Living Life At The Limits (Part 2)

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I asked you to respond, and you did.

In Living Life At The Limits (Part 1), I told the story of a recent mountain biking adventure, and how it pushed Kirk and I to our limits and beyond (his ribs have healed nicely, by the way.  Thanks for asking).  I also encouraged you to chime in with stories of how you’re doing it.  How you’re Living Life At The Limits, and what it means to you.

The response has been amazing.

As promised in that first post, today I present Part 2, with a total of 7 stories including a few of my personal stories and others selected from the many inspiring stories provided by you, The Reader.  I hope you enjoy.

How Are You Living Life At The Limits? Murder, Cold, Waterfalls & Wheels. All with One Common Theme..... Click To Tweet

Living Life At The Limits

A quick briefer on “Living Life At The Limits” for those who missed Part 1.  Living Life At The Limits refers to the mindset of continually challenging yourself, in whatever way that works for you.  It doesn’t have to be high-risk, and it doesn’t have to be big.  It’s the mindset that matters.

Curiosity.  Challenge. Trying New Things.

Do you look for ways to keep life exciting, or do you settle for something less? Click To Tweet

Today, we’ll look at the variety of ways that folks pursue Living Life At The Limit.  Each story is brief but gives an example of different approaches that accomplish the same goal.

Keep Life Interesting.

Live Life At The Limits.

Story 1:  The Murder Of A Drone

The Official Facebook Obituary

She was a dear friend, for the brief moment we lasted.

She took me aloft and showed me things I’d never seen before.  Her lens showed me views of the world I’ve always dreamed of.  Up high, with her head in the clouds.  Flying free.  Haven’t we all wanted to fly since our earliest years?

She lived that dream, and she saw the world from a perspective unobtainable to us mere mortals.

I liked her.  A lot.

But, it wasn’t meant to be.  It ended suddenly. It ended harshly. I stood by, helplessly, as she died.  In a violent, “ain’t coming back from this” – type of way.  I watched her die, plunging lifelessly into the cold, unforgiving water.  Into the depths.  The land of no return.

My Drone Was Dead.

In fairness, it wasn’t her fault.  She was simply doing what I told her to do.  In reality, she’s pretty stupid and unable to think for herself.  She did whatever I’d say, whenever I said it, whether it made sense or not.  (Side Note: Maybe “She” was a “He”.  How do you tell drone sexes apart?  No offense to my lady readers for using the vernacular, I trust?  It just seemed right to call her a her…)

Given the reality that she was only doing what I told her to do, is there anyone to blame but myself for her death? I caused her death.

I’m A Drone Murderer.

I was, at last, able to acknowledge it publically:

As I’ve processed my mourning about the death of my friend over the past few weeks, I’ve realized I have no one to blame but myself. I killed her, and I did it myself.

I’m Glad I Killed Her.

I killed her because I flew her a tad beyond my limits.  I could have stayed well above those trees, well within my comfort zone.

Or I could drop below the trees and buzz those rapids. 

You know what I chose.  It was a great video, too, and I’d be sharing it with you today if only she hadn’t taken that CF card with her to her watery grave.

I may have killed her, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Don't Be Afraid To Crash Your Drone. Live Life At The Limits! Click To Tweet

Kirk and I now use that “Don’t Be Afraid To Crash Your Drone” phrase often, it’s surprisingly appropriate for a lot of situations when you’re living life at the limits.

Is there any other way?

Live Life At The Limits.

Story 2: A Swim In Really Cold Water (49f/9c)

The last swim of the year. Dec 4, 2017

I’ve written a lot about my love of swimming in cold water (London, Lake Zurich, Lake Michigan).  I’m not going to belabor it here, other than to say it was entirely a “Live Life At The Limits” mindset that pushed me to make my final swim one Monday night, Dec 4, 2017.

It was the coldest water I’ve ever swum in.  And probably always will be.

49F.  9C.  

I challenged myself, and I succeeded.  I thought that achievement should get a short blurb on my blog, so I just gave it one.

Live Life To The Limits.

Story 3:  A Potter’s Wheel – Mrs. Retirement Manifesto!

birdhouse pottery
She MADE This Birdhouse?! Wow, she’s good!

