Australian Football League legend and co-founder of Life Again, Gareth Andrews played football for Geelong and Richmond, was CEO of Richmond Football club, was Vice President of the Geelong Cats for 15 years, worked in the media and was a successful businessman. However, life was not as rosy as it may have seemed. Gareth’s story is an important one. The Life Again foundation, ‘aims to inspire men to be their best’.Gareth and his foundation give hope and inspiration to many. ‘Have you done your best work yet?’ is the question Gareth asks.
Why did you start Life Again?
Having suffered depression myself at 55, I realised I had struggled for many years before that. It’s through that thought process that I realised that most men go through what is commonly know as ‘mid-life crisis’, but they have no one to turn to. Or that is what they think. My goal is to help them change
What have been some of the challenges of establishing Life Again?
Most people, including the men themselves, believe that men can just ‘get on with it’. They’re the tough guys and resilient. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, they both suffer in silence and cry when they are alone. It is a real problem.
And…the great things about establishing Life Again?
The most important joy I get is through making a difference and finding a much closer connection to people than I have ever experienced in my life. Giving comes from the heart, whereas most of us live in our heads, other than our love for family. We actually lose our own self-love.
Do people get referred/or come directly to you?
I deal with groups of people through public speaking, radio interviews, media articles and various other forums. I often meet with people, but the main role of Life Again is getting the message out and putting together preventative programs.
Do you have professionals (eg counsellors) that are part of Life Again?
We have professional counsellors that we can refer people to but it must be remembered that Life Again is all about prevention rather than prescription.
What are some of activities/events that Life Again provides?
Our best known one is taking men to the Outback where I connect ‘blackfellas’ with ‘white fellas’. Other programs are more educational programs on ways to change unhealthy habits, including ‘busyness’
Men and communication….why do you think there is a problem with some men who are unable to express how they feel?
We are taught as kids that we somehow have to be the heroes, be tough and not express our feelings or emotions. I think this is less the case than it was but there are so many more obstacles to overcome in the modern age.
Do you think there is a problem among men who are retired?
There is a huge problem because men don’t plan properly for their retirement. Often they go into retirement with no plan and their sense of purpose is lost. This was all tied up with their careers and when the phone stops ringing, they have nothing to fill the void. Giving back (eg. Rotary, Lions Club, Mens Shed) can be a huge support to them.
What do you think are some good steps to take before you retire to ensure you remain active and connected?
Start putting down a plan in the later half of your working life. Try to re-discover what the authentic you has missed doing all these years and prepare to do it again. Are you Creative?
**To find out more about Life Again or to have Gareth speak, please go to the Life Again website here
PO Box 415
Port Melbourne 3207