We’ve all seen those very poignant “coming of age” movies…
Pretty in Pink comes to mind…
Breakfast Club was another…
Most people connect with them because we’ve all been teenagers and experienced that angst that’s an integral part of the journey through those years.
(Admit it, you can sing both of those theme songs in your head right now!)
Now that I’m older, I’m convinced there’s a second “coming of age”.
Let me explain…
First of all, I’m DEFINITELY NOT talking about some cliché mid-life crisis, where the guy ditches his wife, buys a sports car, alienates his kids and generally acts like an idiot for a decade or so.
I work with people who experience it another way…
The kids are usually off to college and out of the house.
These folks are may be in the peak of their earning years but are starting to think more about retirement than their next family vacation.
They are likely taking care of one or more aging parent(s). This means they’re called “the sandwich generation” because we insist on putting labels on things so we can self-identify with something.
Financially, they’re responsible for a lot of “stuff”.
They’re stressed out but do little about it.
All of this means they have pushed their own health and “self-care” to the back burner.
(I haven’t decided if I like that term yet. I thought we already had words to describe things like wellness…but I digress.)
So, there they are…
- Fifty to fifty-five plus years old.
- Tired all the time because they don’t always sleep too well.
- Overweight because they don’t prioritize the gym, their nutrition or much else about themselves.
It’s at right about this time they wake up one day and say, “Damn it! I feel like garbage. I need to do something about this or there’ll be hell to pay.”
Maybe it’s the meds their doctor had to put them on…
Maybe it’s how they look in the mirror and their plummeting self-image…
Maybe (and this is a bit scarier) they’ve already had that health scare “wake up call”…
Whatever the reason.
This is the “second coming of age”.
It can come on like a micro-burst from a summer storm or tiptoe in over years…
Either way, this is a vital era of choices.
Some heed the call, others don’t.
Listen, the average 55-year old is looking at.. AT LEAST another two decades of life, females even more…
All of us in this category are faced with a decision about the quality of life we can reasonably expect during those two-plus decades.
And this is a real choice!
Not some bogus “I really need to get on a diet this year” b***s***!
I mean some serious taking-the-reins-of-life action.
I have a client who once told me she really didn’t care if she changed or not. She was obese, on multiple medications and ate like crap.
She was referred to me by someone else, but I could see in our first conversation that she wasn’t “all in”.
When she made that statement, I knew she had—by default—accepted the fact that she was going to experience an early death.
There will be no second “coming of age” for her.
That mindset frightens the hell out of me.
She didn’t last even two months in the program…
The harsh truth is that she will likely be dead within five years…by choice.
Mark Twain said, “The two most important days of your life are the day you’re born and the day you find out why.”
I’m pretty sure that “why” doesn’t mean “sit around and wait to die.”
Seven out of the ten leading causes of death in the United States are lifestyle based.
And frankly, you could make a strong argument that the other three are also lifestyle choices.
In my opinion, the second “coming of age” elicits the same level of angst as the one in our teenage years…the difference is the first one is when we have our entire life ahead of us, and the second is just a completely different set of circumstances.
But make no mistake, it must be dealt with.
Those decades are coming…whether we plan for it or not.
Believe me, none of this is spoken from a “preachy” position by any means.
I’ve always been a big guy.
I’ve been lifting weights for over 45 years and have done “big guy” sports my whole life.
But over the past decade, I started looking around and guess what?
There aren’t many “big guys” walking around in their 80’s.
Try finding someone over 250 pounds AND over 80 years old.
So, I’m committed to getting below 220 pounds.
I’m accepting the challenge, taking the reins, and experiencing the second coming of age.
I hope you will too…