2 minute read
So you’re a bloke and you’ve done the career stuff for better or for worse, you’ve gone around the track a few times with romance and maybe marriage and divorce and with a bit of luck (on a good day) maybe children. Now we are not rich but okay and we think we are wiser but not always certain. So how are we going to fill that happy gap between working to live and hoping to live? How does the world after 60 work when the herd of wildebeest you were running with are suddenly the other side of the river and you find yourself running on your own, or at least with a much more leisurely pack. On the plus side it’s quite fun to watch the pride of lions bringing down the occasional over cocky young antelope on the negative side you probably can’t run at the 80mph you all used to be able to hit and in any case no one is chasing you.
So what do we do next then? Let’s assume we don’t have a lifetime hobby like playing with model railways, sheep shearing, Morris dancing or ferret breeding to entertain us. Let’s assume that we will soon run out of odd long unfinished jobs around the house and garden and that if we still have a someone else they won’t want us around 24/7. Let’s also assume that we don’t want to take to the rocking chair and smoke a pipe until the guy with the long black cloak and the scythe comes around for tea. So how do we keep enough cells in the brain fired up for as long as we can? This is the point where a link to a stack of self-help books as high as the Empire State appears recommending anything from yoga to crochet and the average bloke goes to the pub instead. So let’s break this down into manageable bites and deal with my experiences having tried most of the alternatives. In general terms the three major groups of possibilities are physical stuff, brain exercises and community work to make you feel more worthy.
We’ll move onto the physical and the worthy in later posts but let’s just take a run around the brain deterioration prevention categories. Start off with a wish list of things you might do and that you wish you had done when you were younger and possibly believe that you would have been really good at if only you had had the time. These broadly fall into the categories passive stimulation and active stimulation. Reading worthy books or visiting galleries are examples of passive stimulation. Learning to play the banjo or mastering Mandarin Chinese would be examples of active things. A top tip having spent £££ on a guitar. If at first you don’t succeed, consider giving up. You don’t any longer have the luxury of dogged persistence over many years to produce an average rendition of Chopsticks on the Zither. Languages can be remarkably engaging if you have a good grasp of the one you were born into. Declaring an interest having a son who has married a Mandarin speaker I am including this in my list of things to do mainly to intimidate the owner of the takeaway by knowing the Chinese….
Next a practical guide to getting into community stuff including politics where I have had a very specific experience.