Living Life At The Limits

Do you go about life in a “ho-hum routine” sort of way, or are you “Living Life At The Limits”? 

Do you look for ways to keep life exciting, or do you settle for something less?  Living Life At The Limits doesn’t necessarily mean pushing yourself to extreme situations or putting yourself in danger.  Rather, it’s a mindset of intentionally pushing your limits and trying new things.

It makes life more exciting.

It makes life more fun.

Today, we’re going to examine what it means to “Live Life At The Limits”, using a “real life” example I just experienced a few weeks ago.  It’s an important concept as we think about retirement, a time in our lives where we’re free to pursue whatever we chose.  Are you using that Freedom to grasp opportunities to Live Life At The Limits?

Living Life At The Limits Is A Mindset. Do you have it? Click To Tweet,

What Is “Living Life At The Limits”?

While the title may sound “extremist”, I encourage you to expand your way of thinking beyond the intial construct of the concept.  I’m not talking about taking unnecessary risk, though at times living at the limits may push you closer to that line.  More importantly, I’m talking about finding ways to push yourself into areas in which you find yourself uncomfortable, a time….

  • to test your boundaries,
  • to expand your horizons.
  • to try new things.

“Living At The Limits” is a personality trait I’ve had for as long as I can remember, and one which makes me think back to my college summers working in Yellowstone and Alaska.  It’s about curiosity.  It’s about adventure.  It’s about testing yourself.  It’s about having fun.

Is there a better time in life for that mindset than retirement?

This author thinks not.

Perhaps this quote from a text exchange with my friend, Kirk, will help illuminate my thinking (I was teasing him about going for a swim with me in cold quote in the green, he held firm in spite of my persuasion, imagine that…..)

Ironically, his point about “knowing his limitations” proved to be a remarkably prophetic statement, as he clearly exceeded his limits just 48 hours after he sent that text (see the story below).  However, we digress. The point is this:

Find a way to….

  • Push your limits.
  • Challenge yourself.
  • Discover Something New.
  • Mold Some Clay.
  • Go Somewhere You’ve Never Been.
  • Do Something You’ve Never Done.
  • Break A Rib.
  • Swim In December.
  • Crash Your Drone.
  • Live Life At The Limits

Today, I’m sharing Three Stories One Story From My Personal Experience About Living Life At The Limits.   All have occurred over the past few weeks.  As you read these stories, think about ways you can apply the principles in a way that makes sense in your own life.  Find a way to Live Your Life At The Limits that works for you.

(Note:  I started today’s post with 3 stories, but had so much fun writing Story 1 that I went with the flow and focused this post on that first story, in its full and glorious detail.  I’ve decided to add a rare “Part 2” to this series, where I’ll tell the other 2 stories, as well as stories from you, the reader. See the Conclusion section below to join in the “Part 2” fun!)

Here’s The Story…

Smiling before he broke his ribs, and smiling after.

He Broke His Ribs And Smiled

On a recent December Saturday morning, my friend Kirk and I Lived Life At The Limits.  You may remember Kirk.  He’s my friend who hiked the Appalachian Trail, then broke his foot while attempting to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).  He’s the guy who’s planning to complete the PCT this summer, then heading to Nepal next Fall to trek around Mt. Everest.  He Never Stops.

He Lives Life At The Limits.

It’s dangerous when the two of us get an idea to do something crazy together. Something like mountain biking the infamous Bear Creek Trail in the North Georgia mountains.  What could possibly go wrong?

The ending is predictable, and you know where this is heading. Regardless, it’s a fun story and serves as a good (though extreme) example of Living Life At The Limits.  I hope you enjoy reading these words half as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them.  It’s a good story, and it’s been fun to write.

With That, Here’s The Story

Kirk and I decided to schedule a mountain bike ride together in the rugged Cohutta Wilderness Area of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Schedules coordinated, emails exchanged, and final details arranged, we arrived at the incredible Cartecay Bike Shop (visit these guys, really!) at the appointed time a recent Saturday, where we were given a choice.

