“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.  Security is mostly a superstition.  It does not exist in nature.”

– Helen Keller

“Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.”

– Bill Cosby

Whether you are in retirement or not, it’s easy to get caught in a rut. Fear and self-doubt can quash your urge to try something new, but if you step beyond it, your chances for growth and fun increase exponentially.  Have you ever felt that feeling in your gut that says “I can’t do that,” but when you don’t listen to the voices and do it anyway, you have a great time?   Has your inner voice ever told you something is out of your reach?  That’s a good sign that you should go for it!

The Warrior Dash is a grueling 3.2 mile race up and back down Windham Mountain with 12 obstacle courses in between.  When the 2012 date was announced, my wife Joy and 2 of her friends signed up.  I thought they were crazy!  I opted out of the race but decided to accompany them as “staff photographer” anyway.

On Sunday we took the scenic drive to Windham Mountain.   The anticipation and stomach butterflies were palpable in the car – both Joy’s and mine!  What if she gets hurt?  What if she can’t finish?  Is her life insurance in force?  (just kidding).   It’s crazy for a middle-aged person to try this!  Yet, here we were at the base of a mountain on a hot and humid Sunday, staring up at the next round of participants starting up the muddy, obstacle-filled course.

Joy and friends moments before starting the race

People of all ages were there for the race –from teenagers to 70+ year olds!   I went to the finish line with my camera and hoped for the best for my wife and her friends as they got in line for their chance.  The regret of being a bystander started to sink in.

As people crossed the finish line, the exhilaration was evident in every single mud stained face, and not a single person looked disappointed or discouraged.   As I asked finishers “how was it?,” the responses ranged from “amazing” to “a great test of willpower”.  “Did you think you could make it?”, I asked a 60+ year old who had just finished.  He said “I wasn’t going to do this, but my son convinced me to give it a try.  I’m so glad I didn’t listen to my fear!”  His son walked over and gave him a congratulatory hug.  Memories!  Just after my wife finished, I snapped a picture of her, which I think is worth a thousand words.

Joy, moments after crossing the finish line – no regrets!

The race results were broken into age groups posted here – notice the 60 and over age group? If your health precludes participating at an event like this, you can always volunteer or cheer on your friends!  They had an after party, and every participant got a medal, warrior helmet and a t-shirt. The cost?  $65 per registrant.  You can even raise money in the process (being generous is another path to happiness).   You can also support Saint Jude’s Children’s Research by becoming a Saint Jude Warrior!

Now, I regret not participating.  I let my inner voice get the best of me and I missed out on the camaraderie,  memories and challenge.  Next year, I am definitely going   to be a participant and not a bystander!

In summary, one of the surest ways to have fun and grow as an individual at any age is to step out of your comfort zone.  It’s always a little scary when we try something that is new, different or challenging, but if you try, you might just have a great time!

Warrior Dash participants created a huge pile of the sneakers they used in the race

Links:  Forbes Magazine Getting out of Your Comfort Zone article


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