I’m a man in my late-30s, married with children, a busy job, and a busy life.
I’m fairly healthy in general, and not in too bad shape.
But when I look in the mirror, I see old and fat.
I’m turning 40 in a few months and the thought of spending the rest of my life watching my hairline recede and a belly grow, is depressing.
I already know that fitness and good nutrition are important for my health, but I’m finding it tough to keep up those regimes due to lack of time, fatigue, and a million distractions.
I don’t see myself recapturing the bright outlook I brought to becoming an adult, 20 years ago.
Get a grip. You’re succumbing to the now outdated angst of turning 40, as if it’s all downhill from here.
Not so. Your earlier pursuits of finding fulltime work, a life partner, and starting a family, are established.
You can now make healthy eating patterns part of your family life. You can get exercise while biking, walking, and running, etc., with your children.
People who are energized (which good nutrition and general fitness help provide) look well. Add a smile of self-satisfaction, and they look great!
Age is only a number, but depression can make it an issue that saps your spirit. That’s when you only see yourself as “old and fat.”
Get a medical check to see if anything else is sapping your well-being. Get counselling if your negative outlook persists.
Meanwhile, get moving. Set some small goals for walking more, using stairs, etc.
Then set larger goals as your energy picks up.
Feel good and you’ll look good, no matter your age.
My mother passed away recently and my father, with whom I was never all that close, is in a funk.
That’s not surprising after his loss, but our relationship’s deteriorating by the minute.
I don’t really want to cut ties as my children love him, but I can’t be around him or talk to him any more.
My mother’s loss is hugely upsetting to me. We were always close, but because she was ill for a very long time, we became even closer.
I spoke to her several times a day regularly. I visited with her every day during the months she was in the hospital.
Now there’s not only a hole in my heart, but it seems like there’s also a blank and empty space in my time.
Meanwhile, my father isn’t reaching out to me… he only cares about his grief and what’s going to happen to him, not anything about me.
Feeling Like an Orphan
You both suffered losses that are equally as difficult.
He lost his companion, lover, and the routines that defined who they were as a couple.
You’ve lost your mom as guide, confidante, leader, and comforter.
You and your father feel equal pain, and have similar needs for the time it takes to adjust and make some changes.
You both face the challenge of moving on with your lives, despite missing her.
Cutting ties with your father now would be heartless, and likely not at all what your mother would’ve wanted.
It’s also a negative signal to your children that family’s disposable when they don’t please you.
It’s the same distancing attitude that you resent from your father, though he at least knew your mother’s closeness made up for him.
Who will he have if you turn away?
Check in with him regularly.
Reader’s Commentary – “I was the “Desperate” woman who sought your advice (October 27).
“I’ve left my husband, and am on the road to recovery from that abusive relationship.
“It’ll take awhile to get over that part of my life, but I will get over it.
“Your advice to me confirmed what I already knew, but wasn't ready to accept.
“I will keep your advice in my diary, as a reminder of one terrible mistake I made in my life.”
Ellie – The important message here is that many people do know, as you did, what’s going wrong in their lives.
Instead of taking action, they live with denial and distractions, rather than take the necessary steps.
Where there’s abuse, this is a dangerous choice. It can lead to physical harm, emotional despair, and have negative health effects long-term.
I hope this letter inspires others to look closely at why they’re accepting harmful relationships, and consider their options.
Tip of the day:
Any age can be a turning point for improving energy and well-being.