You Can Do The Easy Route, Or The Intermediate Route, said our guide, Dave. Click To Tweet

Dave, the incredibly hip (this guy is SO cool) host gave Kirk and I our options for the ride as we gathered that Saturday morning in the bike shop.  Kirk and I glanced at each other, then immediately agreed on “The Intermediate Route”.   We didn’t come all this way to wuss out on the easy stuff.

We smiled nervously, not sure exactly what we had just committed to.

The die was set.

We got in Dave’s cool 4-wheel drive van, bikes hanging off the back, and headed out to the trailhead.

Bear Creek is an infamous “Must Do” mountain biking trail which would lead us to sweat like the old men we are as we hauled our aging bodies up a 1,900-foot climb over the next few hours. (Pause for a second, and think about that.  1,900 feet is like riding your bike up the stairwell of a 190 story building!  Could you do that?  A big, big climb).  It’s a legendary trek.  As the guidebook says,  “If there’s one ride you need to do in Georgia, it’s this one“.

Yep, a famous trail.

Soon, a new casualty would be added to its legend.

The Cartecay Mountain Bike Club (that’s Cool Dave in the middle, with the orange helmet.  Kirk & I are on the right)

The Climb

The first 100 yards of the ride immediately tested our resolve.  With an immediate 500′ climb as we tackled the Forest Service road into the wilderness, we convinced ourselves in wheezing thoughts that were ready.  Right?  Too late to question, time to peddle.

Gees, why is it so hard to breathe?

The climb to the summit of the Bear Creek trail was brutal.  We groaned.  We sweat.  We climbed.  We crossed the stream ~4 times.  Then, we climbed some more.

“OMG, is this EVER going to end??”

  • It Was Brutal.
  • It Was Intense.
  • It was Life At The Limits.

It was awesome. 

I love pushing my body to the extremes in physical fitness (I do, after all, love to Swim In Cold Water).  This ride pushed us there, and then some.  Don’t tell anyone, but it may be possible that we actually had to get off and walk our bike up a few of the steeper grades.

Give me a break, I AM 54 years old after all (and Kirk’s got a few years on me)!  I’d say we hung in there pretty well for a couple of old guys.  Let’s just say we weren’t the last ones to drag ourselves up that body-wrecking grade.  There were younger folks behind us, we noted with pride.

The View From The Summit Of Bear Creek

We Made It To The Summit.

Everyone in our group was giddy as we looked over the incredible view from the summit.  Dave broke in with “Well folks, you’ve earned this.  Now, you’ll get the reward of one of the best downhill rides you’ll ever experience.  This is a descent you won’t soon forget.”

Little did he know the reality of that statement.

The Ride Up tested our Physical Endurance. The Ride Down tested our Endurance Of Will. Click To Tweet

The Descent

Kirk and I had a brief chat about his strategy for the mindbending descent.  “I’m going to take it easy”, said Kirk.  “Go your own speed, but I’m going to chill in the back of the pack and ride the brakes.”  Seemed a smart strategy.

His execution, however, is another story…..

The Descent From The Bear Creek Overlook Is One Of The Best In The State. Click To Tweet

Source:  Singletracks

The ride down was intense.  The same grueling grades we’d worked so hard to climb passed in seconds as we whisked down the hill.  It’s hard to describe the ride, but the following video is a pretty good analogy.  I can’t say for sure, but the speed they’re riding seems pretty close to what we were hitting on some stretches (we both guessed we were hitting ~40 MPH)  Fortunately, we didn’t have the crazy turns that these guys are shredding, but we had some gnarly rocks, roots, and dropoffs:

For the first 1,500 feet of the descent, things went swimmingly well.  The group stopped a few times to check on everyone, and folks were smiling like it was Christmas morning (hey, Christmas is only a few days away, I had to weave it into this story SOMEWHERE!).  The adrenaline rush of flying down a mountainside at 40 MPH on a bike is something you need to experience to truly understand.  For some reason, it reminded me a lot of skiing.

