In his book, I'm Not Okay With Gray, Michael Tayler shows us how we can approach life and embrace all that it brings.
Let's Say Hello
[00:02:44.470] – Allan
Hey, Rachel. How are you?
[00:02:46.540] – Rachel
Hey, Allan. Good. How are you today?
[00:02:48.630] – Allan
I'm doing all right. Kind of busy.
[00:02:51.470] – Rachel
Yeah. Busy is good.
[00:02:54.390] – Allan
Because we're rounding out the final bits of busy season here in Bocas. And so it's like a lot of moving still a lot of moving parts and this and that and just getting things just keeping things going and saying, okay, now I've got to spin this plate, and then I got to run over here and spin that plate. Just being pulled in a few different directions, but it's good. We've had a really good season at Lula's, and so I'm just really excited that that's going well. So just keep the plate spinning.
[00:03:28.830] – Rachel
That's awesome. Well, good. Glad everything's going well at Lula's.
[00:03:32.150] – Allan
How are things up there?
[00:03:33.620] – Rachel
Good. We are also kind of busy with the maple syrup boil still happening, still collecting. I got to do my rounds later this afternoon.
[00:03:43.260] – Allan
That is the funniest thing. Is that okay, you're keto and you're talking about maple syrup.
[00:03:48.080] – Rachel
Oh, my gosh. Yeah, it's funny. We tell everybody we have a lot, and actually, let's see, this year we'll have had about four boils, so we should end up probably close to about maybe four gallons, maybe not quite four full gallons of maple syrup. And you're right, we don't eat it. We share it. We give it to everybody. But the time outdoors is really special, and this type of little homesteading habit that we have of turning maple SAP into syrup is such a really neat, lost kind of art form. We like to share it with our friends, and so we like to have the kids come and see what it's all about. And it's just a really fun thing to do and to share. It's just fun.
[00:04:37.880] – Allan
Well, cool. All right. Are you ready to talk to Michael Taylor?
[00:04:42.820] – Rachel
[00:05:40.110] – Allan
Michael. Welcome to 40+ Fitness.
[00:05:43.230] – Michael
Hello, Allan. Thanks for having me. I'm really excited about the conversation.
[00:05:47.070] – Allan
Well, I haven't shaved in a few days, and it's starting to itch. I'm going to be shaving pretty quick here because another thing that happens when I don't shave, being 57 years old, somehow or another, you don't seem to have this problem, but I have a lot of grays that come out. And your book is called, I'm Not Okay With Gray: How to Create an Extraordinary Life After 50. Being 57, and I said, that title just kind of kicks you and says, okay, that's what I want, other than I'm okay with the gray, just sometimes not okay with where that takes us mentally.
[00:06:26.010] – Michael
Got you. Interestingly enough, the way the title came about is I actually would be fully gray, but I dye my hair, right. And so a friend of mine and I were having a conversation about dyeing my beard, my goatee, and he said, man, why you dye your beard, why don't you just go gray? And I said, well, I'm not okay with Gray. And as soon as I made the comment, I went, wow, that is a cool title for a book. And so as an author, what I usually do, whenever I have a cool title that pops up like that, I make a little note on my phone, right? I said no. I'm going to write a book called I'm Not Okay With Gray. And fast forward a year and a half or so, and here I am promoting the book.
[00:07:07.210] – Allan
And it's a great book if you're someone that's kind of at that point where you're struggling with a lot of where you are in the world, there's a lot in this book to look at. And I think one of the reasons that this is really an important topic is we get to or around the age of 50, some of it's a little earlier, some is a little bit later, but we start asking ourselves those deeper questions, is it all worth it? Where am I going? And sometimes it's because our kids are no longer kids anymore, and they're off running and doing their lives. Sometimes we've gone through some pretty drastic changes that midlife will often either spur in us to do, or they just almost seem to happen because we're actually looking ahead instead of feeling stuck and looking backwards for the good or the bad. But one of the words, the word you used in this book as you kind of went through the subsections, and when I first saw that the table contents because I actually read all the books, and I'm going through the table contents, and I'm like, okay, he's using this word.
[00:08:16.350] – Allan
He's using this word. And then when I start actually reading what you had written, I'm like, you could not have used a better word because you think about the title, I'm Not okay with Gray, and that's like, okay, well, what are you going to do about it? Well, you can dye your hair. Okay, great. That doesn't change anything fundamentally in your life, but you use the word embrace, and I think that is such a powerful word. As I was kind of sitting there, I got chills now thinking about how important that word is as we look to change our lives and just what the word embrace means. So I wanted to dive into your head a little bit about that word because you obviously chose it. You're an author and a speaker. You chose that word on purpose. This isn't an accident. Let's talk about that word from your perspective.
