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Men in the wild

In the new Dutch television program "Men in the wild", the known Bert van Leeuwen takes six men on a physically and mentally challenging journey in the Italian mountains. These men have one thing in common: they want something to change; in their relationship, in their work, in their health or in general, in their living situation. They are not satisfied with their daily lives and seem to have ended up in their midlife crisis. General practitioner and expedition leader Raymond Landgraaf welcomes Olaf (51), Wil (56), Ferdinand (47), Jacob (53), Jan Arie (50) and Gertjan (47) in the Italian Alps. During 6 episodes we can follow the developments of these brave men on 'Alpe Selvaccia'.

[ Here ] you can watch the spectacular trailer and here below the 6 episodes. They are in dutch though.

Earlier Raymond gave an interview to the EVA about the famous midlife crisis. This is what he had to say ...


What is ‘midlife crisis’ exactly?


In life we ​​all go through all kinds of physical and psychological developmental phases. From baby to toddler, from adolescent to grown up. Midlife is the phase between 40 and 50. An important period in which you look back on your life 'until now' and look ahead to the future 'that is yet to come'. This applies to both men and women. You are confronted with the awareness of your mortality. Normally it provides a calm reflection on what you have achieved and still want to achieve in life. But middle-aged people also often experience a lot of disturbing things. You can be confronted with being fired, financial setbacks, the death of parents, friends and colleagues, illnesses, adolescent children etc. All this often makes you think about life and your life in particular. This can cause a real (midlife) crisis if you feel that you have not yet performed sufficiently and you are not really happy and content with your own life. In a mid-life crisis, intense emotions such as doubt and disappointment get the upper hand, which cause a strong need to make very radical changes in, for example, work, relationships, health, etc. 20 to 25% end up in such a life-changing crisis. A mid-life crisis usually lasts 3 to 10 years for men and 1 to 5 years for women.

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What are the consequences and characteristics of a midlifecrisis?


1. You feel disappointed in everything and everyone. Everything is really disappointing: your partner, your children, your job ... You actually have everything, but you cannot enjoy it. You experience life as a burden that you cannot escape. You feel suffocated and victimized, you feel that you are being lived and that others have always determined for you what your life should look like. NOW you have a strong need to do everything differently. The motto is "I've always been there for everyone, now it's my turn".


2. The reduction of testosterone can cause reduced muscle strength, weight gain, but also, for example, reduced body hair, a decreasing libido or problems with (getting or keeping) an erection. This can cause a lot of shame, worry and doubt.


3. You have a strong need to feel young (again) and vital and therefore pay renewed attention to your appearance, health and physical. For example, you go shopping, eat healthy and / or exercise.


4. You purchase unusual or expensive items (clothing, a racing bike, an expensive car, a fast boat or a flashy motorcycle) or you make financial decisions and make risky investments.


5. You suddenly make - and without thinking very carefully - certain radical decisions in life. You resign, apply for divorce, start an affair, book a long journey or sell your house, for example.


6. You want to share your time differently. You have the need to spend more time alone or to meet up with certain friends. You withdraw from the family or you devote yourself to work.


7. You can be attracted to dangerous sports, alcohol, drugs or pills to dispel the sense of futility, doubt and disappointment.


Are there nice sides to it?


The word crisis in Chinese consists of two characters. The one means 'chance' the other 'threat'. In a midlife crisis it can also go two ways. It can offer very nice opportunities to tackle those things in life that you want to change. The threat is that you run too fast and let emotions take over. Then you will make very extreme choices and will drastically change your life.


What are difficult things?


There is often some laughter about the midlife crisis. We soon think in terms of clichés: a man in his balding forties who purchases a flashy sports car and who exchanges his wife for a younger version. To compensate for his reduced libido and to resist the sudden appearance of old age, viagra may seem like a solution. Even though the environment (read: his wife) clearly recognizes the signs of a midlife crisis, that does not mean that the man in question is open to this "diagnosis". As with alcoholism, it is very typical of the midlife crisis that the person suffering from it blames everything and everyone for his bad feelings, except himself. "Old age is a difficult phenomenon: everyone wants to grow old, nobody wants to be old". So the denial is often very persistent. And help is therefore often not desirable.


Do you have tips for people who are in a midlife crisis?


You can best see the midlife crisis as a second puberty. Teens seem to behave apparently unpredictably and resist his parents - without reason. But that behavior certainly has a reason. The adolescent must get rid of the parental family and learn how to make his own choices. Just like adolescents, men in a midlife crisis can react very unreasonably and unpredictably. The midlife crisis is as a kind of delayed puberty, often necessary to overcome the (last remains of) 'the disease to please' and to finally and truly make their own choices. Regardless of what everything and everyone expects from you. Resistance and crisis are sometimes needed to make the decision to live the life you want to live instead of the life you are supposed to live. You are challenged to let go of who you think you should be and embrace who you are. You must learn to be more concerned with what you think and less with what others think about it. Learning to say "no" instead of "yes, of course." Realizing this will help you better understand what's going on. Flight makes no sense. Neither does resistance. After all, a midlife crisis is not about your wife, your job or your car, but it's about you. It is an invitation to ask yourself certain life questions ...

Tips & tricks:


1. Don't panic. Nothing wrong. It's all part of aging.

2. Keep in conversation with your partner and your children. Do not exclude them, but involve them in your personal development and the process.

3. Seek professional help. For example, visit your doctor.

4. Come on [expedition in the Italian Alps];). Sign up

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'Been there, done that' was always my motto. but now I have to admit: 


"This 'men only' expedition is the most precious thing I ever experienced", according to Douwe. 

Foto: ©EO/Henrik Hansson


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