Today middle-aged guys find themselves caught in what many call the “the buffer zone.” On one side you may have, as I experienced, a traditional silent, strong type of father. On the other hand, I see that my son tends to be more on the progressive side and is in tune with the “me generation” lifestyle. The question for many men, and in particular middle-aged guys, is what male role models should I follow?
Worried about changes
Middle age, like middle school, is a time when being different or making changes can come at a cost. Now add in COVID along with job losses and potential financial insecurity, and it is easy to see why some men between 40 and 65 are not very anxious to go in for a regular health check-up. Refusing to visit an MD might, I imagine, be one way some men try to regain a sense of control in their lives.
Typically, I think men take pride in needing little or no help in getting through the many challenges life offers. We often view asking for help as a sign of weakness. And asking a personal question about below-the-belt issues is often seen as a chink in the thin armor of masculinity.
During my working years it was very easy to easily interact with other men on a daily basis and in a variety of situations. Business collaborations are often a combination of teamwork, competition, and hopefully a reward. At the end of the day there is often a feeling of accomplishment for a job well done. If not, plans are made for how to better handle the challenges of the next day.
I think younger men tend to form more bonds with other men. Just think about team sports in high school and college. It is not until we get older do we start to pull back from each other and for some unknown reason, I think we stop sharing feelings and emotions. As we age, we become more independent and stoic. Why? By our mid 60s, we often begin to lose contact with friends. Why? They have retired or moved on or have passed on.
It's worth noting that men are more likely to commit suicide than women, and suicide rates among men in the U.S. increased between 1999 and 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The risk can increase as men enter middle-age (between 45 and 64), the CDC found. The World Health Organization also estimates suicide accounts for one in every 100 deaths.1,2
Sharing more often
It has been found that married men live longer than single men, and having close personal friendships and bonds can help men live longer.3,4
It is becoming increasingly important, especially during these stressful times, that men make an effort to share more information with each other and with their partners. A good first step is to meet with your family physician and get that annual checkup.
Have you made personal connections through your journey with prostate cancer?