[00:09:08.510] – Michael
Well, first of all, the title had absolutely nothing to do with hair color. The title really is about I'm committed to empowering men and women over 50, right? To change their mindsets about aging so they can make the rest of their lives the best of their lives. Okay, so the title, again, is kind of a catchy title, but in reality, it's really about changing our mindsets. And as a former atheist, there was a time in my life where I had absolutely no I was completely close to the idea that there was something bigger than me out there. Right. Well, I went on this amazing journey, found my own spiritual connection. But what embrace is for me, it's about incorporating, bringing into your awareness, new ideas. And so when I say embrace, there's so many talking heads and experts out there telling you, you should do this, you should do that. I'm not trying to tell you to do anything. I'm making a suggestion for you to embrace this idea, this different way of looking at things, so that if you're willing to do that, I believe you can change your life. But we have to be willing to embrace these new ideas, which can be difficult for some, but I don't think anything changes until we embrace new ways of thinking, believing and behaving.
[00:10:36.160] – Michael
And so that's why I focused on that word.
[00:10:38.570] – Allan
Yeah. And like I said, I think it's just a really a powerful word because you're not telling people a path. This is the path to the extraordinary life. This is what you have to do. Just do these ten things and your life will be better. What you're saying is the world is the world. Sometimes it's changing in ways that we don't necessarily agree with or want. We have to control what we can control, and we have to put into our lives what we want to have in our lives. And we've got to not have things in our lives that we want out of our lives. And so the idea of embracing things and looking for the good in them, I think, is really a powerful way of approaching this, because there are going to my elbow hurts, my knee hurts. Well, my hip hurts. And we could embrace that and we can talk about that all day, or we can really kind of get into deeper conversations about who we are and why we're here and what we're trying to accomplish with, like you said, the second half of our lives. Because if you're over 50 and you're listening to this, there's a high probability you might just live another hundred, another 50 years with medical science the way it is.
[00:11:50.660] – Allan
And wouldn't it be a shame to not live that second half even close to the first half when all of your horror stories, you sit down, you talk about all the hardships and the things you had in your life, and I think I had these things and they're in my life. And I can say the whole question, would you go back and relive your life again? And how would you change it? It's like, I don't even want to think about that. I don't even want that. If you told me I could keep living my life the way I am. Or I could go back and live it again. I'd probably just live it where I'm at. I'd be what I am.
[00:12:31.390] – Michael
Yeah, but here's the thing that I think a lot of people are missing. We live in a society and culture that loves bad news. Amazing we focus so much attention on what's wrong with the world. But see, my belief is that there are a lot more things that are right with the world that are wrong with it. And one of the things that's really right with the world is as a human being, we are moving into a lot of people don't realize that they're predicting in the next 20 years or so, the average lifespan is going to be 120 years old. People are going to be living longer because of technology, because of they're doing DNA sequencing and all these cool things. They're doing it with the technology. So the question becomes, if we're going to be living that long, how are we going to live the second half of our lives? And so my personal belief I'm 62. I'll be 63 this year. But honestly, man, I really feel like I'm still in my thirty s. And when I say feel like that, it's not just physically, it's just emotionally, psychologically, spiritually. I just feel alive.
[00:13:45.370] – Michael
And I know that that's what a lot of people are hungry for. That feeling of aliveness. And you'll never get that feeling of aliveness from how much money you have in the bank, how big your house is, what kind of car you drive. It's an internal process of connecting with our authentic selves. And so again, I have set an intention, I plan on living to be 100 years old at least. I just want to get the three digits, if nothing else, just from my own goal setting. Whatever I want to say I'm 100. That's kind of cool.
[00:14:25.570] – Allan
Yeah. But the problem is there'll be dozens and dozens of us standing right next to you because a lot of us are going to get there. But when we get there, I think this is what scares a lot of people is that we might not have taken care of the vehicle that's going to get us there.
[00:14:45.370] – Michael
There you go. There you go. And that's the thing. It is my belief that there is nothing on this planet that is more amazing than the human body. The human body, in my opinion, I call it the ultimate vehicle, right? And we sometimes forget that it is the only vehicle on the planet that actually gets stronger the more we use it. And so if we don't use it, it begins to atrophy. And so the people that are afraid of getting older, a lot of times it's because we're afraid of being incapacitated. We're afraid of being limped over with a cane or a crutch or whatever. So I'm saying, why not change our mindset? To say, you know what? I do want to live to be 100. And so what do I need to do to try to make sure that when I get there, I'm not incapacitated? Well, you have a perfect show. We got to take care of our health. We've got to take care of this. We've got to take care of this amazing physical body that we have. And so it's important for us to understand the idea that the body is perfect by design, right?
