The other day I was talking to a gentleman about how, in our Victory Laps, we have the opportunity to start living like a kid again. He thought that was a little weird, but I think I finally won him over by triggering some long forgotten memories in him.
Remember back to when you were a kid in school. Back then, we had no fears and anything seemed possible. We dreamt such big dreams, like competing in the Olympics or becoming the president of a large company.
Life used to be such an adventure back when we were young but unfortunately over time we tend to bury our hopes and dreams, deep down inside us. We are driven to obtain financial security for our families and save up enough for eventual retirement but at some point we allow ourselves to be assimilated by our jobs and start following the crowd.
We end up acting like everyone else, without knowing exactly where they are taking us, and live by rules drawn up by someone else. As a result, many people just sit back and watch their dreams slowly wither and die. They follow the same dull, boring daily routines, and feel overwhelmed by the pace of their lives, their jobs, debts owed and family obligations. When we allow our dreams to die our soul isn’t far behind.
Young people have little in the way of financial resources, but seem to have the ability to live where they want, travel where they want, and have no fear of doing what they want to do in life. We can learn (perhaps re-learn is a better word) a lot by watching and listening to our kids.
The challenge we boomers face is to find a way to open our minds and take a new approach to life as our past experiences and old prejudices keep getting in the way. Don’t settle for just getting by and start looking at the world with fresh eyes. We all need to start living again just like when we were kids.
If You Don’t Do It Now, You Never Will!
Google “Ria Van den Brand’s first roller coaster ride” and be prepared for a treat. Ria is a grandmother from the Netherlands who at the age of 78 went on her first roller coaster ride with her granddaughter. This was part of her plan to get ready for an even bigger adventure, her first plane ride.
Ria’s late husband would never fly, as he had a fear of heights and this kept Ria from ever flying until now.
It’s just a wonderful clip to watch and you can feel the pure joy experienced by Ria, as she laughed and screamed her way through the 30 second ride.
It made me realize that we are never too old to face our fears and try new experiences for the first time, just like when we were kids. Why live with possible regret from not trying something for the rest of your life. Why miss out on all the excitement and experiences that our world offers?
Stop playing it safe, there is not enough time for that and there will not be a second chance. Get off the couch and just do it!
Doing things for the first time keeps your world interesting
The other day I posted my first blog without outside assistance, which was a big thing for me. You see I really don’t like computers, never have and probably never will and I’ve successfully shied away from them for most of my corporate career. But in order to accomplish my goals of establishing the Victory Lap Retirement community, I needed to come to some form of a truce with computers and technology.
Doing that first blog reminded me of when I tried to learn to ride a bike many, many years ago. It wasn’t easy. It was scary and there were a few bumps and bruises along the way, but in the end I got it done and I still can feel the sense of accomplishment, freedom and excitement riding down my street. Learning to ride opened up a whole new world for me. I was able to travel to far away places and try out new things that were previously too far away. Posting that first blog felt the same way to me. I think it shows that even though we are older in Victory Lap, we can still get back our spirit and youthfulness if we choose to and can start living like a kid again.
We Need to Work at Reducing Our Inhibitions (Fears)
When children sing they just sing. They don’t spend a second worrying about who is watching or what others may think about them. The sad thing is that when we age, we often start to care too much about what others think. We have been conditioned over time to worry and play it safe, to keep looking over our shoulder worrying about what our boss is thinking and what tomorrow may bring. We are willing to give up our personal freedom and who we are so that we can achieve financial security for our family. That’s not what I call living and the sooner we can get away from that, the better off we will be.
Financial Independence Means Freedom Again
Achieving financial independence means that most of your major responsibilities will now be behind you. Stress levels will be lower and your mind, will slow down and stop racing all over the place. Instead of always worrying about the future you can stay in and focus on the beauty of the moment.
This will require some work on our part because after spending years competing and trying to survive in the corporate world we’ve soured and hardened. A period of pro-longed stress will do that to you. But there is hope, as life is far from over and, with looking at the world through fresh eyes and an open mind, there is no reason that we can not become as happy as we were like when we were younger. We just need to re-learn how to appreciate the little things in life again. We need to become curious again. We need to become excited about the prospects and be willing to try new things for the first time. Don’t remain stuck in old patterns of living.
It’s good feeling like a kid again. You should give it a try!
Mike Drak is an author, blogger and speaker based in Toronto. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Victory Lap Retirement, co-authored with Hub CFO Jonathan Chevreau, is now available for preorders online and should be available in bookstores early this fall. This blog is reprinted from Mike’s site with permission.