To celebrate our 50th birthdays, my wife and I (along with our three adult children and daughter in-love) went skydiving. Mike, my skydiving instructor, gave me his philosophy on life when he said, “If you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much space.” I’ve pondered that line many times since.
Many of us gravitate toward playing it safe as we get older. We take less and less risk. We envy the young who seem to have little fear of danger. And if we do take a risk, we find ourselves carefully calculating the outcome before we jump.
But here’s what I’ve been learning. Taking on a fresh challenge, learning a new skill or traveling to a different cultural environment is when I grow the most and find the deepest fulfillment. In reality, the really important stuff happens when I’m outside my comfort zone.
If that’s true, what can you do to increase your travels outside the comfort zone? Let me suggest a few.
- Realize Risk is a Good Thing. The reality is—we move toward things we value. If we regularly proclaim that getting out of our comfort zone is a good thing, the more likely we are to actually takes risks.
- Face your Fears. If you feel anxiety when trying something new or different, you are normal. However, you don’t have to be controlled by anxiety and fear. Mark Twain said, “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” Often, the ability to push through fear is the only thing that separates those who succeed from those who fail. That is true at every age.
- Take the First Step. When we were younger, we were more spontaneous and sometimes just crazy daring. With little experience, it was hard to predict every thing that might go wrong so we just pushed forward. The downside of having lots of experience is that we tend to overthink a new adventure and imagine all the possibilities for calamity. We want a detailed map to the destination. Maybe we just need to take the first step we can see clearly and then have the faith we will have the light to see the next step when we need to.
- Just Jump. I had anticipated skydiving for years. But when it came right down to it and the flight master opened the door at 13,500 feet, I was secretly hoping I could kind of just slide into the sky like getting into a cold swimming pool. But when we got to the open door, Mike counted “one, two, three” and I jumped outside of my comfort zone. It was amazingly freeing and exhilarating to free fall at 125 mph for 9,000 feet! I want to do it again when I turn 60!
William Trogdon said, “There are two kinds of adventurers: those who go truly hoping to find adventure and those who go secretly hoping they won’t.” Living on the edge inspires us, stretches us, grows us and moves us to greater accomplishments. If you are out to accomplish significant things in your life, you are going to be spending a lot of time outside your comfort zone.
QUESTION: When was the last time you moved outside your comfort zone but, in retrospect, were glad you did? Please leave a comment below!
When my friend Cathy turned 60 last week, she posted on Facebook, “Aging is like the newest version of a software. It has a bunch of great new features, but…..you lose all the cool features the original version had.” I’m about a year behind Cathy and I completely understand her reflections on aging.
Welcome – This posting launches my new blog designed to inspire transformissional living in adults over 50. Now, some of you think there’s a typo. You’re thinking, “Doesn’t he mean transformational?” No, I mean transformissional. And for the record, my spell checker doesn’t like that word. My mission is to inspire transformation–change, renovation and a makeover in the thinking and practice of older adults. In addition, I envision all the ways our world could be transformed if every adult over 50 would be missional– intentional, purposeful, focused, decisive and determined in the way they live out the best years of their life! Therefore, I deliberately use this combined word.
Observation – Here’s what I’ve observed among some of my peers, as they move past 50. They often start coasting and drifting and develop a “back in the good old days” mindset. And let’s be honest, we do get anxious about this new uncharted territory ahead of us. Some of us fear being irrelevant and pushed to the curb by the younger generations. Along with the realities of aging: health issues, uncertain finances, declining parents and a changing world—life can be challenging. This blog is designed to inspire maturing adults to live with intentionality and leave a significant legacy—honoring the past, celebrating the present with an eager eye toward the future.
Looking Ahead – Sure, we do lose some of the features of the original version but, I’m discovering with my friend Cathy, there are a lot of great new features and possibilities as we live the second half or the third third. I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore relevant topics like Lifelong Learning, Living With No Regret, Thriving in the Third Third, Bucket List or Ladder List? Success to Significance, Dealing With Aging Parents, Second Half Game Plan, Retire or Retread? Beyond Work, and so much more! I hope you will share your ideas and feedback in the Comments section. We will learn from each other. And, please share the link www.DennisGingerich.com with your friends and family. I’m so enthusiastic about our future together, how about you?
Question: What additional topics would you like see covered? Please leave your Comment below!