[00:16:01.960] – Michael
And we just have to be willing to do a few things to help it stay and run at its optimal level.
[00:16:09.030] – Allan
So in the book, you shared ten simple steps to take care of your physical body. Could you talk about a few of those, some of your favorite ones maybe?
[00:16:18.550] – Michael
Well, but let me tell you how I got on this health journey, though. This is a really cool story, okay? When I was 18 years old, I got my first full time job. I've always had a great work ethic and so forth. So I got this full time job. Well, at 18, I still wasn't willing to give up my partying lifestyle. I'd go out, I'd stay out at 3:00 4:00 in the morning, get up and be to work by eight. Well, sometimes I'd even spend a night in my car in the parking lot of my job because I'd stayed out partying all night. Well, one morning I wake up, I take a shower, and as I'm showering, I feel this little twinge in my chest. Disregarded. Didn't pay attention to it. I get to work, and I was working at a building supply center and I'm loading these two by fours into this rack. And all of a sudden it felt like you remember the Rambo knife? Rambo? The big knife that he had? Well, it felt like the Rambo knife went through my heart. And it was so debilitating that I literally just blacked out. When I woke up,
[00:17:34.350] – Michael
I'm getting rolled to an ambulance again, and I'm only 19 years old. 18 years old. And they roll me to the ambulance. I wake up, I look around, don't know what's going on. So we get in the ambulance. The guys hooked me up with EKGs or whatever, and the guy says, you can slow down. There's nothing wrong with his heart. So I get to the hospital, there's the doctor. Once again, they've got me hooked up with all the EKGs and everything. The doctor walks in and he says, well, tell me what's wrong. I say, hey, man, you're the doctor. You tell me what's wrong. Did I just have a heart attack? He said, no, you didn't have a heart attack. Asking me questions. And he gets to the point about, well, can you think of anything that you've done differently recently? And I said, Well, I hadn't been sleeping a lot lately. And he goes, oh, tell me more about that. So I started explaining to him how I was doing what I was doing. And basically what happened was my body was so tired, it literally shut down. And what happened is the muscles in my chest cramped around my heart so intensely that it gave the symptoms of a heart attack because it basically cramped around my heart.
[00:18:50.560] – Michael
And boom, it just shut everything down temporarily. And that's when I blacked out. Well, he gave me some muscle relaxers, and I slept for like, 21 hours straight. But the amazing thing about that is that after that incident, I had a really interesting conversation with myself. And that conversation was, wow, my body is smarter than I am. I wouldn't slow down. So it took the necessary steps to make me slow down. And that was in 1978. And after that, I saw the movie Rocky. I wanted to be like Apollo Creed, so I got me a little set of cement weights and started working out. And I've been working out ever since. So in answer to your question, the things that we have to do, I think from a physical standpoint, I would point to exercise. But for me, the most important thing that I've done in regards to my health is something I started 30 years ago, which was meditation. Learning to meditate was the most life changing experience that I've ever had because I've always been an overthinker. And, man, I used to get these thinking headaches I couldn't turn my mind off. And so I took some classes and I learned how to meditate.
[00:20:12.040] – Michael
And it has been just amazing. Again, I've been doing it for 30 years after that. I think an important part that we don't talk about, especially as men, when we talk about our health, is our emotional health. I didn't recognize that. I had a lot of stuff. I had a lot of emotional baggage that I had to be willing to unpack. And one way that I unpacked it was I gained the courage to go to therapy and I unpacked a lot of that emotional baggage that I've been carrying around for a long, long time. And then that's when the third part is making sure I take care of my body, getting annual physicals, making sure that I'm paying attention to how my body feels. I'm not a health nut by any stretch of imagination, but I'm extremely healthy. Again, at 62, I can still bench press over 350. I go to the gym three days a week. So obviously, exercise is a really important part of that. So those would be the three things that I would point to. First of all, when I start talking about health, because you mentioned health in terms of wellness, but also happiness.
[00:21:22.410] – Michael
And I couldn't have gotten to that place of happiness if I, number one, hadn't learned to meditate. Number two, hadn't dealt with some emotional baggage that was keeping me held down.
