Trying something new can be scary — especially when you get to be a “seasoned citizen.”

An old fart.

Yes, I can say old fart, because I’m one of ’em …

Like I said, trying something new can be scary, but it can also be a helluva lotta fun and pretty damn exciting.

Might even change your life.

I’ve told the story about going to Spain the first time to backpack 500 miles along the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. That was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done.

Guess what?

It was also one of the most unforgettable, life-changing things I’ve ever done. It was so cool that I went back two more times, and I’ll be heading back to Europe sometime next year, God willing.

Same thing with pole vaulting.

When I showed up at that first pole vault practice, nearly 60 years old, way overweight, more out of shape than I’ve ever been in my entire life, and saw all these people sitting around watching a bunch of high school kids running and jumping, flying all over the place, there was no way I was going to get out there and make a fool of myself.

But I did it.

It wasn’t pretty, to say the least, but I did it, and it was really cool. So I did it again two weeks later. I kept it up and eventually, I’ve gotten fairly good at it. Especially for an old guy who never pole vaulted in his life. I qualified for the 2019 National Senior Games. Last year, I was ranked 22nd in the country for my age group. Amazing.

How about you?

Is there something you’ve always wanted to try?

What’s holding you back?

Fear?

I tell you what — fear is all in your head. If there’s something you’ve always wanted to try and learn to do, there’s no time like now.

If nothing comes to mind — you’ve done everything you ever wanted to do — but life has become a little too routine, or you’re feeling kind of stuck in a rut, or whatever, here’s a few suggestions:

  • Learn a new sport: golf is a good one. A friend called me just a while ago and asked if I wanted to play 18 holes tomorrow. I used to play all the time, but I set golf aside when I took up pole vault. Now that I’m semi-retired, I’m trying to make more time for golf. And let me tell you a little secret, golf is one of those things — like sex — that you don’t necessarily have to be real good at to enjoy! There’s another sport popular especially among the older crowd called pickleball. You ever heard of it? It’s sort of like tennis but easier, and really popular with the older crowd. Get some exercise and make new friends!
  • Travel somewhere by yourself: this doesn’t have to be some grand adventure, like walking the Camino. Head to the beach for the weekend. Go exploring somewhere. I went to Spain by myself and I was scared spitless. But I learned a lot about myself. I met people from all over the world and made a few lifelong friends.
  • Cook all meals at home for one week: For one solid week, cook all your meals at home. No take-out; no fast food. Better for your health, and you might just find out that dicing and slicing, mixing and fixing is pretty satisfying. Maybe even fun. I’ve always enjoyed cooking. Look up some recipes. Go shopping (I like early morning shopping, when the store is not so crowded). Give it a try!

Is there something you’ve always wanted to try?

Well, then, go for it.

Why not today?

Whippin’ up some grub