on his back three feet below, out cold, not even a twitch. An hundred mile helicopter ride followed, totally unresponsive. It easily could have gone either way. But he's OK, walking and talking, just broken bones. He's so damn happy to be alive he just keeps grinning and cracking jokes.

Enjoy it while you're here.
 

SPL db

Junior Member
Interesting that you started this thread, I too have noticed a decline interest in things that used to drive me in my youth. I'm about the same age as you are and so far am still going strong on the well being side of things. My concern is my workforce side of things (something that I was thinking of starting a thread on...).

I'm in the computer technology field and have always considered myself a very knowledgeable tech/employee. I can still hold my own in the workforce, but I'm seeing the up and coming younger generations that know so much more than me. I watch and learn from the young guns to keep my knowledge strong, but I'm at the learning stage where the younger crowd having lived with computers growing up know this stuff like the back of their hand. I know I can take classes and look stuff up online, but life gets in the way and with declining drive, I just don't have the ambition I once had.

I remember some of the people that have retired before me and mentioning, "It's a younger man's game now...". While I still plan on remaining in the game for now, I still have about eleven years before I retire, not sure how much longer I can keep the pace up.

I'm reminded of Robin Williams character in the movie RV. Worried about the younger guy being younger, smarter, and more educated than he was. But Robin had something that the young gun didn't have, enough experience where he didn't fold under pressure. That is something I have going for me, when others are trying to figure out what to do in a crisis, I already have a few options of things to try and who to contact next if they don't work.

I'm a bit concerned as to the coming years. Which brings me to my mass purging of stuff now... I want to jettison anything that's in the way of my concentration to work towards my retirement end goal. I've worked too hard to get where I am now to go down without a fight. :)
 
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MikeO

Active Member
Interesting that you started this thread, I too have noticed a decline interest in things that used to drive me in my youth. I'm about the same age as you are and so far am still going strong on the well being side of things. My concern is my workforce side of things (something that I was thinking of starting a thread on...).

I'm in the computer technology field and have always considered myself a very knowledgeable tech/employee. I can still hold my own in the workforce, but I'm seeing the up and coming younger generations that know so much more than me. I watch an learn from the young guns to keep my knowledge strong, but I'm at the learning stage where the younger crowd having lived with computers growing up know this stuff like the back of their hand. I know I can take classes and look stuff up online, but life gets in the way and with declining drive, I just don't have the ambition I once had.

I remember some of the people that have retired before me and mentioning, "It's a younger man's game now...". While I still plan on remaining in the game for now, I still have about eleven years before I retire, not sure how much longer I can keep the pace up.

I'm reminded of Robin Williams character in the movie RV. Worried about the younger guy being younger, smarter, and more educated than he was. But Robin had something that the young gun didn't have, enough experience where he didn't fold under pressure. That is something I have going for me, when others are trying to figure out what to do in a crisis, I already have a few options of things to try and who to contact next if they don't work.

I'm a bit concerned as to the coming years. Which brings me to my mass purging of stuff now... I want to jettison anything that's in the way of my concentration to work towards my retirement end goal. I've worked too hard to get where I am now to go down without a fight. :)

I also spent most of my career in the IT field working in the IT department of a software company. After working for 18 years there, my entire department was laid off when our company was bought by a US based company in California. That was almost three years ago and I haven't worked since. I realize I am fortunate that my wife has a high paying job with a very good pension plan so we are not starving.

I see the same thing you do. The tech industry is so different than when I started I can't even imagine going back into it. I think the biggest difference is that most younger tech workers have absolute faith that technology will always work. When I started in the mid 90s I got to see the inside of the technology and could understand it's limitations. To the point that I understood that software would have serious bugs and that catastrophic failures could occur and unless you were careful, someone's business could be destroyed due to these errors. If backups weren't tested, you may find yourself without years worth of corporate data. If calendars were buggy, lawyers could miss an important court case with very serious repercussions. As a result I was very cautious in my approach to work. I noticed younger employees just had confidence that the technology would work as advertised. I never did.

I still am amazed by the advances in technology over the past ten years or so but I really can't see myself working in the industry again.
 

airdronian

Radar Member
Although I'm in the right demographic, I'm pretty sure I have no good advice on getting through mid-life. If the family genetics follow tradition, this is kind of late-life for me anyway. I did a mid-life career change and worked in IT as well. The first two jobs were good, particularly the latter, which ended as the Oil & Gas industry contracted.

It was an eye opener trying to get back in the IT field after the layoff. So many applications, and a bunch of interviews that went nowhere. When I started in the industry in 2006 it was boom time. Lots of good work. By 2015 it was a much different place.