[00:21:31.950] – Allan
Yeah, and I think that's kind of the crux of all this, the way I phrase it is this I want to be able to wipe my own butt when I'm 105. So buried in that is, yes, I do want to live past 100, but then I don't want my body to not be there for me. I want to be independent. I want to be able to take care of myself. I want to be able to do the basic things that I need to be able to do to be a functioning 105 year old. I'm obviously not going to be doing tough mudders and all that kind of crazy stuff then, but I want to make sure that I'm doing as much as I can to enjoy the life that I have, and that's going to require physical fitness, health, and all these other things. And I guess one of the things that drove me there and I want to talk about this, this is a whole chapter in your book, so we could probably talk for hours on this, I think, yes, the books might even just be about this. But one of the topics in your book, and one I think that's really overlooked in the way that most of us approach our lives and a lot of times, yes, even when we're in our 50s, is we don't embrace joy, passion, and purpose.
[00:22:46.630] – Allan
And I think as a result, just to me, as I start thinking about it, it's like, well, what else is there? But, but, you know, at the same time, but back up. And I said, well, okay, that's I I didn't I never thought about things this way before. I kind of had my moment of what I'd say, okay, I woke up and I figured out that I was not going in the direction I needed to be going, and I had to fix something. And that's, again, part of why I define things the way I do is because I understand I could be completely healthy and pass the test. You do the blood test, I'm like, oh, your model of health. I was in college, I had a similar story to you. I was leg pressing, and I had these, like, crazy swimmers going on in my eyes. I almost passed out doing leg press, not advisable. And I went to the doctor, and he's like, oh, you're healthy as a horse, was the words he said. You're as healthy as they come. And I'm like, no, my body's telling me something. My body is telling me.
[00:24:01.290] – Allan
And what it was is kind of the same thing. I was going to college, I was working, I was lifting, I was just doing too much and didn't realize and wasn't listening to my body. I wasn't listening to myself. And I think when you talk about embracing joy, passion, and purpose, that's what I've come to understand is why I'm here, why we're here. Can you talk a little bit about that? And how does one go about embracing joy, passion and purpose?
[00:24:30.230] – Michael
Well, let me back up just a little bit. So when I was 23, I was living the American dream. I had the house, the wife, the 2.5 kids and all that. And by society standards, I was successful within about a six and a half year time frame. That dream turned into a nightmare that went through divorce, bankruptcy, foreclosure, a deep state of depression. I was actually homeless for two years, living out of my car, and during the darkest period of my life, I received a miracle. I was sitting up late one night because I was too depressed to sleep. And I was sitting at the edge of my bed looking across the room at my bookshelf, when I happened to notice that every book on my bookshelf had something to do with getting rich or making money. And as I looked at those books, this question just popped in my head. Michael, what if he took all the energy and effort you've used in trying to get rich and simply figure out how to be happy? Now, as simplistic as that question may sound, it literally changed and saved my life in an instant. Something in me shifted, and all of a sudden my depression lifted.
[00:25:41.970] – Michael
And I had this amazing clarity that I was going to be able to rebuild my life, and it was going to become extraordinary. And what I realized after that conversation was all my life I had been chasing money and stuff, and so I had gained all the money and the stuff that I thought would make me happy, but I was miserable. So then what happened was I stopped reading books on getting rich and making money. I started reading books on psychology and philosophy and spirituality and metaphysics. I went on this amazing what I'll call my journey of transformation. And it was through that journey that I gained the courage to go to therapy and began unpacking some of the baggage that I talked about. And so for most of us, or shall I say a lot of us, especially as men, we have been conditioned to believe that we really have three primary responsibilities, what I call the three P's procreate, provide and protect. What society didn't teach us as men is how to connect. And in order to connect, we have to be in touch with our emotions, who we are as human beings, and the feeling, the feeling, that's the critical piece.
[00:27:01.420] – Michael
Because for a lot of men, the feeling is the F word. We don't want to talk about feelings because feelings are for women. But what I've come to understand is in unpacking all of my emotional baggage, I have to be willing to get in touch with and tap into my feelings and what that meant. And so when you start talking about joy, passion and purpose, if we aren't willing to unpack our emotional baggage, it's difficult, if not impossible, for us to fully feel and experience authentic joy because we've got it covered up with all this other stuff. We've got it covered up with competition. We've got it tied into trying to look good. We wear these masks as men. We hide behind these walls of invulnerability. We as men, we've got all these defense mechanisms against joy because we're trying to do the things society says we're supposed to do as men with the stuff. And so I had to be willing to unpack all of that. And in doing so, what I discovered, first of all, was this intense, deeply deep, deep feeling of joy that everyone has access to if we're willing to go deeply enough.
