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Motorcycles and Midlife
Midlife can bring about startling changes in a man. It has to be handled carefully.

Midlife has been described by some as a fight against the ticking clock of time and age, an effort by one clinging to his youth. Books have been written on it and counselors have made a living on helping us men through it. It really is fascinating to watch an otherwise intelligent manly guy respond to this ticking clock.

The first sign of midlife angst is when your buddy starts dieting. He orders salad—rabbit food—while you chow down. Although you never paid much attention to it before, his shape begins to change. He abandons the world of "Full Cut" shirts and "Comfortable" fit jeans. Now you find yourself sucking in your gut when you stand beside him. Tucking in your shirt or pulling it out so the bubble in the middle won't show as much.

Intervention is possible in the early stages but as it progresses it gets increasingly difficult to save your friend. Like a drug it begins to take over the mind. It is the little things that begin to startle you. At the magazine rack, instead of reaching for Cycle Canada, or Mojo Magazine, he moves down the rack and picks up GQ. He starts talking about the latest styles and dropping designer names. There is just something wrong with a man in his 50s reading a fashion magazine. Soon he starts to go metro-sexual on you. Perfect hair, sunglasses, shirt, and even his smell morphs into a girly-man. When the gold chain and the open shirt appear it is too late.

Now all this costs a lot. The gym, special diet, designer clothes aren't cheap. Not to mention accessories including watches, the latest cell phones, PDAs, European shoes and purses. Yes, you heard me—purses for guys!

Unfortunately, for some, the ultimate proof that they are not aging is that they can still charm the ladies. Somehow it seems like a hollow victory. They still age! Like it or not their hair will fall out, they will get jowls and be the funny old grandfather at the family reunion—sooner than they think.

The Motorcycle is however the perfect intervention tool. It is cheaper, safer and more spiritually uplifting than all the other alternatives. Blue jeans and T-Shirts have always been cheaper than designer clothes. Hours cruising on the Bike are far less stressful than hours in the gym and in front of the mirror trying to look 20 years younger. With a motorcycle, you work-out less, thereby keeping the expanding shape you've gradually turned into. A smart wife will see that this paunch of his keeps other women away.

A motorcycle is spiritually uplifting and psychologically healthy. Any biker will tell you of the peace and tranquility they experience on a ride through the countryside. If you have a God connection, the perfect place to have a heart-to-heart with him is on a country road as his awesome creation flashes by.

"What does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul" (Deuteronomy 10:12).

It is psychologically healthy, because for those of us over 50, we're openly admitting we're aging—and dog-gone proud of it. Our body is starting to fall apart, our friends and family are starting to pass, the younger generation is pushing us aside in the church community, we're no longer promoted at work, and have too many aches and pains to pursue sports. Oh, did I mention, that we start to accept that we are going to rust away and die in the foreseeable future. Life is coming to an end and rather than trying to cling to our youth we have chosen to live until we die. We have embraced midlife and bought a motorcycle.

The Westminster Catechism states "Man's chief and highest end is to glorify God, and enjoy Him forever." If Midlife isn't handled carefully it can have devastating consequences. Embracing it on the other hand, while keeping God at the centre of your life, will bring a season of refreshing clarity, fulfillment, and joy. Ride On!

Dennis Hillis works for the Canadian Bible Society.

Originally published in Halftime Report, May/June 2006.




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