A few months ago, my wife didn’t know a thing about pottery.  Now, she’s creating masterpieces like the birdhouse in the photo above.  Amazing, right?!  When I posted that pic on Facebook, we got 159 Likes! 159 Likes!  We also got 38 comments from friends asking about buying one or suggesting she open a booth at the numerous local Art Fairs in our area.  She’s good.  Really good.

Looks like folks recognize talent when they see it!  (BTW, I promised you’d I’d have some pottery pics!  Promise fulfilled.  She’s good, right?).

She had an interest, and she decided to pursue “Life At The Limits”.  She took the plunge and signed up for a lesson.  She started with the potter’s wheel and brought home some gorgeous bowls and pitchers.  She liked it so much, she signed up for another class in Birdhouse making.  Now, she’s on to another class, learning yet another new pottery technique.  She loves it!

Turns out, my wife is a natural when it comes to pottery.  She’s really good, and I’m proud of her.  She went out of her comfort zones to take a class in an unfamiliar place.  She’s made friends, and she’s discovered a love of pottery.

Because I’m proud of her, I’ll share another of her birdhouses.  She built this one for our daughter, as a Christmas gift.  Our daughter loves sunflowers.

The Birdhouse For Our Daughter (I love that Sunflower!)

Live Life At The Limits

Story 4:  Giving The Gift Of Experiences

waterfall rappelling
Give Experiences, Not Gifts. Waffles On Wednesdays

My friends Mr. & Mrs. Waffles On Wednesday weighed in with a trick that they use to pursue Living Life At The Limits.  Mr. & Mrs. WoW are intentional in “Giving The Gift Of Experiences”, and they make the pursuit of experiences a priority in their lives vs. material possessions.  In fact, they’re in Cambodia right now, having another experience.  How cool is that?

In their words:

We much prefer spending $ on giving experiences, rather than tangible gifts that will gather dust. @WafflesOnWed Click To Tweet

They’ve certainly had more than their fair share of experiences.  The pic above is Mrs. WoW rappelling down a waterfall in Iceland.  How crazy is that?  They’ve also gifted each other trips like white water rafting and going to a New Orleans for The Big Football game.  I love their site name,  “Waffles On Wednesdays”, which is an analogy they’ve come up with to describe what Financial Independence means to them.   Being free to eat Waffles at home, at your leisure, on a Wednesday morning.

Cool, right?  (for the record, I have an appointment to eat Waffles on Wednesday on a particular Wednesday in June.  Just sayin’….).

They know how to live life at the limits, and they know what I’m talking about with the June waffles.  Rumor is, they may be “volunteering” to edit a “Day 3 Video” of the event.  Wink.

Live Life At The Limits

Story 5:  Forcing Yourself Outside Your Comfort Zone

My friends over at Adventure Rich demonstrated Living Life At The Limits by forcing themselves outside their comfort zone.   They chose to tackle their fears and addressed head-on one of their biggest anxieties:   Public Speaking.  They chose to read publically during a recent service at their church.  It wasn’t something they were comfortable with, but they intentionally pushed the limits.

As Mrs. AR writes, “I promptly felt my stomach contort itself into a nervous knot.”

The experience went “better than I thought it would”, and gives yet another example of intentionally pushing yourself into an area that you’re not comfortable with.

Living Life At The Limit 

Story 6:  Starting A Blog – FI Ideas

Susan is a mid-50’s retired engineer and was motivated to push herself to continue growing after reading my “Living Life At The Limits” post. As a result of that post, she launched a blog titled FI Ideas, and wrote her first article on “Standing Out”.  I don’t know why, but it thrills me to know that my words have lead others to start blogs of their own.

Living Life At The Limits.

Story 7:  Spending The Night In The Grand Canyon

One of my favorites “reader stories” was this one from “JK”.  No need for further commentary, his comment on the first post in this series tells you everything you need to know:

Living Life At The Limits.


As these stories illustrate, there’s no limit to how you choose to Live Life At The Limits.  The important thing is to be intentional, to adopt a mindset of curiosity, and to find a way to push yourself …..