[00:28:26.050] – Michael
But again, it's a journey that few people are willing to take. But when we do, we get to a point where we realize we don't have to have anything outside of ourselves to be happy. We don't have to have the wife, we don't have to have the sex. We just have to have who we are. And there's joy in that. And so this has been a 30 year process, a 30 year journey that I'm still on. But what I can say, Allan, as I speak to you today, I am happier now than I've ever been in my life. My life is filled with joy. My passion, which is writing and speaking, I get to do that as a living, which is amazing. And last but not least, I'm fulfilling my divine purpose, because I think every human being has a unique purpose, and it is our responsibility to figure out what that is. And the only way we'll ever do that is to be willing to do our inner work, take that inner journey to wake up to and discover who we really are.
[00:29:35.190] – Allan
Yeah, I was the corporate guy. I was the guy who worked his way up, vice president before I was 39, this kind of thing. And I was miserable, just completely miserable. I had all this stuff. I had all this stuff, and I had all the money, and I felt great. I mean, you say, okay, I made more money. I got a raise, my bonus comes, all this stuff is great. But I was just miserable because I wasn't being authentic to myself. I wasn't being who I needed to be, and I could be great at a job, but that's all that defined me at that point in my life. And there was no passion to it anymore. There was no anything. It was just a point where I was like, okay, this is who I am, and this is what I do. And I can be really good at it, and I can feel good when people acknowledge that I'm good at it. But it just really didn't bring me together until I realized that knowing just one thing that helped me and being willing to share that one thing with someone else in an authentic, open way, where
[00:30:46.210] – Allan
I can say I was flawed. I was broken. I was miserable. While my path won't necessarily be your path, this is where I went. And what I'm doing now is every time I'm faced with a Pivot, if you will, something has to change. I got laid off from a corporate job, and I went home, and I told my wife, getting laid off from this job, I'm not going back. I don't like those people. I don't like who they make me. I don't like what they make me do. I don't like laying people off. I don't like the job that I had. What I like is helping someone else change their health and fitness. What I like is reading a book like yours and having this conversation, knowing that someone else is going to hear your message, and it's going to help them. I think too often we're like, well, yeah, but I've got the kids. Yeah. I'm like, fine, figure that out. But in the end, until you're really focused on who would be the best you, you could be right now, and what can you do, you talked about reading books on happiness and joy and psychology and those types of things.
[00:32:04.600] – Allan
You didn't immediately go to, wow, my depression is over, and I'm there. It was a journey. It was a journey that you took, and I really appreciate that you shared that in this book, because it's just kind of one of those things to say, no, happiness is not an overnight success thing. Joy is not an overnight success thing. It's built. It's built through experience, and it's built through authenticity, and it's built from, as you acknowledge in your book, diving deep and actually turning out some of the muck that you've buried back there that we're not supposed to talk about. We're supposed to just suck it up and keep moving forward because we're men, and that's what we do. My new thing, I'm good at carrying things because that's around the bed and breakfast, that's sort of my thing. I carry luggage upstairs and downstairs. I carry water bottles upstairs and downstairs because I'm the best equipped to do that. But that's not my passion. Yes, we need water upstairs. I don't mind taking water upstairs, but it's just knowing that, okay, within the realms of what I have control over, these are the best decisions for me and the people that I love.
[00:33:21.950] – Allan
And you had a Venn diagram, so if anyone's struggling with this, you actually have the diagram in the book where you can go through and say, okay, what do I enjoy? What are people going to value? What are they going to pay me for? What would I enjoy? What am I good at? What would other people pay me for? And what would benefit the world? And when you find that intersection, which is not something you just find today, but when you find that intersection and you're working in that space, it's pretty awesome.
[00:33:55.050] – Michael
Yeah. Because your purpose will be found at the intersection of that which you love to do and that which other people need. So when you take what you love to do, for example, you love inspiring people with your message and doing the radio show, right? And people need to hear what's possible. People need to hear examples of the challenges and the things that we go through so that they can know that, okay, if I'm going through some stuff, he got through it, so maybe I can get through. So in essence, what you're doing is you're being in service to humanity. And it is in being in service to humanity that we have a feeling of fulfillment. You can't get that feeling of fulfillment because you get a fat check, right? Okay,
[00:34:46.910] – Allan
nothing wrong with it. There's nothing wrong with a big fat.
[00:34:49.680] – Michael
Check, but nothing wrong with getting a big fat check. And it feels great to have money in your checking account. So please don't hear me say that money is bad in any way. But I can assure you, after having all the money and losing it all and now regaining it, thank God. But the feeling of knowing that I've impacted somebody's life in a positive way, for example, somebody sends me an email saying how I literally changed their life with my book. You can't put a price on that. The feeling of connectedness. And so I think for men, because actually, 80% of my books are targeted specifically to men. Because I believe the greatest challenge we have in our society today is to redefine manhood and masculinity. And for men, that's a really difficult thing to do because we're trapped in this antiquated paradigm of masculinity that men are really holding on to even though it's no longer sustainable. But now men are starting to wake up and they're going, you know what? Maybe there's a different way. And so they listen to a show like this, or they read one of my books, or they do something that goes, oh, damn, I've been doing the man thing all wrong.
