Further has explored the shifts we experience at midlife for the last couple of years, and I was thinking about how that started. It was this take on the new midlife crisis involving a turn toward endurance athletics and extreme fitness.
In the last week, I came across a similar article from across the pond. Seems British Gen Xers are dealing with midlife dissatisfaction in much the same way.
Here's the story of a 40-something corporate lawyer:
So he wrote out a cheque for several thousand pounds. But it wasn’t the down payment on a sports car, or for a round-the-world trip. It was for an intensive 12-week personal-training programme at a high-end gym – which meant three sessions a week, giving up booze and completely overhauling his diet.
This guy has since swum the English Channel, run a half marathon, and lost close to 100 pounds (that's 7 stone in the UK). This is clearly a different approach to dealing with midlife than the usual stereotypes.
Welcome to the modern — and mindful — midlife crisis, where you’re more likely to run a marathon than run away from your marriage. It’s less splurging on a Porsche, more searching for your purpose. As for trading in your spouse for a younger model? So last decade. Today’s crisis involves swapping your corporate career for something more meaningful.
Even if you weren't feeling that something was off with your life previously, the current situation we're in is likely leading to reflection. Just as we as a society have the opportunity to change things going forward, you also have that opportunity as an individual.
Why not make the most of it?
What a Midlife Crisis Looks Like in 2020 | The Telegraph (paywall)
Push, Push, Struggle
Starting a new exercise, sport, or fitness-related skill is usually a struggle. And the way you think about that struggle will determine whether you stick with it or give up.
How to Develop a Growth Mindset Around Fitness and Exercise | 12 Minute Athlete
The System is Down
Living a healthy lifestyle can be challenging under the best of circumstances. But right now, the pandemic has disrupted the way we think we're supposed to go about it. The key is to replace the broken system with a new system of your own.
Stem the Tide of Aging
“According to new research in mice, aerobic exercise may actually reverse aging’s effect on essential muscle stem cells involved with tissue regeneration. If the research translates to humans, it means jogging, swimming, cycling, and other aerobic activities can help older people recover as quickly and efficiently as their younger selves.”
Beer Belly Brain
Research shows that muscle loss and the accumulation of body fat around the abdomen, which often begin in middle age and continue into advanced age, are associated with a decline in fluid intelligence. And you're going to need that big brain more in the coming years than a big belly.
Belly Fat and Your Brain | Psychology Today
Trudi explores change by embracing your core values below. And in the Flashback, we revisit a song that became a staple of the teen movie genre back in the day.
P.S. Did someone forward this issue of Further to you? We'd love to have you join us by signing up here.
By Trudi Roth
There’s nothing quite like a pandemic to bring the human experience into sharp relief. The pain, grief, and suffering we’re both witnessing and experiencing give adversity a daily presence in our lives. This is at once both horrific and opportune.
I love how writer/director Julio Vincent Gambuto put it:
What happened is inexplicably incredible. It’s the greatest gift ever unwrapped. Not the deaths, not the virus, but The Great Pause. It is, in a word, profound. Please don’t recoil from the bright light beaming through the window. I know it hurts your eyes. It hurts mine, too. But the curtain is wide open. What the crisis has given us is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see ourselves and our country in the plainest of views.
Brutal, for sure. But blink and life will settle into a new normal, so now’s a good time to consider what truly matters to you.
Talking about values as adults may feel passé; most of us don’t take the time to question the codes we follow or beliefs we hold. But chances are what you put a premium on pre-pandemic looks different today. Crisis is a catalyst that way — naturally, we shift to figure out what’s intrinsically rewarding.
The challenge then becomes wrapping our struggles into our values, because what we value only has meaning if it’s important when life is hard. To know if they have worth, your values need to help you move forward when you can barely crawl and the obstacles in your way seem insurmountable.
COVID-19 checks all of those boxes, having shoved the world out of complacency and into a vast ocean of uncertainty. But where it displaced comfort, it’s also helped us surface core personal values.
Getting to the heart of what matters
Talking to friends, I’m hearing a lot about what’s getting them through these difficult times. Some are reveling in a slower pace, while others have stepped up being in nature by hiking, biking, and rollerskating. Baking sourdough bread has become a thing, along with epic virtual dance parties, family dinners and game nights, and neighborhood salutes to health care workers.
Wrapped up in those activities are fundamental core values including, health, family, community, love, kindness, caring, and creativity. When you pay attention to the things that help you release fear, anxiety, and panic in a crisis, you can rediscover what’s genuinely important to you.
So use the Great Pause not as a void to endure while you wait for things to get back to what was. Instead, mine it for all it’s worth, as it can be a fertile space of renewal and recommitment and a path to a more meaningful, fulfilling existence.
What You Truly Value (Farnam Street)
General Public – Tenderness
All the Rage, 1984
Tenderness by General Public scored an 80s John Hughes' trifecta — it popped up in Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and Weird Science. The song also closed out Clueless, which was the teenage sleeper hit of 1995. (YouTube)
Please forward this issue of Further to a friend. Thank you!