“This Business of Aging: Relationships for Men” by Wes Carter

“This Business of Aging: Relationships for Men” by Wes Carter

For us ‘60 Something’ blokes we can spend a lot of time being preoccupied and drawn into how to live out the remainder of our life without stress, illness, or the concerns and interests that held and captured us in the earlier part of our life. Sometimes we now want to cram in the things that we had always promised ourselves but were too busy, unable to afford, preoccupied with earning a living, raising a family, or any of the multitude of reasons we have used in the past. Yet in all this time, we have been in relationship and contact with other people, family, long time connections, neighbors, social, professional, church groups, people we used to work with and the many forms of friendships and acquaintances that we have made over the years.

What about the relationships that we have with other people in our life right now?  Do we have enough satisfactory connections to sustain us through the years ahead? Do we need to make more friends or drop off some of the existing ones? How can we deepen and nourish those friendships that we currently value?

What about those ongoing family connections?  Do they allow us the freedom we desire or are we still connected and putting our life on hold through some perception of obligation to them? Are there signs of total dependence upon your spouse to provide you with the social contacts that you have not made outside the marriage?

Some of us men are now faced with a multitude of decisions that could involve our marriage, family connections, friendships, personal security, freedom from illness, ways to survive the ravages of a fast approaching ageing process, how much time we have left and what does it all mean anyway? How well prepared are we for the October, November, and December time of our journey through life? Do we have in place a success formula for this important component of our trek and just what the essential ingredients are that will ensure peace of mind as we take on this last challenge?

Let’s take relationships as a starting point. Who are the important people in your life, both inside and outside your family, and the friendships that you have formed with them? What are the values you want from these relationships?

We are now faced with the prospect of determining whether we actually want to continue with all, or more, of these connections.  Are they based on obligation, guilt, shame, compliance, expectations or genuine love? The reality for some of us involves the obligations that we rarely challenge. We stay in contact because we think we have to. If the connection is tenuous and totally unsatisfactory we have the choice to enhance the relationship or leave it altogether.

Time is now precious for us and continuing with unsatisfactory relationships in any form becomes a burden that we need not carry. Staying with or developing satisfying and loving relationships is the new task for us for us “60 Something” blokes.