Trying and Succeeding

zach_peterToday, Zach and friend went on an adventure, a beautiful 40 mile bike ride from Sequim to Port Angeles and back on the Olympic Discovery Trail.

Zach hasn’t been on a bike in 18 months, and in fact, his bike was vandalized back then so he had to use my sadly neglected bike for this adventure. While I question his sanity in jumping in the saddle and shooting for 40 miles, I very much admire his ambition and determination.

He now absolutely detests my very nice cutaway bike seat and has been making liberal use of ice packs this evening.

His adventure, and comments about the resilience of youth, made me think: where do we adults lose the “What the heck, let’s go for it!” mentality? Somewhere along the line we learn to minimize risk, to set measurable, reasonable goals.

Maybe we should try to re-engage that youthful state of optimism and adventure about life. What’s the worst that could happen? Try and fail? Or perhaps even more scary… we can try and succeed.

What’s your version of the 40-mile bike ride? Is there some adventure – physical, mental, creative, emotional that you could take on, and in the process live life a little more intensely and vividly?


Many of us do National Novel Writing Month in November – but (smack me now) for me, that’s pretty easy. The result isn’t pretty, but spewing forth 50,000+ words in a month is quite do-able for me.

One gutsy friend is going to try out for the local community chorale, her first time singing since high school 25 years ago.

As some of you know, my not-yet-ready-for-a-rocking-chair mother qualified for and is swimming in the National Senior Olympics this summer, at Stanford.

Another friend got tired of being frustrated with her job, and finally just… quit. She has lots of ideas, but no next thing in line. She’s trusting her own skills and talents to find a better gig.

The personal challenge that comes to mind for me is the idea of trying open water distance swimming. I swam competitively in high school and college, and while I was not any kind of serious national competitor, I was good at it and enjoyed it.

I’ve resumed swimming on and off throughout the years, and while my 40-something year old body needs a little TLC with the shoulders and knees, it’s been a very positive activity for me. (Except that whole wearing a swimsuit in public thing.)

I do best with a challenge, a goal, and speed is not a realistic one anymore. Open water swimming just might be. In past years, there has been an August swim across the Puget Sound, the Puget Sound Crossing for Kids, which sounds like a great target to me (if they’re still doing it).

So what’s your 40-mile bike ride, the adventure that’s been tickling the back of your brain? Why aren’t you trying for it?

8 Responses to “Trying and Succeeding”

  1. Ilya Says:

    Moving with the family to live in Europe was one such adventure. Laws of unintended consequences and all, the way it made me worse off in every aspect except the sense of fulfilling a long-held dream, it kinda put me off any other bright ideas of the sort.

    I’ll be sticking to less dramatic goals in the future. Like learning another language, or improving my guitar skills… Nothing life-changing…

  2. kim Says:

    For me, it was going back to school after an absence of almost 20 years. Now that I have tackled that mountain, I am not sure what my next climb will be, but I do know that whatever it is, it won’t be nearly as scary as walking into that classroom for the first time.

    I really would like to tackle Latin or one of the Ancient languages…maybe that will be next.

  3. Janiece Says:

    Jeri, I think your swimming goal is a great idea – not only is it achievable, you get the bonus of all that cardio training! Keep us apprised of your progress.

    Earlier this year, I tried out for a local community choir (after a similar absence), but I didn’t make it. My sight reading skills are rusty (at best), and they needed someone with more recent experience. That was a bit disappointing.

    But I’m also pondering a mid-life career change – once the Smart Twins are off the payroll, I intend to pursue a graduate degree and do something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. I’m really over engineering, and I’d like to have a career that centers more around service.

  4. Bill Says:

    Luge at the Salt Lake Olympic luge track. I attempted to luge at the only public track in Switzerland but it was in use for a competition the only weekend I was there. After that I have not picked it back up.

  5. Jim Wright Says:

    I, um, pretty much spent my whole life doing this. Taking risks in one form or the other. Jumping blindly.

    I’m enjoying not doing that right at the moment.

    Though I’m considering buying a business – which would be a major leap for me. Or, I was offered a major military consulting job last Friday, it would be a year of high stress and long hours and one of those things where it’s impossible to make everybody happy but maybe I can make them all equally miserable. It’s also a job that I’m uniquely qualified for, and that I was specifically requested for by senior military commanders. I’m seriously considering taking it – and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the fact that it’s a major, major amount of money isn’t influencing my decision.

  6. Gene Says:

    Congrats on the swimming goal!

    My biggest one yet was in 2007 I completed my first marathon (walked it)of 26.2 miles weighing just under 400 lbs! Yes I am crazy. Then last year I did a half marathon. Both for Team in Training. This year I am sweeping the Mayors Full Marathon. That means I will be following the very last Team in Training participant through the course to make sure all of the participants are off the course.

    I then started thinking about what I wanted to do for my next major jump off the cliff.

    I have decided I want to complete a Team in Training event in all 50 states. To do that I will need to complete multiple events per year (because I don’t want to complete the goal when I am 90!!

    So to do that I am working on getting in even better shape after finishing sweeping Mayors this year and have to get my specialist to buy off on my plan!! Then it is off to do the events. I want to do 5 to 10 events per year!!

  7. MWT Says:

    I’m considering a blind leap to another location sometime soon. But, being the cautious sort, I kind of want to plan ahead as much as possible – so at most it’ll only be semiblind. ;)

  8. Holy Says:

    I’ll come cheer you on from one shoreline or the other – or maybe on a boat between – I’ll be the one lazing in a chaise lounge chair drinking some shee shee drink with an umbrella, going, Go, Jeri, Go!

    I’ve always wanted to be a dragon boat racer – I think that would be cool. Or resurrect my field hockey city champ status and play on a ladies team – I don’t think there’s much of that here – surprising but sad.