A few observations - at this age I find I'm more patient than I used to be. A valuable trait, IMO. When things do go wrong, ie layoffs, injury, etc. I eventually learned to stop blaming myself which was essential to reducing feelings of guilt and inadequacy. No matter what, tomorrows another day.

I also like to recall a sign that a co-worker once had on the wall of his office. He was an incredibly positive person, who supervised roughly a couple hundred workers. He would have meetings with some of them on occasion, either on a casual basis, or in a disciplinary setting. The sign read "Do the best you can with what you have." He'd say that's all he would ever expect of them. And maybe that is my advice.
 
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JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I get the sense that you and I are similar in many ways. The way you describe the lightness of youth versus the heaviness of the present is a perfect description of the way I feel. To me it seems like we have some life energy, like a battery that needs to be recharged every so often. When I was young, the energy was easily recharged and I felt like I could do almost anything. As I hit middle age, it feels like daily life drains all of the energy from me very early in the day just doing the basic tasks of taking care of my basic needs. I wake up with a bit of energy. I go downstairs to immediately see a pile of useless junk that I know needs some attention. Whether dishes in the sink, a leaky tap, cracked kitchen tiles, piles of my wife's clutter on the dining room table, etc. I let the dogs out back and see a carport in disrepair, cracks in the cement driveway, yardwork that needs to be done. All of the life energy for the day is gone and I haven't even done anything yet.

Like John, I have particularly noticed a difference when traveling. I went to Iceland for a week in 2007 with just a backpack. I very specifically remember how free I felt there. I also like to spend a couple of weeks at my parents house up north every summer just by myself. My wife stays home and looks after the dogs. Again, other than some clothes, nothing is with me. Two years ago I read ten books in two weeks while taking daily walks to the lake. I felt amazing and recharged, eager to come home and start fixing things around the house. Within two days of being home, all that recharged energy was gone again.

What I really like about the lightness vs heaviness analogy is that there is no baggage attached to it. I have some idea of what causes it but if I am wrong about the cause, it still fully describes how I feel. I suspect that the clutter around the house is a partial cause. Not sure I can change it to an acceptable level for me as 90 percent of it is junk my wife has accumulated over the last 20 years and she seems unwilling to part with it. I also suspect that the burden of being responsible for this 100 year old house, which will be a major source of our retirement funds when we sell it is a cause. When I am not at home, I don't think about electrical issues, plumbing issues, roofing issues, etc. So my mind can rest from this. Finally, when I get away from this over crowded, sprawling city, I can access nature and solitude at the same time. Toronto has some nature but you can't find a minute of solitude there as thousands of other people will be there. I can find solitude by locking myself in my mancave, but there is no nature there. When I am at my parents, I can take a coffee down to the lake and chances are could be the only one there. I can sit and stare for an hour and come back re-energized for the day.
I, too, sense we are wired similarly, especially after reading the post that started this thread. For me its helped to retreat from what others expect and to attempt to try to find what I expect. As for spouses, my wife is more of a minimalist than I am, but we differ in a different category. She seems to need to be around a large city, she feeds off social situations and has a knack for being the life of the party, the brightest candle in the room. Me? I would rather be the most quiet animal in the forest, observing nature happening around me. Not that I dislike all social situations, but I've had that life. I've been all around the world and done a lot of amazing things with a lot of amazing people. I'm tired of it, I want to sit by a lakeside and read books and ponder the universe.

But really it sounds to me like you feel burdened. I don't want to read too much into it based on a few messages on a forum, but I say that from myself feeling burdened. Since its largely your wife's stuff, have you talked to her? I ask because my wife confronted me about all of my stuff, in a friendly manner, and I think she was surprised to find out that I didn't love all of my stuff, but felt too overwhelmed by it to even begin divesting myself of it. She's helped me get rid of stuff, and finally I look around the house here and its feeling better. Its feeling lighter.

If you can, travel as much as you can outside of your current space.Spend less time doing your routine. Anything that breaks routine helps. I was here earlier having an anxiety attack (triggered by exhaustion) and just taking a walk helped, instead of staying here listening to tunes. ON the walk I almost tripped over a bunny, and met a cute cat. That little bit of nature helped out. I am easy to fall into a rut, but whenver I break it, it helps. Sure I'd rather hop on a plane to Paris (the US stresses me out and depresses me lately) but a walk where I trip over a bunny and talk to a cat? That'll do.

I'm not much for spirituality (thanks to an absolutely horrid experience in the evangelical church growing up), but I've read over the years about Taoism and it seems to echo a lot of my thoughts, as do some other aspects of Eastern religion. There's this idea that we are born in a more perfect state than what we become once burdened by life, and true happiness is found through attempting (and hopefully partially succeeding) in getting back to that unburdened, un-world-weary state. Basically the world teaches you the wrong things, and you were born knowing the right things. I may be misinterpreting that, but it certainly makes more sense than the hateful crap I was taught (not that all religion is like the abomination I was born into..I realize it was a special and twisted take on things, but more popular than I'd like to think, and it can leave life-long scars...sorry for the aside but its a source of much of my own life's problems).
 

