Take Some Risks
There is a classic image of a blue-haired senior citizen driving with their turn signal continuously flashing while slow-poking along 20 miles under the damn 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 the hell not take some risks at 80?
It’s true that as we move into (or, slowly approach) our senior years, we do become a bit cautious in how we conduct our affairs. Now, if you have health difficulties that a fall or a serious illness could prove life threatening, those precautions are warranted. In defiance of that comedian’s remarks, our lives are precious. Just because we are closer to the twilight or sunset years of our lives doesn’t mean we want to see our lives end too soon – missing out on a minute of our remaining time on earth, time with our children and grandchildren.
But, one aspect of that joke has some food for thought as we think about our lifestyles as senior citizens. 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. In not-too-recent history, we remember the elder President George Bush went skydiving even though he was well into his senior years. His life of achievements showed that President Bush was not afraid of a challenge. And, by getting out there and doing something fun that may have, also, been a dream of his, he showed us that our senior years are not all about rocking chairs and naps. It’s also a time to live out our 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 President Bush did emphasizes one rationale for “going for it” and taking some risks in our golden 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 do some youthful things with some friends. Now, I am still, and will always be, an adventurer and still in good physical shape to do anything athletic. But, this was a moment where I could establish a deeper bond with my friends by going into a great, thrilling adventure with them and coming out with fantastic stories. Because I am writing this article for you shows that I made it. There were a few heart stopping moments but I wouldn’t trade those moments for the world. I prefer these moments. You, too, may be presented with a chance to make a memory with a loved one by taking a risk. And, it’s worth going for it, in a reasonable fashion, to capture that memory and build that bond as well.
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 deliver that stand up comedy routine you have been polishing up with the family between the horribly bad dad jokes. They say there is nothing more terrifying than facing a crowd and trying to make them laugh. But when you hear their laughter and their thunderous applause, that will be a dream come true for the amateur comic in you – the careful senior who wanted to “go for it” for once.
So, consider taking a few risks in your old age as you plan the leisure 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 now more than ever.