Some old guy once said, “nothing is certain but death and taxes.” Whoever this old guy was, he was probably pretty darn smart. He’s right. We are given a limited time of this beautiful planet. What are you doing with your time?
How are you spending your time?
Are you spending your time worrying about your yard? Are you concerned about the bare spots by the fence that cause your dog to get muddy paws after it rains?
Are you spending your time reading through social media posts? How many minutes a week do you spend reading your crazy uncle’s political posts, and then texting your siblings emojis and GIFS in reaction to his views?
Are you spending your limited amount of time watching two football teams you don’t care about battling it out during Monday night football?
Why are you spending your time like this? What if your life ends tomorrow?
Why we need to take risks
It’s time to come out of your shell. It’s time to do things a little differently. Thrill seekers and adventurers may roll their eyes at the following list. I’m not going to tell you to hop on the next plane, regardless of the destination. (Purchasing airline tickets at the last minute is expensive!)
Instead, take a few calculated risks that get you out of your comfort zone. You’ll be surprised how much just a few changes can liven up your life.
Become a good neighbor
Invite all your neighbors over for a barbecue, even the ones you hate. Everyone bonds over brats and beer. This one action could make your inhabitants of your neighborhood act neighborly again. Mayberry wasn’t Mayberry because it was written in “simpler times.” Mayberry was Mayberry because everyone sat on front porches with guitars.
Spend time with your grandparents
Ask your grandparents difficult questions about their lives. This may not seem like much of a risk, but I remember how even as an adult, how embarrassed I was to ask my Grandma what form of birth control she used in the 1930s. Answers to questions like that are the stuff of memories, my friends.
Join a club.
If you read, find a book club. If you like old cars, find an old car club. If you play the tuba, join a community band. You will have an instant group of people with a common interest. What an easy way to make a new friend.
Volunteer in a place that may be uncomfortable
Go to the nearest city and volunteer with a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Show up wearing clothes designed for work. Ask how you can help. Talk with the residents. Serve them.
Learn some new skills
Do a significant home renovation from start to finish just by watching YouTube videos. Don’t hire that cabinet re-facing. Learn to do it yourself. You are not too old to learn new skills. Imagine how proud you will be when you accomplish something that very few of your peers have done.
Reconnect with those you have lost
Reach out to estranged family members. Life is short. Don't let another day pass without apologizing for a past wrong or forgiving another for something done to you. Do you even remember what pushed you apart in the first place? Yes, reaching out to this person may be difficult, but isn't that what risk-taking is all about?
Book a trip you’ve been waiting for your whole life. Have you always wanted to visit your Grandmas’ birthplace in Germany? Go. Have you always wanted to see the Redwoods? Go. Have you always wanted to spend Valentine’s Day on top of the Empire State Building? Go. It’s never going to be the right time, and it will seem like there’s always a different way to spend money. Do not put travel off any longer.
Write a letter to everyone you love. Assure them you aren’t dying, but take time to write a letter to your spouse, parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, extended family, and friends. Tell others how you feel about them, and why you love them.
We are not guaranteed a tomorrow. Take a few risks. Make yourself uncomfortable. Don’t plan everything to a T. Be spontaneous. Just making a few small changes can literally change the rest of your life.