Friday, April 13, 2018

Take Some Risks

There is a classic image of a retired senior driving with their turn signals continuously on and poking along 20 miles under the speed limit on the highway. A popular comedian once quipped that if he was 80 years old, he would “drive like hell” since, after all, why not take some risks at 80?

It’s true that as we move into our senior years, that some of us become a bit cautious in how we conduct our affairs. Now, if we have health difficulties that a fall or a serious illness could prove life-threatening, those precautions are called for. In defiance of that comedian’s remarks, our lives are precious and just because we are closer to the final years of our lives doesn’t mean we want to see our lives end too soon and miss out of a minute of this time on earth and time with our children and grandchildren.

But one aspect of that joke has some food for thought as we think about our lifestyle as retired. There may be some good reasons to get out there and take some risks in life and to enjoy the thrill that a little danger can bring. Recently there was a story about an 88-year-old woman who went skydiving as well as an 89-year-old-male Holocaust survivor who did the same. “If you are afraid you are only living half a life” was the response of the woman when she was asked why she did it. She was systematically working on her bucket list and getting out there and doing something fun and had been a dream of hers for years. Both of these people showed now is the time to live out dreams.

Some risks, like skydiving, can be done with the guidance of skilled professionals to help reduce the actual dangers. But the illustration of what these two people did emphasizes the idea that now is the time to “go for it” and take some risks in your retirement years. For one thing, it’s a tremendous inspiration to younger people when they see their elders exhibiting courage and a willingness to get out of their comfort zone. Many times, your own children may be the ones who need that kind of inspiration that they too should live life courageously and not let fear stop them from enjoying every moment.

Another great reason to take a risk is that it may be a great way to bond with family. Not long ago, I had the chance to go white water rafting with my brothers. Now I am not an adventurer but I am in good physical shape so I can accomplish some things athletic. But this was a moment where I could establish a greater bond with my brothers by going on a great adventure with them and coming out of it with great stories. Because I am writing it shows that I made it. There was a few heart-stopping moments but I wouldn’t trade those moments for the world. You too may be presented with a chance to make a memory with a loved one by taking a risk. It’s worth going for it, in a reasonable fashion, to capture that memory and build that bond as wel.

Some risks you might take don’t involve physical danger. Maybe you need to finally take the plunge and get up at the local open mic night and sing those songs you have been polishing up with the family. They say there is nothing more terrifying as facing a crowd. But when you hear their applause, that will be a dream come true for the amateur singer in you.

So, consider taking a few risks as you plan your activities in your busy retirement schedule. The rush of adrenaline will put some spring in your step and give your heart rate a workout. But it will also add some fun and adventure to your life. And that is something we all can use.

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