Why We 40+ Guys Still Need Some Adventure in Life

I love writing for OlderBeast, but sometimes worry I sound like I’ve “figured it all out.” NOT the case, man. I’m right alongside you, seeking smart choices and effective approaches to maximize life—to feel great, look my best, keep getting happier, and live long.

One topic where I feel 100% like “audience”—where these words are for myself as much as you: We should seek out more “adventure”—to inspire fitness, but also to enhance the more psychological and emotional aspects of Wellness.

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I love writing for OlderBeast, but sometimes worry I sound like I’ve “figured it all out.” NOT the case, man. I’m right alongside you, seeking smart choices and effective approaches to maximize life—to feel great, look my best, keep getting happier, and live long. This is especially true when it comes to the topic of adventure.

On this topic, I feel 100% like “audience”—where these words are for myself as much as you:

We should seek out more “adventure”—to inspire fitness, but also to enhance the more psychological and emotional aspects of Wellness.

Defining Adventure

Merriam-Webster says adventure means “(1) an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risk; (2) an exciting or remarkable experience.”

For OlderBeast purposes let’s define adventure as an activity or experience that:

1. Presents meaningful physical challenge: it doesn’t need to be climbing Everest, but can’t be a “gimme” either

2. Is new and different; requires preparation and perhaps some learning

3. Holds some excitement or even “romance” for you; captures your imagination

Why the OlderBeast Needs More Adventure in His Life

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” — Mark Twain

These words are powerful for anyone, but especially so for OlderBeasts. We know Twain’s “twenty years” will go by fast. And these next 20 years are a big chunk of our remaining time here on the planet…even if you’re 40, but especially if you’re 50, 60, or older.

You convinced? In case not, here are some more reasons why.

Great inspiration for fitness and nutrition. You’ll need endurance and strength, and don’t want to carry unnecessary weight.

Example: A few years ago, I hiked up Mt. Whitney in California, the highest peak in the Continental U.S. Having that date circled on my calendar was a fantastic motivator to get into tip-top shape—I knew I’d need to be.

⇒ Often requires improving skills or learning new ones, or focusing on a different fitness activity than normal.

Multi-day cycling trip? Kayaking voyage? Preparing for these types of things shakes up your routine. It gives you that great “I’m getting better/stronger” feeling that’s harder to get with things you do all the time.

⇒ Higher-level emotional benefits. Planning and tackling adventures affirms that life still holds as-yet-unrealized possibilities for us…that we’ll discover new things and encounter the unexpected.

This is precious, joy-enhancing stuff, brothers. I’m not ready to give it up—I hope you’re not either!

OK, You’re Convinced. So Now, What Kind of Adventure?

I’m committed to have three or four adventures in 2017. Challenge for you: make 2017 an adventure year for yourself, too.

Here are ideas to start working with. Not every one will be epic…that’s tough to do for time and money reasons, among others. But even a little adventure goes a long way, and I think it will whet our appetite for more.

⇒ Run, hike or ride up something. Example: I live in the SF Bay Area, and Mt. Diablo is a 3,800 foot-high mountain that’s pretty close, with a (steep) road running to the top. My 50th birthday is a few months away…and I plan to ride my bike to the top that day. I need to get into cycling shape for this!

⇒ Plan a voyage. Maybe a backpacking trip and get reacquainted with the challenge of walking uphill with a pack on, and beauty of being a million miles away from civilization. Or a cycling trip where you get that great “road trip” experience, while having a great workout for a few days in a row. One of these is definitely on my list for this year.

⇒ Learn something physical that’s new and exciting. Rock climbing? Scuba diving? Sea kayaking? Or get back to something like that, that you once thrived on.

⇒ Cross a body of water via canoe, kayak, stand-up paddle board. This one could be epic, of course, but it can be a small-ish thing, too. Go kayak across a lake you’ve never been to. Rent a SUP board and cruise around a harbor.

This could be an open water swim challenge, too. Just be confident on this one before trying it, and take steps to stay safe, like not swimming “across” the lake but tracing the shoreline.