MikeO

Active Member
I, too, sense we are wired similarly, especially after reading the post that started this thread. For me its helped to retreat from what others expect and to attempt to try to find what I expect. As for spouses, my wife is more of a minimalist than I am, but we differ in a different category. She seems to need to be around a large city, she feeds off social situations and has a knack for being the life of the party, the brightest candle in the room. Me? I would rather be the most quiet animal in the forest, observing nature happening around me. Not that I dislike all social situations, but I've had that life. I've been all around the world and done a lot of amazing things with a lot of amazing people. I'm tired of it, I want to sit by a lakeside and read books and ponder the universe.

But really it sounds to me like you feel burdened. I don't want to read too much into it based on a few messages on a forum, but I say that from myself feeling burdened. Since its largely your wife's stuff, have you talked to her? I ask because my wife confronted me about all of my stuff, in a friendly manner, and I think she was surprised to find out that I didn't love all of my stuff, but felt too overwhelmed by it to even begin divesting myself of it. She's helped me get rid of stuff, and finally I look around the house here and its feeling better. Its feeling lighter.

If you can, travel as much as you can outside of your current space.Spend less time doing your routine. Anything that breaks routine helps. I was here earlier having an anxiety attack (triggered by exhaustion) and just taking a walk helped, instead of staying here listening to tunes. ON the walk I almost tripped over a bunny, and met a cute cat. That little bit of nature helped out. I am easy to fall into a rut, but whenver I break it, it helps. Sure I'd rather hop on a plane to Paris (the US stresses me out and depresses me lately) but a walk where I trip over a bunny and talk to a cat? That'll do.

I'm not much for spirituality (thanks to an absolutely horrid experience in the evangelical church growing up), but I've read over the years about Taoism and it seems to echo a lot of my thoughts, as do some other aspects of Eastern religion. There's this idea that we are born in a more perfect state than what we become once burdened by life, and true happiness is found through attempting (and hopefully partially succeeding) in getting back to that unburdened, un-world-weary state. Basically the world teaches you the wrong things, and you were born knowing the right things. I may be misinterpreting that, but it certainly makes more sense than the hateful crap I was taught (not that all religion is like the abomination I was born into..I realize it was a special and twisted take on things, but more popular than I'd like to think, and it can leave life-long scars...sorry for the aside but its a source of much of my own life's problems).

The clutter is a major sense of tension in our house and has been for many years. But even if I could snap my fingers and make it all disappear, I don't think this feeling of lack of life energy would be gone with it. I do think that living in a busy city for the last 25 years has left me drained. I do feel that this particular stage of life and the inevitable decline in health and vitality are a big cause. Fear of being able to ever retire, whether valid fears or just an anxiety based fear play a part as well.

I hope and suspect that these fears and feelings are not uncommon in middle age and that the real solution is a few modifications to lifestyle and a lot of modification to the way I perceive my place in the world.

I really appreciate the replies to this thread. It has given me a lot to think about.
 

JimPA

Junior Member
IMHO the best one can do is just take one day at a time.

My elderly parents have a house full of clutter and my sisters and I are trying to get my ninety one year old mother and ninety five year old father to throw things out.
My mother has clothing she hasn't worn in over forty years she refuses to throw out or give to charity.
Both of them are moving out of assisted living back into their home.
More paid help will be at their house since they don't like being in a facility with other elderly people.

I feel bad hearing about JohnVF having a horrid experience in the evangelical church.
I was raised a Catholic and attended Catholic school for three years.
I was hit with yardsticks and put into a closet for asking the nun too many questions about God.
Now I consider myself an Agnostic Christian.
I do read the Bible and do think Martin Luther was right on about his opinions of the Catholic Church.
I, too, sense we are wired similarly, especially after reading the post that started this thread. For me its helped to retreat from what others expect and to attempt to try to find what I expect. As for spouses, my wife is more of a minimalist than I am, but we differ in a different category. She seems to need to be around a large city, she feeds off social situations and has a knack for being the life of the party, the brightest candle in the room. Me? I would rather be the most quiet animal in the forest, observing nature happening around me. Not that I dislike all social situations, but I've had that life. I've been all around the world and done a lot of amazing things with a lot of amazing people. I'm tired of it, I want to sit by a lakeside and read books and ponder the universe.