Fast, exciting, and on the edge of control.

Living Life At The Limits

So Close…But

After our last stop at about 1,500 feet down the mountain, we all took off again with childlike grins.  The “fast guys” went out first, I went out in the middle, and Kirk and a few other riders took up the rear.  Within minutes, I broke free at the trailhead and rolled out onto the road which had started our adventure only 4 hours earlier.  I pulled up next to Cool Dave’s 4-wheel drive van and dismounted.

Then, I waited.

And waited.

No Kirk.

I should note that it’s impossible to even THINK about what’s happening behind you during these descents.  Your entire Being is focused 100% on the trail ahead, with the navigation of the narrow trail and the obstacles coming at you at breakneck speed.  A video game of sorts, but in real life.   Hence the occasional breaks in the downhill experience to regroup and ensure all was well.  During the ride, you live in the moment.

You Live Life At The Limits.

Little did I know the experience my friend Kirk was going through just a few hundred feet behind me on the trail.

As he explains it, “I don’t really know what happened.  I noticed a tree stump on the right-hand side of the trail and thought I’d cleared it.  I think it caught my pedal.  The next thing I knew, my bike was yanked from under me, and I was landing in a heap on my side.  I couldn’t breathe.  My breath was absolutely knocked out of me, and I was laying there, gasping.  Staring at the trees”.

Fortunately, a fellow rider saw the incident and rushed to his aid.

“Yeah, I’m good”, Kirk gasped.  “Just give me a minute”.  He collected himself, found his breath, and pulled his bike back up from the ground.  He resumed his ride down.  Slowly.  Painfully.

5 minutes later, he emerged from the trailhead.

He was smiling.

The Whisper

“Gees, that took you guys a while”, I said,  “did that other rider wipe out?”.

He whispered, so softly that I misunderstood, “I wiped out, bad”.  His voice was so soft that I thought he said the other rider had wiped out and I figured he wanted to protect her pride.  His glance told me that now wasn’t the time to talk about it, and we quietly loaded up the bikes and headed back to the bike shop.

We were both smiling.

Two Broken Ribs

When we got to my truck, he told me the story.  He was smiling the entire time.  “I wiped out bad, but that was AMAZING”, he said.  “One of the best times I’ve ever had in my life”.  Yeah, I said, but are you ok?  “Oh yeah, never been better.  My ribs kinda hurt, but I’m good.”

“Does it hurt when you laugh?” I asked.

“No, no, I’m good.  But, I think I hit my head, it’s hard to know it all happened so fast”.

A Memory from Bear Creek

We looked at his helmet.  It had a hole in it, we suspect from a rock he’d hit on the trail during his tumble.  Thank God for bike helmets.

Life At The Limits.

Old guys do really stupid things sometimes.  We fall off roofs.  We crash our bikes.   We try to be responsible, but we also enjoy pushing the limits.  Some may call us crazy, perhaps, but it’s the way we chose to live our lives.  Judge as you will, but living life at the limits is important, even if it occasionally crosses the line.

Throughout the remaining 24 hours of Kirk and his wife’s visit to The Great Cabin, we had fun reliving the experience, in full macho detail (men!?).  We both secretly hoped that his ribs were broken so he’d have a good story to tell.  “If you’re going to have the pain, let’s hope it’s broken so you’ll have real credibility when you tell THIS story”, we joked.

It hurt when he laughed.

He laughed anyway.

It turns out he had broken two ribs, a fact which was confirmed when he visited Doc after returning home 24 hours after the incident.

He hasn’t stopped smiling since.

And, he hasn’t stopped Living Life At The Limits, as evidenced by the text he sent me just a day ago…

Living Life At The Limits.


Living Life At The Limits is a mindset.  Find a way to push yourself to explore.  You don’t have to take it to extremes like Kirk and I did (I’d recommend against that, actually), but find a way to be curious. To try new things.  To keep life interesting.