[00:36:11.530] – Michael
Because here's the key. I think this is the key that most men will balk at. Vulnerability is a superpower. When we can be honest and authentic and vulnerable with ourselves and with others. It's a superpower. It's what allows us to connect. See, because you can't be relational if you're unwilling to be emotional. And emotions, the expression of emotions, is a vulnerable place, which men really struggle with. But I can assure you, when we get comfortable there, there's magic that happens. I wish I could have put it into words for men who go, There he goes, talking about those feelings again. No, but there's a magic that happens when you connect with who you really are. And then you create a space to allow others to do the same. Because our hearts connect. And there's a part of us that connects to each other. And then it's a beautiful thing to see men get past all the toughness, the alpha male kind of macho attitude and go, you know what? Maybe I'm a little scared right now, or maybe I'm a little sad right now and I just need to share and there's so much healing in that process.
[00:37:43.750] – Michael
But again, men are really struggling with it. But the good news is, again, I started writing back in 95, and back in 95, there were very few men talking about this new paradigm of masculinity that I'm talking about. But now there's unlimited coaches and programs and men are waking up, I believe. So just being on your show gives me another reason for optimism that you're even having this conversation with me today. And again, it just fills me with hope.
[00:38:12.690] – Allan
Well, you can't fix what you're not willing to admit is broken.
[00:38:19.550] – Michael
[00:38:20.530] – Allan
You can sit there and say, yeah, someone gets in your car and, hey, dude, what's what's that ping? I keep I keep hearing a ping. No, you don't hear nothing. You don't hear nothing. Everything's fine. Car is fine. Well, you're never going to fix that car because you're not willing to admit there's just something wrong. And your internal dialogue, you're telling yourself about that ping every day, but you're just trying to ignore it. And until you open up and go to that voice and say, okay, let's talk about this ping. What's going on here? And sometimes you need help with that and sometimes you can do that conversation on your own. But you get into your head and you're like, why am I the way I am? Why are things the way they are? And most of us, I think, will point to something we did really well. When I had my problems, I'm like, why do I suck so much at this? I'm so good at everything else or all these other things. Why is this thing because it was my health, it was my fitness, it was my relationships. I'm like, why is it that I can be the best at this corporate job?
[00:39:28.920] – Allan
I'm like, literally, it's almost like it just happens for me now. I don't even feel like I'm working at it. It just happens. And why am I so good at that? Why? But I've been able to do the hard, hard things that other people can't do or they know there's very hard, and I was able to do those. And then it came down to a basic word in my head, and it was commitment and it was me waking myself up and saying, Allan, you just haven't committed yourself to change. And until you do, you're going to keep being this. And until I told myself, well, no, this isn't good enough for me. I deserve better. And then again, I think I was fortunate. It took me eight years to have that conversation, but I think I was fortunate in that I recognized that being flawed was not what was holding me back. The flaw was the ping in the car that could be fixed, but I had to be willing to accept the ping to get fixed, if that makes sense to you.
[00:40:42.000] – Michael
Sure. And here's the thing. And we'll use the metaphor that the human body is like a vehicle, because if we're driving a vehicle and the check engine light comes on, it's letting us know.
[00:40:58.930] – Allan
One time my wife is like, well, yeah, it'll go off. Just keep driving.
[00:41:04.210] – Michael
And that's what we do. Right. We just ignore it. Right?
[00:41:08.200] – Allan
[00:41:08.470] – Michael
Well, see, the human body is always sending us signals that something needs to be looked at. For example, high blood pressure is a signal. What am I thinking of? Cholesterol. High cholesterol. These are all signals that the body is saying something's wrong, so you need to take care of it. And so the key is, number one, identify that something's wrong. Make a commitment that you're going to at least investigate what might be wrong. And this is where men fall short. I've heard so many men say, for example, prostate cancer. Prostate cancer, unfortunately, is very prevalent with black males. Right. And so I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who happened to be black about having a prostate exam. Man, I ain't going to have no prostate exam. Why not? No, what he didn't want to say is he was homophobic and he didn't want a guy sticking finger up his butt. And I'm making fun of it. But the truth is, imagine how many lives could be saved if we could get men to understand that this simple procedure can save your life. That simple procedure could say, I mean, literally thousands of men die because they're afraid or embarrassed to get that simple test.
[00:42:45.350] – Michael
And so again, that's why we have to change that conversation. As men, we've got to get comfortable being uncomfortable. And one way to do that is by having conversations like this.