But really it sounds to me like you feel burdened. I don't want to read too much into it based on a few messages on a forum, but I say that from myself feeling burdened. Since its largely your wife's stuff, have you talked to her? I ask because my wife confronted me about all of my stuff, in a friendly manner, and I think she was surprised to find out that I didn't love all of my stuff, but felt too overwhelmed by it to even begin divesting myself of it. She's helped me get rid of stuff, and finally I look around the house here and its feeling better. Its feeling lighter.

If you can, travel as much as you can outside of your current space.Spend less time doing your routine. Anything that breaks routine helps. I was here earlier having an anxiety attack (triggered by exhaustion) and just taking a walk helped, instead of staying here listening to tunes. ON the walk I almost tripped over a bunny, and met a cute cat. That little bit of nature helped out. I am easy to fall into a rut, but whenver I break it, it helps. Sure I'd rather hop on a plane to Paris (the US stresses me out and depresses me lately) but a walk where I trip over a bunny and talk to a cat? That'll do.

I'm not much for spirituality (thanks to an absolutely horrid experience in the evangelical church growing up), but I've read over the years about Taoism and it seems to echo a lot of my thoughts, as do some other aspects of Eastern religion. There's this idea that we are born in a more perfect state than what we become once burdened by life, and true happiness is found through attempting (and hopefully partially succeeding) in getting back to that unburdened, un-world-weary state. Basically the world teaches you the wrong things, and you were born knowing the right things. I may be misinterpreting that, but it certainly makes more sense than the hateful crap I was taught (not that all religion is like the abomination I was born into..I realize it was a special and twisted take on things, but more popular than I'd like to think, and it can leave life-long scars...sorry for the aside but its a source of much of my own life's problems).
 
what a profound and timely thread. this topic is right up my alley. yet this morning ive got nothing much to say. will try. just a couple of things:

helping/working with/being with younger people. pass on some of our hard earned wisdom and equanimity. when i was young, yeah i had a lot of energy but things would bother me, eat at me, the end of a relationship could cause me to want to die. having been thru things, we start to realize "this too shall pass" -both the bad and the good. everything is temporary. its good to not get caught up in feeling stuck in anything. each day is a new opportunity. and a chance to do the next right thing.

life is a journey not a destination. the process is the path, and the path is the process. you are never "there." you are always "here". so there are no ultimate answers. but there are always more questions. and some great questions.

its worth doing things that are set up to provide insights and deep experiences. a meditation course. perhaps therapy. a mens group. for me, holotropic breathwork was huge. shamanic drumming. get in touch with aspects of ourselves and the vast world that are outside the 4corners of everyday existence. but dont just read about it, DO IT. experience it. life will not necessarily hand meaning to us on a platter - we need to participate in creating it.

all the best to everyone on the path of being conscious about life and how to live it.
 

MikeO

Active Member
what a profound and timely thread. this topic is right up my alley. yet this morning ive got nothing much to say. will try. just a couple of things:

helping/working with/being with younger people. pass on some of our hard earned wisdom and equanimity. when i was young, yeah i had a lot of energy but things would bother me, eat at me, the end of a relationship could cause me to want to die. having been thru things, we start to realize "this too shall pass" -both the bad and the good. everything is temporary. its good to not get caught up in feeling stuck in anything. each day is a new opportunity. and a chance to do the next right thing.

life is a journey not a destination. the process is the path, and the path is the process. you are never "there." you are always "here". so there are no ultimate answers. but there are always more questions. and some great questions.

its worth doing things that are set up to provide insights and deep experiences. a meditation course. perhaps therapy. a mens group. for me, holotropic breathwork was huge. shamanic drumming. get in touch with aspects of ourselves and the vast world that are outside the 4corners of everyday existence. but dont just read about it, DO IT. experience it. life will not necessarily hand meaning to us on a platter - we need to participate in creating it.

all the best to everyone on the path of being conscious about life and how to live it.

I believe you may really have something here in the sentence "but dont just read about it, DO IT" There is a small, very secluded lake in Algonquin park that I have been to three times in my life. Each time I was there I felt so at peace and like the weight of the world had been temporarily lifted from me. I found some youtube videos the other day of the trail and the lake. There were a few high definition videos of people walking the trail and there was some very good video taken from a rock that I usually sit on just sticking out into the water. I completely recognized in my head that this was the exact spot where I had had those amazing experiences. Yet I felt absolutely nothing. The video, while high definition brought none of the pleasure of the real thing.

I mentioned earlier my experiences in 2007 walking around Reykjavik, Iceland and how amazing I felt at that time. I have seen many very good videos on the city but again none of the feeling was brought back even though I completely recognized many of the locations.

Whether it is the effort to get into the real world vs the absolute easiness of clicking on a youtube video that makes it different or whether there is something much more profound going on with experiencing the real world I am not sure. I suspect there is a very different activity going on in the brain when we are really experiencing something vs just reading about it or watching a video online.
 
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