Oftentimes, if we want to stay fresh at our ages, we have to reinvent ourselves. Glenn Bunker of Anchorage, Alaska, has figured out how: by living at the borders of his life.
During my working years, I had an insight that continues to work for me in retirement.
I was part of a high tech, Fortune 500 telecommunications manufacturing company, where remaining relevant in the rapidly changing environment of telecommunications required constant evolution. My insight was that it was on the company’s borders where change came first, which means, where the sales and marketing people were tasked with beating the competition.
Evolution happens at the borders.
I have come to believe that it is the same with people. For us boomers in retirement to live our best lives, we need to continue to evolve and grow. The alternative is stagnation. Evolution happens at the borders.
How do we ensure that we evolve? One way is to create more contact points with the environment outside our core experience— our core activities, people, places, and habits. I think if we can spend a little more time on the borders of our lives, pushing into areas that are new or different, that is how we stimulate our own continuing evolution.
I took up adventure motorcycling when I was 59. My son rides motorcycles and said he wanted to go on a motorcycle trip with me all around my state of Alaska. I had never ridden motorcycles but I took a class and bought a bike. We travelled more than two thousand miles over two weeks, carrying everything on the bikes: tents, sleeping bags, fishing poles, cookstove, and food. At least half the days, we fished for our lunch or dinner. This was so rewarding that I kept the motorcycle and have since done another two-week, 2,500 mile adventure from Anchorage to the Arctic Ocean on some of the most remote roads in North America.
My wife and I spend a lot of time on the borders of our lives. When people hear about our remodeling projects or how my wife and I jacked up our remote cabin and replaced the foundation by ourselves, they ask, “How do you know how to do that?” Often, my response is, “We don’t”.
We also spend months every year in Mexico, learning a new language and culture. I took a three-day kite surfing class. We have friends there from around the world. We have taken on many things at the edge of our comfort zone.
Living at the borders of our lives has added immeasurably to the depth, breadth, and meaning of our experience. I am so grateful that what I learned when I worked now works for me in retirement.