  • …To Explore
  • …To Discover New Things
  • …To Test Your Boundaries
  • …To Try New Things
  • …To Live Life, And Live It Fully.

Try it, your life just may be better as a result.

Living Life At The Limits.


  1. Here’s the thing, the drone is not nearly as happy about being terminated. They’re making them with feelings now, you know that right? 🙂

    Those pottery pieces from your wife are beautiful!! She should start an Etsy business, you’d have another income stream.

    Great post, enjoyed that to start the day!

  2. Motivating stories, Fritz. Jackie’s pieces are beautiful! Learning to create pottery has always been on my list, she’s inspiring to me to finally do something about it.
    JK is a good storyteller, what a way to live at your limits!

  3. Murderer! Murderer!

    You should be proud you inspired Susan to start a blog. She’s talented, too.
    Speaking of talent — who knew what secrets lurked within those two hands of Mrs. RM? Those birdhouses are quite charming and original.

  4. I have this big scary audacious goal set in the fall and there is part of me that is talking “me” out of it. I have a million petty reasons to stay in my comfort zone, but one really good reason to get out of it. One way I’m trying to make sure I follow though is imaging my death bed, and wondering if I would have been glad if I played it safe, or just took this one chance that could have turned out to be something great. It’s like I’m looking for guarantees or the safe way to this path, and there may not be a safe way. Just gotta jump.

  5. Thank you for sharing my story, Fritz! After signing up to be a regular reader at our church, I decided to make one of my “focus areas” for 2018 be “Discomfort- the ‘Good Kind'”. I’m trying to focus on getting outside of my comfort zone more often 🙂

  6. Great article Fritz. I love each of the stories in different ways. Public speaking — I’ve heard people rank it number one of fears, even second to death. Almost as scary as writing your first blog post! I truly am inspired by your different stories about pushing the edges of life. I only wish I too could use the phrase “Don’t Be Afraid To Crash Your Drone”. I guess I have to buy a drone first.

    Thanks for including me in your article. I’m up to 3 posts now. And I got my 2nd ever post selected in the Rockstar Rumble. Now I have to face the fear of getting just one vote!

    1. Susan!! Thanks so much for leaving the comment! It pleases me beyond words that I had a small part to play in the creation of your blog! You’re a talented writer, and I hope you enjoy your blog for years to come. Congrats for getting selected for The Rumble, quite an accomplishment for a new blogger! (Proof that you’re good!!). Let me know when you buy that drone, and I’d suggest you fly it for a while before you murder it….

      We’ll keep in touch!

  7. Well, I didn’t murder a drone, but I had to rescue my drone…. After flying my drone in “GPS” mode for a while, I got confident and decided to push the limits. After all, how hard can it be to fly “off-GPS” mode? I was sadly mistaken, got disoriented and flew it right into a tall pine tree across the street from my house. Now, the drone is stuck there, lights still blinking, 75 feet in the air. I don’t know if it was begging me to rescue her or laughing at me saying I’m undeserving of being her owner. After a few hours when it was clear wind was not going to knock her down, I broke down and called a tree service. $400 later, I got my drone back with some scratches but otherwise unharmed. The tree guy said they rescue more drones now than cats!

    My drone and I made up and she is happy again with me as her owner, but we agree to never fly off-GPS again.

    The story on Grand Canyon is great! Now I’m thinking I should do just that!

    Push the limits! but don’t be stupid. What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger. I think some singer sang that.

    1. Funny story, Sidney. I heard someone else say that tree companies are now making good $ rescuing drones. Crazy that they charge $400, but if you have a $1k drone stuck in a tree, I guess folks will almost always pay the $400! May be a good business there!!

  8. I think this theme Living at the Limits is inspiring. We are about to FIRE too and reading all these cool things FIRE people are up to is fantastic. Your wife’s pottery is lovely and she certainly licked up her skills quickly!

