Men at age 59: Going forward or looking back


By: Anselm Chibuike Anyoha MD
Among the many challenges that face men at age 59, the most overwhelming might be the inner debate of whether to march forward and conquer the world or stay motionless and dwell on the events of yesteryears. Of course, not all 59-year-old men feel the same way because they have different experiences growing up, which influence the later parts of their lives, too.

Every 59-year-old man is the same in some ways, yet different in other ways. Let me use the temptation of money and being foolishly rich as an example. If being rich has been the operator in a man’s life, and if he is still penniless at age 59, he might think, “To hell with it” and give up pursuing money. On the other hand, as a last effort to prove the detractors in his village (Umunna) wrong, a man might wake up one morning, pound on his hairy chest two or three times, and say, “Let money rule the rest of my life.” Truly, I have come to realize that there is a level of wealth someone accumulates after which they become enslaved to it (tufiaakwa—God forbid).

Now, let us leave money by the wayside and talk about other tangible things that occupy men at age 59. They might wonder if they were good fathers, raised their children well, and substantially impacted other people’s lives. As you can already imagine, answers to these reflections are never clear cut. They are frequently in a fluid state, sometimes moving in opposite directions like the twisted, spinning empty shell of a snail. But if you are tempted to fix yesterday’s mistakes, remember that even though something is open to amendment, a change isn’t always possible. Nor is the new solution always the right one. As such, not knowing what the future holds unleashes torrential debates in the minds of men who are 59. Their minds waver between how much exertion should go into remedying past events versus how much effort should go into moving on and opening new channels for growth and experience.
Holding on to the past too much prevents us from having future experiences. Letting go seems to be the answer to the game of life. We are often seduced by the present and the current issues confronting us. However, it is hard to predict how events of yesteryears pan out in the long run, outcomes often unfolding in generations to come.

Though having second thoughts about life decisions may occur at any age, it is most pronounced at age 59. Preoccupation or worry over past events could quickly incapacitate some 59-year-olds into inaction and gulping down too many cups of palm wine. If, like me, you are turning 59, use the experiences gained from yesterday’s shortcomings to forge ahead for the future. Keep your minds burning like a supply of new firewood! Discover new interests and improve on old ones. Doing some of these things keeps the mind from reminiscing about the convicting judgments of years past.

As I turn 59, I’ve noticed that I listen more intently and ask for guidance from the people I trust. I did not notice this new attitude until I turned 58 last year. For sure, life events that go awry are sure to generate trauma in the minds of 59-year-old men. The loss of my mother and my brother, for example, etched a traumatic experience in my psyche. Friends, acquaintances, and millions of people all over the world who have died or suffered under the 2020 Covid virus pandemic continuously remind me about the fragility of life.

Still, I am grateful for the many people and angels who have touched my life these many years.

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Administrator, Elders Helping Hand,  Akokwa

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