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A small number of you might already be consistent adventurers. Hats off to you, man. I admire you for that, and I aspire to be more like you in that way.

On the other side, many guys haven’t done much adventuring yet. They might be (understandably, maybe subconsciously) hesitant to get into it now. For you guys, with your thriving in mind…

“It is never too late to be who you might have been.” — George Eliot (English novelist)

And lest you think I’m going all literary on you, here’s the normal OlderBeast classic rock quote!

“Head out on the highway. Lookin’ for adventure, and whatever comes our way.” (Steppenwolf, Born to Be Wild – click to listen AND see the awesome trailer for “Easy Rider”)

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REAL fitness New Year’s Resolution: “I Will Discover What’s *Really* Been Holding Me Back.”

So many guys know they need to lose weight, improve cardio health, and/or battle the decline of strength and flexibility. They know all the reasons why and they know reasonably well what to do. But still…time passes. Periods of resolve (especially around New Year’s) are followed by longer periods of less discipline. The body-and-soul health gap grows larger. And the long-term game plan to address it recedes into the fuzzy future.

In truth, do you recognize yourself here? This was me circa 2004 by the way, so please don’t hear this question as criticism or judgment. I’m describing, at least, a sizable minority of 45+ guys. Maybe even a majority.

If you’re one of them, I respectfully believe you need a different kind of 2018 New Year’s resolution, man. Not just to “work out more” or “join a new gym.” These kinds of resolution are easy to make but so hard to keep over time. (So is “eat better,” but nutrition is its own major topic and here I’m sticking to the exercise component of fitness).

Here’s a resolution that may sound harder to start acting on, but which is much more likely to really matter in your life. “In 2018, I’m going to discover and attack the root cause – cognitive or emotional – of my persistent under-attention to fitness and health.”

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Stop Missing This *Other* Key Benefit of Exercising Outdoors

To the extent epiphanies come to me in life, they often happen while I’m running. Being physical and “getting out of my head” frees my mind. Thoughts aren’t required or even expected – they can just come as they may. And that’s frequently when the most original, creative or useful ones arrive.

And something about running in particular nurtures this. Something struck me while running a couple of days ago, and I think it’s highly relevant to your life as well as mine, brother.

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Fitness as We Age: Five Lessons From the “Ground Game” in Football

I love football analogies, man. I probably use them too much. I ought to invoke the images of a symphony or a wild-flowered meadow more often.

But some football analogies just make sense to me at a visceral level. Especially this one: pursuing long-term body-and-soul health (at 40, 50, 60 and beyond) is like committing to the run as a football strategy.

When a team declares “we WILL run the football,” they commit to guiding principles like: Having a more-patient approach to victory – not trying to “win quickly”…Depending less on flashy or gimmicky approaches – what you see is mainly what you get…and Reducing costly mistakes – fumbles are less common and less damaging than interceptions.

Let’s consider what lessons this holds for the pursuit of decades-long fitness. I see five of them.

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Lifelong Fitness: A Path to Sustainable Motivation for 40+ Guys

“I need to get motivated.” I’ve said this a thousand times over the years.

Once or twice in a big-picture sense when I wasn’t exercising enough, or eating well enough. Many, many times in a next-five-minutes sense. As in, “if I don’t change clothes and start a workout in the next five minutes, I’ll lose my available time window today.”

But it’s been years since I’ve had any big-picture motivation challenge, and I don’t even feel the next-five-minutes version that much anymore.

So what changed for me, motivation-wise?

3 Comments
  1. […] with friends or family, or pay for something (fear of having wasted money is a motivator). Plan an adventure that requires getting into better […]

  2. […] at OlderBeast a few months ago, we discussed the importance of keeping “adventure” in our lives. I mentioned plans to bike up Mt. Diablo (near San Francisco) on my 50th birthday. […]

  3. […] goal, but it’s one that has more interest and “adventure” to it, dude. And for 40+ guys, maintaining a sense of adventure in our lives is […]

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