Want a less “extreme” example? Last week, my wife went out with a friend to a town that they don’t normally go to and tried a new restaurant.  She’s also taking some pottery classes, is learning that she loves it, and has a knack for it (shoutout to my wife, she’s really good – pics of her work in Part 2, I promise!).

Her experiments count.

Kirk broke his ribs, and that counts too.

Look around, and find something that works for you.

I’ve had so much fun in writing today’s post that I’ve decided to write “Living Life At The Limits – Part 2”.  I’ll share the other two stories which I deleted from this post due to length and share some pics of my wife’s pottery.   No broken bones are involved, I promise.

I’m also going to give you, the reader, a chance to get involved in the fun.

Want In?  Share a comment on things you’ve done to Live At The Limits.  The sky’s the limit, no rules. I’ll pick a few of the best to share in the Part 2 post, along with the two stories I scrubbed from this post due to length.  Sounds fun, right?  If you’ve never left a comment before, test yourself today.  Push Your Limits, and jump in.   What do you have to lose?!   I look forward to learning from each of you.

What have you done to expand your horizons?

To Push Your Limits.

To Live Life.


  1. Loved the story! And reminds me of a time about 5 years ago that I went mountain biking with my oldest son and a cousin of mine – out in Sedona, AZ. While not as steep of terrain, the outcome was similar. I crashed and went flying over my handle bars – skidding across some rocks. A couple of cracked ribs – but it didn’t stop me from getting back on that bike even later that day! Laughing, though – killer! My son saw the whole thing (he was right behind me). It’s a great story we have to share now!

    Here’s to keepin’ on smiling, and to testing those limits!

      1. Definitely put a smile on my face – it was like a badge of honor! It also put smiles and lots of chuckles on my son’s face – still does!

  2. Can I come visit and join you on those trails… they look gorgeous!!! And thank goodness for bike helmets! I’m a strong advocate of helmets for extreme sports (biking, skiing, etc)!

    I took a spin at a few of my favorite bike trails this year. Since our son arrived, I have run more than I have biked (easier to bring a kid along running than biking!) but I still love getting out there when I can. It pushes my limits and there have been a few close calls where I thought I was heading for a good ole’ crash and burn, but I’ve avoided major injury (so far…) 🙂 The thrill and excitement is amazing and I really enjoy testing my limits through activities!

    1. You and Mr. AR are welcome anytime!! I thought this one would appeal to you! I, like you, run more often than I bike (it’s much more convenient), but there’s nothing in the world like buzzing down those mountain trails on a bike!!

  3. Beautiful post, Fritz, You’re the Evel Keneval of Early Retirement! Just don’t break any bones, man.

    I’ve found myself more inclined to ratchet things up since my late twenties, when I broke out of three decades in a cocoon comfort zone to travel to Peru. I haven’t jumped out of a plane yet, but I’ve enjoyed some rock climbing, sailing big water, and hiking some decent elevation. Main thing is, life is a little bland without a good dose of adrenaline here and there.

    1. Evel Kneival (sp?), now THERE was a guy who lived life at the limits (actually, well beyond his limits!). I think I’ll stick to more sane means of testing mine! I did jump out of a plane once, in college (for an “I-Search” assignment in English, where I had to write a paper about an experience. Hmmmm….maybe that’s where my blogging career got it’s first start?). Adrenaline does keep life fun.

  4. Awesome Fritz. I’ve only broken a rib once, from snowboarding, and since there’s not much you can do to help it heal it kinda sucks. I didn’t sleep much in the following month, but it was a pretty cool crash…

    I’m also a big mountain biker and I now wear pads every ride, since I like to push things and go fast. I just assume I’m going to crash at least once every ride and live with that reality. Once you accept it, when the actual crash comes it’s anti-climactic 🙂

  5. I live closer to the center than the limits. To steal a phrase from Mr. G’s sister — I’m a “pontoon-person”. She coined that word in response to a family member who suggested a group of them rent a speed boat.

    Like Jackie, I like learning new things and having new experiences. But I do need a push to break out of my comfort zone once in a while — luckily Mr. G has some big pushing arms!

