Creative ageing

Maturing Happily

There are 22 million people over 50 in the UK: that’s one third of the whole population. Yet we all live in a culture that idealises youth. The midlife years, say 45 to 65, and the ‘early older’ years, say 65 to 75 plus, are times of huge change. These life stages can offer us new freedoms and choices, but often bring losses and challenges that need facing.

I have been exploring these issues since my own midlife crisis began with the end of my first, 28-year marriage at the age of 49. I’ve co-led both mixed and mens’ groups on creative ageing, at the Findhorn Foundation, Hazel Hill and elsewhere.

I’ve now turned 68, and realise I’m nervous about my 70’s. So I’m working on a new book: Not Fade Away – Staying happy when you’re  over 64! If you’d like to be a trial reader, or share your experience, please contact me. You can also check out my blogs on creative ageing, and upcoming events.

See below for information on my second book, which has a lot of useful material for men and women, age 45 to 75 plus.

OUT OF THE WOODS: A Guide to Life for Men Beyond 50

by Alan Heeks, published by How to Books September 2013

OOTW coverMidlife and beyond can be the most fun a man has ever had, but it’s also a time for fresh skills and a new path. When the roles that define men dissolve – work, marriage, fatherhood – it’s a time of huge possibility and freedom, but it’s easy to feel lost in the woods, with nowhere to turn to.

This book is a guide for men beyond 50: complete with route-finder, service areas, scenic highlights and emergency callout advice. It gathers the best wisdom and experience of many men on the skills you need to handle the losses and shipwrecks, and find your way out of the woods.

This friendly book offers insights, inspiration, practical advice and resources for further help. The basic aim is simple: enjoy your best years to the full! Out of the Woods provides guidance you might expect, and some to surprise you. Alan shares his experience and others’ about renewing relationships, job changes, ageing parents and lots more, plus there’s a chapter on health issues by a holistic doctor. But this book offers wisdom from the unexpected, like a Wiltshire wood, Sufi mystics, football, car maintenance, and heroic myth.Out of the Woods, Alan Heeks

Click on chapter headings below for an introduction

    1. Guides, maps and the midlife prime How good it can be, and how to get there. Issues in this life stage: a new kind of adventure. Overview of topics and chapters. Reinventing yourself: finding new role models. Alan’s story. Using this book. Notes for women readers. Top 11 books for maturing men.
    2. Changes and renewal: the basic overhaul Changing old patterns: how shipwrecks help. Handling loss and endings. Into the dark wood, and out again: the Hero’s Journey as a route map. Listening to the inner voices. Creating a support network. Where is home: is this time for relocation?
    3. A fresh look at relationships The issues of this life stage. Intimacy 101: the basics. Renewing a long-term relationship. The Danger Zone – Affairs. Handling a big breakup. Dating skills for Maturing Men. Codependency.
    4. Work, money – and fulfilment Changing needs and new ways to fit work and life together. Re-visioning your work: the portfolio approach. Considering self-employment. Handling retirement or redundancy. Understanding and meeting your money needs.
    5. Health: tuning up and crash repairs Active steps to improve your health: move more, eat well! Handling major health problems. Where to get help, including online. Written by Dr Max Mackay-James who was a holistic GP, and has a special interest in maturing men’s health issues.
    6. Family dynamics: Ageing parents and lots more Typical changes in this life stage. Parents: maybe dependent, maybe dying. Being a father to adult kids. Brothers and sisters: blow-ups and breakthroughs.
    7. Last chance saloon: Addictions, Anger, Depression, Alternatives Six steps to make a difference. Understanding and getting help with addiction. Anxiety and Avoidance. Anger: exit the tragedy. Depression, and getting over it. Alternative approaches.
    8. Dreams, dawns, dying, inspiration Dreams for awakening. Exploring a spiritual path. Sufi wisdom for maturing men. Face your dying to enrich your living. Nature as guide and healer. Hazel Hill Wood: a special place for men. The Wisdom Quest: a rite of passage for maturing men.
    9. Beyond the Shed: friends, groups, communities Learning new social skills. Cultivating friendship. Relating to groups. Finding or forming a men’s group. Communities: What’s in it for me?
    10. Sex: the best years, no kidding! The physical realities. Sex and relationship. The best sexual years of your life. Slow sex. Unpacking the T word: Tantra! Life with a menopausal partner.
    11.  Maturing organically: giving back as an elder Pondering priorities, legacy, and how to meet the world. The big issues: social, including mentoring for younger men, and environmental How to mature organically. Enjoying your elderhood.