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    Push Yourself

    A bit of discomfort can lead to a more vivid, vital life

    A bit of stress is a good thing. I’m talking about a challenge outside one’s comfort zone. So often the velocity of time pushes us towards torpor and its detrimental effects on our health, social lives and cultural awareness. Fight the power, so they say. To be bored is to be boring, and who wants that?

    For all the evidence of an epidemic of toxic loneliness we have read, there is also the reality that we are cogent human beings empowered with the capacity for agency in the world. We are not powerless victims unless we choose to be. There are circumstances over which we have very little control, but we certainly can impact how we decide to interact with the world.

    Focus on What You Will Gain

    The reason we chose the image of the lifeguards running into the water for our YBL Conference is that it symbolizes our feelings of what a vital, vivid life can be. Yes, the water is probably freezing, yes it may have taken considerable effort to get to where they are, but they are with their community and they are embracing the moment. Going to meet groups of strangers, however like-minded they may be, is a bit like jumping into that cold water. We can either focus on the discomfort, or we can focus on what we will gain. The truth is, the cold water is not actually going to cause us any damage, and risking interaction with strangers probably won’t either.

    Total Comfort Leads to Total Decay

    Humans at all ages need to push themselves — we need purpose, we need hard work, and we need community. All of these seem to be natural in our early years, but then the waves of time batter us into thinking, “Why should I bother when I can sit here and be comfortable in my own lair?” Total comfort leads to total decay, and we mean this in the physical and social sense. Show me a person who says “I have had enough of learning, enough of contributing, enough of meeting new people” and we will show you a person who has given up, surrendered, game over, time to turn the lights out. This is a choice. If it’s time to play out the clock, be our guest. But if you feel as we do, that you are far from done, then we are for you.

    Hard Is Not Impossible

    This is why we publish what we do. We illuminate people who are all around us, who are just like us; not famous celebs living celestial lives, but regular people who are living life vividly. Christie last week, about to swim the English Channel with her Mermaids, or a hundred other people we have recently profiled. Are we saying you should take up long-distance ocean swimming? Obviously, we are not all athletes of that caliber. We are illuminating the idea that hard is not impossible. That we are capable of amazing things, far more than the culture would give us credit for. These things are challenges, they can be uncomfortable, and that is really the issue. Are we ok with being stressed, with being uncomfortable? Are we seeking things that stress us? We want to test ourselves to become stronger.

    We need to push ourselves. This involves stress. So what? Together we can handle it. Think about those people in the photo, think about how they felt when they got out of the water: victorious, jubilant, and fully alive.

    David Stewart
    David Stewart
    David is the founder and face of AGEIST. He is an expert on, and a passionate champion of the emerging global over-50 lifestyle. A dynamic speaker, he is available for panels, keynotes and informational talks at david@agei.st.
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