[00:42:56.970] – Allan
I agree, Michael. I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
[00:43:09.840] – Michael
I'm a huge proponent of unpacking your emotional baggage. That's the piece that men deny. If we're willing to unpack our emotional baggage, I can assure you a lot of the other issues that we're dealing with will kind of take care of themselves. For example, a lot of people overeat because of something emotional. So if you unpack that emotional baggage first, then it sets you up to live a happier, healthier life. Second thing, huge proponent of meditation. Meditation, to me, it's high priority. And so a lot of people have this misconception about meditation, as though you're attempting to make your mind go blank. That's not meditation. Meditation is simply a practice, and mindfulness is the result of that practice. So when I learn to meditate, I simply learn how to be aware and mindful what I'm thinking, how I'm feeling, what I believe. So meditation to me, is high priority. And last but not least is exercise. The body is designed to move, so you got to do something. Even if it's just walking, it's designed to move. So make sure that you're utilizing this amazing thing called the human body by exercising it. Make sure you're eating right, taking care of it physically, and you're on your way.
[00:44:34.790] – Allan
Great. Michael, if someone wanted to learn more about you and your book and your other books, where would you like for me to send them?
[00:44:43.550] – Michael
Just send them to coachmichaeltaylor.com, nice and simple. And that's Michael. Michael. coachmichaeltaylor.com.
[00:44:52.750] – Allan
You can go to 40plusfitness.com 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/582. And I'll be sure to have a link there. Michael, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
[00:45:04.150] – Michael
Well, thank you so much for what you're doing, because again, it takes collaboration. It takes us coming together, especially as men, sharing this information to help men live healthier lives.
[00:45:14.710] – Allan
Welcome back, Ras.
[00:45:16.350] – Rachel
Hey, Allan. I love his title. I'm not okay with Gray. I do love that because I'm not okay with my gray hair quite yet. But.
[00:45:27.750] – Allan
The interesting thing is, I think he may have said it on the podcast, or we may have said it when we were talking offline, I'm not sure, because he and I kept having a conversation afterwards. I do that every once in a while. But he really didn't mean gray from the hair perspective so much as what just people look at aging, and I think you can say, okay, well, I don't know. When I was in my teens and someone was over 30, man, they were way old. And the people that were over 50, oh, my God, they might just die any minute. My great grandmother, I remember she was in her 80s, and I was like, Holy crap, she's older than dirt.
[00:46:10.480] – Rachel
[00:46:10.790] – Allan
I think the phrase they used back then was, she's older than dirt. And it's cool because you have these stories, but I think things are just very different now in that we are aware that there's this aging curve, and we're aware that we can actually do something about it, and so this generation, the baby boomers, and then coming into X generation, we started looking at this very differently. The baby boomers started living longer because of modern medicine and everything else. And the next generation, we're kind of coming in and saying, well, I don't want to just live to a certain age. I want to thrive. I still want to have great relationships. I still want to enjoy myself. I still want to go out there and do sometimes kind of crazy things. And that's part of the living experience. And so I think that's what he really meant by the title was he didn't want to just fade out and disappear like a lot of people seem to seem to do and have done, and they probably still will do, but some people just don't live the last 20 30 years of their life. They just exist.
[00:47:30.750] – Allan
And that wasn't good enough for him. So he wanted more out of life. He wants a great career, he wants a great relationship with his wife, and he wants a great relationship with his friends. And so it's just a conversation point of saying, what are you doing today? To not just fade out.
[00:47:52.280] – Rachel
Right. Well, it's an interesting concept, too, that when we're young, we think we have all the time in the world to take all these elaborate vacations and do all these things, but by the time we get to our retirement age, what kind of shape are we going to be in to do all these things? So it's an interesting concept on aging in that, just like you said, when I was young, I thought my grandparents were super old, but now that I'm hitting 50, I'll be 52 this year. I'm like, hey, I got all this energy. I've got all this ability to go hiking and take all these fun vacations and see all these things. I want to be active and busy. I just don't want to sit around and watching TV all day.
[00:48:40.950] – Allan
That's what they did. You're not going to miss an episode of Jeopardy. And reality is, Jeopardy would probably still be on.
[00:48:50.190] – Rachel
Oh, gosh, yeah.
[00:48:51.040] – Allan
When we're in our 70s and 80s, sure, it'll be a different host, but it's just kind of one of those conversations of, okay, take a deep, deep look at yourself. Okay? And for men, sometimes this is just really hard, is to just say, okay, am I doing the things that I as a man, need to do? To not just provide, but to have the right relationships and to be taking care of myself and recognize that I'm not invincible?
