February 7, 2019

Scaling The Heights During Retirement




Betty took this picture during one of our visits to the Grand Tetons. Even though we were there in late May, winter was still in full force on the peaks. I love this photo because of the power, majesty, and raw nature it captures.

It reminds me of my satisfying retirement goal: to scale the heights of my abilities, time, and energies as far as I can. Anything else seems like a waste of the opportunities given to me.  

Several years ago our small group at church was going through a series entitled, "If You Want to Walk On Water, You Have To Get Out Of The Boat." This refers specifically to the passage in Matthew in which Jesus asks Peter to get out of the boat and walk on the water to him. The message is one of faith and trust.

For this post, I'd like to focus on the broader message implied by that title. If we want to accomplish anything of worth we have to "step out of the boat" of our own comfort zone. If we want to grow instead of stagnate we must (to use the same metaphor) risk sinking beneath the water a few times until we learn to swim.

Is it easy? Absolutely not. Safe and comfortable, calm and predictable are more normal choices for human beings. But, are we built to handle more than we do? Yes. How will we know what we can do? By stepping out of our boat every now and then.

What is our personal "boat?" It can be anything: our possessions, our health limitations, our relationships, our self-image. It could be money or financial issues, control over situations or shyness with new people. It is often simply the risk of failure in whatever the subject.

I want to encourage all of us to look at that photo of the mountain not as something cold, snowy, dangerous, and a barrier to what's on the other side. Instead, see it as a challenge to you, a challenge to get out of your own "boat" of safety and scale the heights of a new experience. Decide you want to see what is on the other side.

If you take on this task you will stumble and fall, you might even embarrass yourself for awhile. But, so what? We are all old enough that what others think shouldn't always be the standard we are shooting for.


Get out of your boat and climb that mountain. The view can be spectacular. 




10 comments:

  1. I'm feeling a bit stale lately. This is a timely piece,for me.I need to step out of the boat but totally unsure in which direction. Especially after our son's health challenges lately, am realizing every day is a gift and an opportunity.. I've been a bit lazy lately. Am doing a lot of meditating and thinking.... Betty's photo is an inspiration. Ken out of town in Feb. but let's the 4 of us follow up on a lunch when we can,after that?!

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    1. Drop me an email when he returns. Maybe a lunch together will inspire us all!

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    2. Will do. We’d love to see you and yes, we’ll find some inspiring ideas!!

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  2. Hi Bob! I SO agree! As I get older I find it is a lot easier to just kick back and not push myself...but Pink Floyd had a song about that titled, "Comfortably Numb." I don't want to live my life that way. So I do my best to reach for that next dream, no matter how small, just to keep growing and exploring. Is it any wonder that my favorite quote of all time is Helen Keller's "Life is a daring adventure or nothing!" Thanks for the reminder.

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    1. Comfortably Numb describes too many of us, I'm afraid. I returned from a week at Disney World in Orlando with the whole family three days ago and still find myself dragging. It takes longer for us to recover from a trip, but it is important we don't let ourselves settle into too comfortable a routine.

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  3. I am 79 years old and very aware that I am close to the last lap of my life. Consequently I have thought that I should choose wisely where I put my efforts. But maybe I am over-thinking it. Maybe I should be just a little bit reckless. I think my boat is a little bit of health (bad back) and a lot of self image. I do not like to fail. I would not have thought of that had you not suggested it. I definitely need to get out of that boat. Thanks Bob.

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  4. Bob, I so agree. This is the time of life to let go of fear of failure and take some risks. Getting out of my comfort zone has brought me some of the greatest riches in retirement.

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    1. A comfort zone is safe, warm, and welcoming. It can also be smothering.

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  5. This is a great piece of advice, Bob. In general throughout my life, I think that I have been fairly courageous in pushing myself to take risks. Sometimes, the risks are not the big, dramatic, obvious things, but rather, little things that someone else might not even consider to be a risk. For example, because I am an introvert, sometimes for me attending a new type of social event, or one where I don’t know anyone can feel like a challenge. Some of life’s best experiences come as a result of seizing opportunities that present themselves, but often an opportunity doesn’t look like an opportunity but rather presents itself as a problem or a risk.

    Jude

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