  9. These stories are all about courage! The act of doing something despite fear, anxiety and discomfort. Fear has been on my mind a lot lately and how I lived in the shadow of it for a long time. Your wife’s pottery is fantastic and to think she’s only just begun! I took three pottery classes a little over a year ago and I will tell you that the handbuilding (birdhouses technique) was much more fun than the wheel (bowls and pitchers). The wheel is completely misstep and you have another ashtray. 🙂

    Now I use those same pottery tools scraping wax from my encaustic paintings – the artsy fartsy thing I do now. I guess the lesson here is that I “failed” at pottery but I gave it a good try. After that failure, I found a whole new artistic medium and was able to utilize the pottery tools I bought. Meanwhile, I gained a healthy respect for my limits (how many little itty bitty bowls -ahem, ashtrays- does one really need???) and potters in general. Meanwhile, off I go to Knitting 101 tonight. I’m sure it will be at least a great potholder.

    And, I’m sorry about your drone….Ouch….but she went out in a big burst of glory. Too bad you don’t have those pics!

    1. BB, glad to hear you’re stepping out from the shadow of fear, certainly another example of a personal journey to Live At The Limits! Funny you mentioned the “unforgiving wheel”, my wife says the same thing!

      And yes, I’m still crushed that I lost those drone pics. I (almost) feel worse about losing the pics than I do about losing the drone!

  10. Your posts are consistently great… truly have a writing gift! Your wife also has a gift…of making pottery…did she take classes in Blue Ridge? Definitely good enough to sell if she decides to go that direction. I visited several craft shows while we were there before the holidays….and her talent would definitely rank up high…and sell! Finally…thanks for giving Susan @ FI Ideas the “inspiration” to start a blog…she is really good!

    1. “Consistently Great”! Wow, you just made my day!! My wife took her classes at an awesome little studio, just South of Blairsville on Hwy 19. LMK if you can’t find it, I’ll get the name for you. Highly recommend it. (if you go, let Mark know that you found out about it here – he’s a great guy, and an excellent teacher).

      And yes, Susan is a very good blogger. I suspect she’ll be quite successful, and it pleases me to know that I had a small role in the start of her blog!

  11. Holy crap, what an inspiring post! I don’t know what gave me a bigger CMLT. Your “don’t be afraid to crash your drone” mantra? Jackie’s exquisite pottery? The WoWs in Cambodia doing the Phnom Penh shuffle? Mrs. AR addressing her fear of public speaking? Or Susan deciding to join our merry band of financial blogging weirdos? THANK YOU, FRITZ!!!

  12. Great stories…

    Giving experiences is on top of my list now. We learned from friends to buy more tickets for events and then look for friends to invite. Works great!

  13. What a beautiful set of stories, Fritz. I don’t have nearly as many but I admire you both for constantly challenging yourself. I do hope my big decision compensates for my lack of audacity in trying out other things as you both have. Keep on motivating us Fritz. All the best in 2018 and beyond.

  14. My mom has started using the phrase “if not now, when?” She took a trip with her friends, tried ziplining with us, and other adventures. Because each of us gets older by the day (that’s a good thing). Why not try the new thing now, so you have (a) years of memories and telling the stories (b) years with a new hobby, like your wife’s pottery (c) aren’t took achey to enjoy it. (Wording mine, because I’m getting too achey for certain things. I forget I’m not 10 years younger, but my body reminds me at the end of the night / next day.)
    Thanks for some great stories!

  15. Sunday after church my husband and I had lunch with his uncle who’s in his mid-70s. He’s an accomplished machanic, carpenter, and owns a couple of small businesses. A couple of years ago his wife, who always did all the cooking died. Then a niece moved in with him and did all the cooking. Other than making coffee or spreading mayo on bread for a sandwich he’d never prepared his own food. After I told him I’d bring him some soup this week he said, “This might sound silly, but I made tuna salad the other night.” I was stunned. He went on to describe trying to remember how our aunt made it, then boiling the eggs and chopping the pickles and oinions. He was so proud you’d thought he’d walked the AT and I was proud of him too. By the end of lunch he was talking about learning to bake cornbread. How’s that for living live outside the limits!

    1. EXCELLENT example of living life at the limits. Good for your Dad to keep moving ahead, in spite of the loss of his wife. I feel much more empathy for widows/widowers as I get older, that’s got to be a very difficult thing to go through in your later years. Glad he’s found something to get excited about, and exactly why it makes a great “Living Life At The Limits” story!

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