    1. Nothing wrong with “Pontoon People”, at least they’re out on the water!! No doubt that some folks have a lower “limit” than others, and nothing wrong with that at all. Regardless of where your limits are, there are always things we can pursue which accomplish the same concept, if we so choose!

  6. Ditto what Cubert said. You are the Evel Keneval of Early Retirement! I don’t know what terrifies me more. A cold-water swim? Or hurtling down a mountain on a bike at break-neck speed? Congratulations to you and Kirk for living life on the edge. I envy you guys. Mrs. G and I are, as she fondly says, “pontoon people.” But we could stand to inch up toward the edge every once in a while. Thanks for this truly inspiring post, my friend.

  7. There is a lot to be said for living large. My 62 year old wife and 62 year old self both endurance run, extreme hike, offroad ride, ski and play competetive tennis. But there is a line between pushing yourself and rolling the dice for a fatal injury or permanent disability. If your friend had broken those two ribs in two places instead of one he might be dead from flail chest. If he had hit with his head at a slightly different angle he might be paralyzed. It is like most other life choices. The greater the risk the greater the potential for gain, or for catastrophic loss. There is some logic in taking less risk as we age since our ability to bounce when we hit the ground and our rate of healing tend to decline with age. Of course having said that, I have broken ribs skiing, diving for a tennis shot and tripping over my fat feet on a ten mile run. Great thoughts!

    1. “There is some logic in taking less risk as we age…”

      Great addition to the discussion, Steve. No doubt about it, we have to balance “the risk”, and I do think a lot more about risk now than I did in my youth. It may seem odd, but I was actually being quite careful on my way down that mountain. Avoiding all risk is bad, but assuming unnecessary risk is also unwise. Life’s about balance and tradeoffs. I think the bigger point I was making is that it’s always good to challenge ourselves to expand our boundaries, and that can certainly be attained without taking undue risk.

  8. Quite the story and ride (literally) Fritz! This is a great message. Making yourself uncomfortable means your pushing, and ultimately expanding, your limits. I focused on running and completed my first marathon a year ago and continue to set physical goals. However, I live a very middle of the road lifestyle in other aspects of life. My wife and I are able to save 70% of our current income, so don’t feel any need to make radical changes (aka push to new limits) with our employment situations. We’re healthy, eat well, and fine enjoyment in the little things. So there is nothing inherently wrong, which is a great position to be in. BUT, we need to find more ways to challenge ourselves in giving back and helping others. Do you recommend setting challenges across broad categories (health/wellness, financial, philanthropic)?

    1. First, congrats on completing your first marathon – MAJOR accomplishment!! Second, great point about expanding the discussion to other areas in our lives, and I would agree the concept can absolutely be applied to other areas. Challenging yourself philanthropically would be a great area, and is a great addition to the article. Thanks for taking time to share your ideas!

  9. Funny how life is. I was living faster and more wild in my 20s and early 30s…then I had my son. Now I am cautious and risk averse, at least until he is 18. So I will give myself 16 more years of caution and when I am 52 I can crank it up again….great story Fritz…

    1. Hey Dad! No doubt about it, parenthood and family responsibilities are major considerations on what and how you choose to push your limits. Hope things are going well on rebuilding your life, think of you often (I actually mentioned you this morning when I was taping a ChooseFI show, it’ll be out on Friday). Thanks for stopping by!

  10. I never really look at the things I do as being “risky”, and I assume that’s the way it is with most people who are doing whatever it is that others deem as risky. In all the crazy things I have done in my life, and will probably do the most risky was to retire early, which oddly enough is what most, if not all of the readers of this blog aspire to do. When you walk away from what you know, what you have done in many cases for your entire life toward the unknown of retirement and to make it successful, now that’s risky! You are all “Risk Takers” or will be eventually. Two weeks now and the ribs are healing well and I’m getting ready for an exciting 2018!

    BTW – it is worth pointing out that Fritz was well ahead of me coming down the mountain, he was FAST, I was taking it somewhat easy, as the last in the pack and therefore the danger isn’t always what you would expect it to be.

