Doug Mackie knows a lot about aging but admits to being surprised at a recent life lesson. Doug is the founder of the Men’s Sheds movement in Canada and it was his daughter who inspired him to start the program. “She learned about the Australian Men’s Sheds in a chance conversation at a conference,” he explains. “She immediately called me and told me to go online, learn about Men's Sheds and start one. Of course I did just as she told me and opened the first Men's Shed in North America in Winnipeg. That was over eight years ago. Now there are fourteen Men's Sheds in Canada, from Quebec to BC, with funding in place for one to open in Summerside, PEI. Worldwide, there are now close to 2,000 Sheds.”
Now comes the lesson. On a bitter January day (-44°C with the wind chill), Doug fell on some ice and broke one rib and cracked another. “It’s no fun for a 76-year-old very busy guy to suddenly have to stop nearly everything,” he says. “I know I need to put this in context - I didn’t hit my head, wrench a knee nor break a hip! But when I learned they can do nothing for cracked ribs other than pain killers and rest, I knew I was in for a new experience! I am very lucky to have a 25-year-old son and a 26-year-old daughter who live in Winnipeg and both have stepped forward as excellent and firm caregivers. So this is new for me - learning to rely on my family members. It’s humbling - but has turned out to be very rewarding.”
This was one of my big lessons from You Could Live a Long Time: Are You Ready? To retain your independence you must learn to accept help. It’s not easy being on the receiving end when you’ve always been a giver, but as Doug found out – learning to receive has its own rewards.
If you’d like to know more about the Canadian Men's Shed Association, Doug would love to talk to you about it. Send us a quick note by clicking this link and we will connect you.