When I first started contemplating retirement, fear of boredom was an overwhelming obstacle. What would I do if I wasn’t working 12 hours a day? In hindsight, that was a foolish concern, as stuff just crept in to fill my time almost immediately. The mundane tasks of day to day living were enough to keep me hopping. I quickly realized that fiddling with my stock portfolio, playing golf, and trimming the lawn, interspersed with afternoon naps was not the life that I wanted to live. Being a fairly active person during work life, I realized that I wanted that same zest for living to inhabit my retirement as I had while working. So, before retirement began, I set my sights on what my would occupy my time during retirement.
My thoughts today turn to adventuring. I have not, nor have I ever been an adventurer. I have not gone digging for gold, hunting bears in Alaska, racing motorcycles, or any other of the multitude of death defying feats that have been performed by fellows like Evel Kneivel, Jack Kerouac, and Ernest Hemmingway. But at this late date in the timeline of what will eventually amount to a puddle of dust in a box, I has decided that I need to do some catching up. It’s not a death wish or a bucket list, but some sort of inner angst that compels me to understand what I have missed in life.
Maybe it is the culmination of the existential angst I have suffered with since adolescence or maybe it is a death wish, who knows. But lately, I have been involved in a few activities that have edged me ever more close to the edge of edginess. It all started when I retired at the tender age of 59 and thought to myself, “I need to do that solo cross country trip that I always dreamed of”. Well I done done that and got a brief taste of some form of adrenalin rush. It took me about a month of driving across Louisiana, Texas, and California and then returning through Utah and Colorado to do the whole route. To this day, I still reminisce fondly about that trip. Maybe it was the camping in the Texas desert, or the nights in New Orleans, or the youth hostel in Los Angeles, or the yurt in the Utah desert, or the handful of edibles in Colorado, or the whiskey in Austin, or or or who knows what, as portions of the trip are still fuzzy today.
Subsequent adventures have popped up since that day, mostly around camping with my buddies. There was the trip to Maine and the long dreamed about ferry trip and circumnavigation of Isle of Haut, in which we mountain biked the whole island and nearly died on some of the descents. There were also a bunch of hikes and in the Catskills in which potential injury was imminent more than once due to the fact that old guys have diminished balance.
One recent adventure that still fills my thoughts today is a trip to Moab Utah with my pal Bob, to ride the trails through the mountains on a couple of dual sport motorcycles. That trip was truly life changing in more ways than one, as not only was it filled with amazing sights and multiple close calls, but it also involved a couple of tumbles in the dirt that I’m still recovering from today. It was a month long adventure, involving multiple side trips in Texas, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. We ended the trip by traveling up the east coast with a stop in to visit another work pal in North Carolina. Another thing that I’ve learned in retirement is – don’t lose track of your old friends. They almost always have some of the same interests that you have and they can be generally counted on when you need support.
Would I do it all again? Perhaps. I do think that the experiences are more important than all of the acquisitions you could ever attain in life. The old adage of “You can’t buy happiness” has been proven many times over for me. Going forward, I’ll definitely be performing a risk assessment prior to launch.