    1. Glad to hear you are healing well, Kirk. I think you’re right most people don’t feel they are being ‘too risky’ in the midst of pursuing challenges. Instead, I think it makes most of us feel alive. Wishing you a continued speedy recovery and a great 2018!

    2. KIRK!! The Legend Himself!! Thanks for jumping in!! Risk is clearly in the eye of the beholder, and differs between different personalities. Great point about FIRE is “most risky”. In a broader sense of the word “Risk”, you’re absolutely correct. Everyone who seeks Early Retirement should appreciate the risk they’re taking on.

      And….I wasn’t THAT far ahead of you on the way down…..

  11. Pretty cool! I’m a mountain bike junkie off and on during the Minnesota spring/summer/fall season. Beautiful bike by the way! I’ve been scouting Craigslist looking for the perfect dual-suspension bike, but haven’t found it yet. If you stop through Minnesota with the bikes, I’ll show you the best trails around here, and if you have a day or two, we can head north to @Physcianonfire territory where the best trails in the midwest northcountry exist.

    1. We WISH those were our bikes. Rentals from the awesome bike shop. These suckers sell for ~$2500+. They’re amazing, but I don’t think I could ever come to spend that much on a bike. When I ride the mountains with my bike, it’s a $50 hardtail I bought off a local Facebook group! (May have to upgrade that, but it works for now, and it’ll be great for camping!). We’ll give you a shout if/when we get to MN. I’m keeping a Google Sheet Bucket list of places to go / folks to meet. Just added you to it!

  12. What a fun post. I’ve done some downhill mountain biking as well. What a rush. Hope your buddy is recovering okay. As for other stuff at the limits, I’ve gone skydiving, heli skiing, climbed mountains…in ski boots, white water rafted, ran a couple of marathons and a handful of other obstacle course races and oh and I have two kids. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Excellent post. When we became empty nesters, my wife and I learned we needed to rediscover each other. We quickly figured out we needed “adventures” to enjoy and celebrate with champagne. First was downsizing and a remodel of a 100 year old house. Next we learned ocean sailing and now regularly charter sailboats in the Caribbean. Our next adventure is taking the leap into retirement and relocating from a small town to a big city. We don’t know what we’ll tackle after that but we do know pushing the limit is a great way to live life.

    1. Great story, thanks for the transparency. Great that you charter in the Caribbean, we’ve done it twice (St. Thomas and Tortola), and loved our bareboat sailing vacations in that incredible Virgin Island water! Good luck on your transition to the city, and keep pushing those limits!!

  14. I love this post! You are very inspiring, Fritz. I personally find that what makes me push the envelope is doing something silly. The sillier, the better, as far as getting that exhilarating feeling of being alive, laughing with friends, and being really glad to have escaped the cubicle life!

    You just inspired me to do something out of my comfort zone. What’s that? Write my very first post. I’m new to the FI community, and I am not sure if it needs another blogger. I just want to join the conversation, so here’s my entry. I’ve just put my toe in the water! Next thing you know, I’ll be signing up for a polar plunge.

    1. I saw the Tweet about your First Post!!! Congratulations, you’re on your way!! (And, to answer your question, the FI Community will ALWAYS welcome another blogger, it’s an amazing group of like minded folks). Glad I could play a small role. Good luck with the blog (and I’d advise against swimming in cold water, what kind of nut would do THAT??!

