I Only Have 25 Years to Live?!
OMG! What if someone came up to you and told you, “best case scenario, you have 25 years to live!” What would you do? How would you plan to spend those 25 years?
As you know, this past November, I completed my 3,000 mile cross country bicycle ride, and what an amazing experience! This ride changed me in so many ways, it is sometimes difficult to respond to people when they ask me, “how was the ride?” It was life changing in so many ways, you will have to wait for the book! But seriously, there will be a book, but in the meantime, I want to break these “changes” and experiences into small blog posts each week to continue to keep you motivated, and to hopefully “whet your whistle!”
So, back to my title and question. What will you do? Next week, I turn 61, and as I pondered this subject over the last few days, I said to myself, realistically, if I have 25 more years to live, I would be happy, and realistically, making it to 86 would be a good life, and folks, this is my reality! Now I have to answer my own question, I have 25 years to live, what am I going to do?
As we get older, I sometimes think our initial reaction is to slow down, and not take as many risks and challenges in order to prolong our longevity. We get caught up in the notion that being “old” means being less active, and less adventurous. I know there are many people who don’t subscribe to this, but I also know there are many who find themselves saying things like “I’m too old for that,” or “that’s for kids.” You have 25 years to live, don’t you want to make the best of it? I want to see things, I want to do things, and I want to squeeze every bit of life and energy out of those 25 years! I don’t want to slow down, I want to discover, learn, and explore!
We all have choices, and if you choose to enjoy your last “25 years” on the front porch swing, that is fine, but I choose to keep pushing myself and challenging myself. I want to continue to ride, kayak, hike, travel, and enjoy the beauty around me for as much of that time as I can. I don’t want to miss out on things because I have become stagnant and atrophied. As long as we continue to move and stay active, the positive consequences will follow. Now, I am not saying you have to go out and ride across country, but what I am saying is don’t be afraid to face the extra challenges of aging head on. We all have aches and pains, some quite restricting, but if we let those challenges win, then we have given up. We recently went to Universal Studios in Orlando, and as I watched people around me, something I love to do, I noticed lots of adults, me included, acting like kids; some even older than me. There is nothing wrong with acting like a kid, unless of course it is throwing a tantrum, or something unproductive like that! I also noticed many adults who were not only “NOT” acting like kids themselves, but seemed to be suppressing their own kids from acting like kids! Have fun, act silly, do things that bring you joy and laughter!
I have 25 years to live, and I choose life! I choose to be silly, try new things, climb up rocks, ride long distances, wrestle with my grand kids, and kids if they want, take a few risks, enjoy the time with my soul mate, Deborah, and suck every last ounce out of those 25 years! Don’t let your life challenges, especially those that we face through aging, be your excuse to stop living! Look around you at all the amazing people who keep moving forward regardless of their “disability.” People missing limbs, people who can’t see or hear, people who can’t walk, people who have a valid excuse to quit but don’t. Look around you, and if you still want to quit and let those last 25 years be wasted, I am sorry, but if you want to live and get all you can out of this one life, then join me, try to make little steps every day, try and get the most out of your time.
Through this blog, and through my “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Grit” interviews, I hope to inspire you to join me over these next 25 years of living! I would always tell my students, try to never have regrets! I may not do everything I want to do over these next 25 years, but I sure as heck am going to try my best, and I will fight to the end against all the aches, pains, and limitations I have, and I hope you will do the same! For those of you who are younger, don’t wait until you have “25 years,” get moving now, don’t allow yourself to fall into the trap that so many others fall into. Life is truly fleeting, so grab it by the horns and go for a “ride!”