[00:49:32.960] – Rachel
[00:49:33.480] – Allan
I can be broken. I'm a pretty darn durable person. I can get bumped around and beat up, It's just kind of odd. I remember my grandparents when they were my age, when they were my age, the conversations that older people would have is, well, how's your bursitis? And how's this? How's your varicose veins? Which stay tuned to next week. We'll be talking about that. What was that last week we talked about a couple of weeks ago? Yeah, but it's like, those are the conversations. What's your medical element of the week? And I don't really have a lot of those. I don't wake up sore. I don't wake up hurt. I don't have a joint. Yeah, I've torn a rotator cuff, but I tore that like I would have if I was in college. It just popped, it's done. And I was happened to be military pressing, fairly heavy dumbbells at the time. Not smart, but it was what it was. But I think that's kind of the point is you can turn your brain off to that stuff and think you're invincible, but you're not, right? It's hard for a guy, because, like I said, I don't have a lot of those ailments.
[00:50:50.260] – Allan
I don't have a lot of those problems. I don't have to worry about my A1C. I don't have to worry about a lot of different things. So I don't take any medications at all, and I'm generally healthy. And so the thing is, I know at some point I'm going to need help. I'm going to need something's going to happen. I'm going to get sick at some level, I'm going to get old at some level, and I am going to have to ask for help someday. Yeah. And so it's just the question of having the relationships and having the self awareness and the self dignity to know when that is and to not be stubborn about it and say, okay, I guess I'm just not eating pickles anymore because I can't open a pickle jar by myself. No, I'm going to find someone to help me open that pickle jar because I like pickles, and I'm not going to be ashamed of it at any stretch. If I can't open the pickle jar, I can't open the pickle jar. It's just that acceptance of we are going through an aging curve. Even if we're fighting it tooth and nail and we're doing all the right things, it's still happening, we just can do it on our terms.
[00:51:58.310] – Rachel
Well, that's the question. How long can you put that off? Like, how long can you be as active as you can be so that you're not struggling to open a pickle jar when you're 60, 70 or 80 years old? I mean, foreseeably, as long as you manage your health and like you do Alan, you move a lot, you eat well, you could put that limitation off for quite some time, as long as you position your life to do so.
[00:52:25.120] – Allan
But it's still, at some point, probably going to come. Actually, I'm working right now on getting a woman on. She's 102 years old, or at least she was when the book was written. And so I don't know how old she's going to be when I interview her, but I'm like, yeah, I can sit there and joke about being over 100, but just recognizing that, yeah, things are probably going to be a little different when I'm 100. And I might not be able to open a pickle jar and I'm going to be able to wipe my own ass. I can tell you.
[00:52:58.570] – Rachel
Priorities. Yes, priorities.
[00:53:03.610] – Allan
And so I think that's really, this book is just about understanding yourself, particularly as a man, because it was written by a man, and it was predominantly written for men because women tend to open up a little bit easier to their friends about how they're feeling and what's going on in their world. They're much more likely to ask for help than a man is, and they're much more likely to have people around them as as a social caring network than men are. And we men, we can fix that. We can we can make some decisions for ourselves and say, okay, you know, I'm going to start building deeper relationships. I'm going to start sharing things with my wife and with my friends that before wouldn't have shared or wouldn't have said. And so I started this probably around 15 years ago. So I tell people I was the fat bastard, and the bastard part was a big part of it. It wasn't just the fat part. I was that, too. But I decided that I would tell my friends every time I see them that I love them, okay. And for a man to tell, I love you, man, and not just that I'm drunk hugging you, I love you, man kind of thing, but just to really let them know that I care deeply about you as a person.
[00:54:26.310] – Allan
It's kind of one of those things where when you start doing that, it just has this reverberation, this resonance to your life that is significant. And so I just want to encourage you to be thinking about the relationships that you have and be thinking about how the things around you that are good how can we make more of those how can we have more of those experiences and the things that are not serving you? How can we move very far away from those things and just not have them in our lives? Or if we have to have them in our lives, how can we just make them mean less how can we make them have less of an impact on us? And so this is a really good book for that. If you're just thinking, okay, I don't want to fade out. I want to actually have a really exciting second half of my life. And if that's in your head, then this is a good book for you.
[00:55:21.750] – Rachel
That sounds great. Sounds like a great book and a really neat guy. Michael sounds like a neat person.
[00:55:27.210] – Allan
Yeah, he is.
[00:55:29.210] – Rachel
[00:55:30.120] – Allan
I guess I'll talk to you next week. Okay
[00:55:32.060] – Rachel
great, take care.
[00:55:33.160] – Allan
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