  15. i had always figured that sometime i would hike to the bottom of the grand canyon. the grand canyon is far from my favorite place in the southwest, but there it is. anyway, in 2005, when i was 58 a friend and i decided we’d backpack down. stay at the bottom a couple of nights with a nice hike near the river, then hike up to indian gardens with a hike on the tonto plateau, and then up and out.

    we were each carrying, i would guess, about 40 pounds. we went down the south kaibab trail, which loses a mile in elevation over the course of its 7 miles. you can get the flavor of our descent when i tell you that the latter half of the hike our major subject of conversation was hip replacements.

    we limped into bright angel campground, already worrying about our hike out. we didn’t hike the next day, but tried to recover. we both had brought ibuprofen, and my friend had some meloxicam and tramadol. i now call that “trail mix.”

    we made it up to indian garden on the 3rd day, and took a very short hike to plateau point the 4th day, all the while dreading our hike out.

    the hike out was only about 4.5 miles, but gained 3000 feet of elevation, from 4000 altitude up to 7000. we are both sea level dwellers.

    i know we looked pathetic because we got spontaneous words of encouragement from passers by: “you can do it!” except about 1/2 mile from the top when a woman walked up to me and asked: “are you all right?”

    i wanted to do that hike before it was too late. i didn’t know it was already too late. it makes a good story, but it was a miserable experience.

    1. Oh my gosh, what a GREAT story! (You should start a blog!!). I think you’re story will make it into “Part 2” of this series, as an example of a reader who’s Living Life At The Edge. Great story, I’m glad you got it done! Hiking that kind of elevation, with a full pack, at Age 58, is a real test of your limits! Hope those hip replacements work out for you!

  16. Pushing limits can be through adventures and all sorts of physical activities.
    It can also be achieved by revealing your vulnerabilities.

    Both take a great deal of courage.

    Check out Danny’s Wee Day Out for some proper fun and frolics on a mountain bike.

    1. GREAT YouTube video, Mr. PIE. Thanks for sharing (kinda makes you want to do it, doesn’t it – wow, that guy can ride!!). Good point about vulnerabilities also being an area of our life where we should consider going beyond our comfort zone. Courage, indeed.

  17. Nice post! My oldest son keeps me pushing the limits when mountain biking and yes, I’ve experienced a bruised rib moment. It really sucks when it hurts to laugh! I have to admit, without me trying to keep up with him; I may not of had the great experiences mountain biking over the years. We made it out that way to Pisgah National Forest near Brevard, N.C. to hit the trails and do some camping. It was a blast! I like to push myself but take a path with less risk of injury as I get older. Kind of like the path to FI.

  18. First off, “Thank god for bike helmets!” After Mr.Wow’s car-bike collision, I can not preach this statement enough!!

    Secondly, I love your message. “To try new things. To keep life interesting.” I’ve always been a person who loves challenge and testing myself. In the past, I have tried bungee jumping while in Greece, water white rafting, running marathons in Hawaii and Washington DC, waterfall repelling, ice cave trekking in Austria and hiking Machu Picchu to name a few. I’ve come to realize that I get bored easily and need some adventure to sink my teeth into. But it doesn’t even have to be some crazy adventure, just pushing myself outside of my comfort zone on a daily basis is good for the soul. And I thrive on it!

    Props to you for living a life pushing the limits! I admire your passion for the cold swims and now the downhill biking.

    1. “… just pushing myself outside of my comfort zone on a daily basis is good for the soul.”

      Exactly my point, thanks for weighing in. And….there may be a picture of you waterfall repelling which makes an appearance in Part 2! You clearly live life on the edge, wow what a list!

  19. Not sure why, but I never wanted to take risks such as some of you are describing. Just like gambling, extreme sports seemed unnecessarily risky.

    Now, I have never been a sedentary person. I regularly played basketball with younger men until aged 61. My wife and I hike a few times each year in national and state parks. I’ve run 10Ks and one half marathon in my 50s. At age 66, I still walk my way around the golf course.

    My methods for pushing my boundaries seems to be a little different: learning a new programming language in retirement; developing woodworking skills after age 60; founding and organizing a golf league. I guess one might believe such activities are more appropriate for a risk adverse personality. But I don’t think I am particularly risk adverse: my retirement portfolio is described by others as “aggressive”.

    1. John, nothing wrong AT ALL with taking a lower risk approach! Learning a new programming language works! The key concept is pushing yourself outside your comfort zone, in whatever way it is that works for you. Your examples are excellent (I’m envious that you’ve tackled woodworking, it’s something I’d like to get into at some point after retirement). