A few years back while deep in my halftime chaos I met with my Mzee pal to inquire him how I would get out of my mid-life crossroads. The discomfort arising from this place or state of nothingness was tormenting me. He told me that since there is little (more like none in my view) light at the end of the tunnel perhaps I should just seek out good conversations with fellow travelers in this journey we call life. That was good counsel because I have benefited immensely from authentic and even vulnerable conversations with folks trying to figure out their season of life. I have shared many of those stories with you folks here and I hope they have been of value to you as they have to me.

Speaking is my gift. I confirmed that during that period of nothingness. I had paused long enough to figure out what my future would look like. That clarity has led to some speaking opportunities. Clearly, when the student is ready the teacher will appear. I love event moderation because those are intelligent conversations, especially on life issues and matters transition. One of my highlights was moderating a men’s event dubbed Silver Fox a few months back. It was aimed at addressing issues facing men in their 40s and older.

That gathering focused on men’s health and how to live longer and healthier. We had a good crowd of fine gentlemen. On the panel was a Mzee doctor who shot from the hip literally. I loved his no-chills analysis on why men are suffering with their health and even dying before their time. Lifestyle diseases, stress, poor eating habits, and keeping up with the Joneses are leading men down dark paths that leave little chance of recovery.

The common thread that came out from the three doctor panel was that we need to be more proactive about our health especially as we grow older. That’s when we are most vulnerable. And what’s causing that vulnerability is something I discovered this week.

You see, I decided to follow the advice I was amplifying during that event. I reached out to this Mzee doctor and made an appointment after months of procrastinating. Men are not comfortable with their bodies being checked because we are not wired for routine checkups. It feels unnecessary and intrusive. Many go to the doctor when they are falling apart and by then their diagnosis is dire.

I have seen Doc thrice and I’m glad I have. He’s become somewhat of a counsellor too. I enjoy hearing from wazees because I tap into their wisdom. This week I shared some concerns after he asked what was on my mind. We all go through self-doubt sometimes and I think this has been my turn. He asked me to go investigate a medical condition called sarcopenia. At first, I was worried he’d discovered a disease in me after I shared some concerns with him.

Sarcopenia is the gradual loss of muscle mass, strength, and function. We naturally wither as we age. One way to reduce or reverse it is strength training. I generally avoid the gym and find it quite boring. Now this condition requires that I start building muscle especially now that I’m already a skinny guy. Should I get worried? I’m hoping my golf, hiking, and running can keep sarcopenia at bay. I will ask doc in my next appointment.

Apart from the physical effects on the body, I inquired if we can suffer mental and emotional sarcopenia. One of the symptoms of sarcopenia is difficulty performing normal daily activities. Doc told me that at this age we may find that we are taking longer to make decisions. We are also more critical of ourselves when it comes to achievements in life. Many of us face our regrets and depending on how many and how big they are our resolve muscle to change course and do better struggles because it has also witherd with time.

So we may need the most mental and emotional strength training of our minds in our mid-life seasons. Maybe that explains why the doctors shared that men in their 40s and 50s are most vulnerable to exiting this life because sarcopenia attacks from both within and without. In addition to our physical and mental health, it could also be social or spiritual. And usually if one of these is off then the other areas are affected too. We need to create a balance where we are fairly okay in all our four spheres of life.

Guys, we are as good as our weakest link. Out of those four areas of our lives, which one for you has been affected most by this condition? Has your spiritual life wasted away to almost unrecognizable levels? Are you socially bankrupt and are left only with fair-weather friends?  Do you have a ride or die? I heard that with some millennials once. Is your mental health being drowned by the Elnino of life’s expectations and demands, both real and imagined?

It’s time we took a pause and confronted our life’s sarcopenia if our goal is to live healthy and die at 95 in our sleep. And going to see the doctor when you don’t have to may be the best thing you do for yourself and your dear ones. Make that appointment and thank me later. It would be a good way to close November, the month of International Men’s Day.



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4 thoughts on “Doctor’s Orders.”

  1. Lilian says:

    Thank you Lucas for the constant reminder…to see a doctor when we don’t need to see one.
    As we look forward to dying in our sleep at 95!

  2. David says:

    Is your mental health being drowned by the Elnino of life’s expectations and demands, both real and imagined? A wake up call indeed to face our life’s sarcopenia before they bring us down. Thank you for this warning….

  3. Joseph Kahuko says:

    Nice read, a timely reminder to seek for a balance in our physical, mental, spiritual and social lives. Tuma contact ya that doktari we also seek an appointment.

  4. Benter says:

    As I read through ‘The Doctor’s orders ‘, I got to understand the importance of balance in life. We at times get drowned in fending for our families that we forget about the fender. Keeping an eye on all spheres of life is important.

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