Posted On October 13, 2017

Learning to Soar

Reprinted with permission.

I am reminded today of Richard Bach’s epic work Johnathan Livingston Seagull in which a non-conforming seagull finds happiness, peace and a way to help others by sticking to his commitment to reject conformity and challenge himself to learn the most he can about flight.

I think retirement has become a portal with two doors. Choose door number one and you arrive in a land where everything is as expected and you gradually age and drift away – as expected. Choose door number two on the other hand and you arrive in a place where your accumulated knowledge from your time on earth is but a stepping stone to unlimited opportunities. Far from slipping into decline, this is a place where a 79 year old Japanese man becomes runway fashion model and a one hundred and five year old man sets the Guinness book record for oldest person ever to ride a non-inversion roller coaster.

Talk about a new vision of modern man as a role model!

Think for a moment what you could accomplish if you managed to unshackle yourself from the well-worn stereotype that you have been dragging about. Would you go back to school? Take up a new hobby? Set a new world record? Or perhaps, you might decide to continue the life work of your dear departed life partner. That’s what 88 year old Clayton Shelburne of Indiana decided to do. His wife of 66 years had a longtime hobby of making blankets for people in need and when she passed away he decided to continue making the blankets in her memory. Although he had assisted with cutting up the fabric while she was alive, he had never sewn a single stitch until he was faced with flying solo. Did he let this stop him? Not in the least – he now donates blankets regularly to his local police department and children’s hospital.

The age of internet has completely changed what you can learn, the goals that you can set for yourself, and the means by which you can touch another person’s life. The secret to getting started is simply to realize “that you have already arrived”. The limitations that you face are only those that you place upon yourself. The question is, are you ready to soar?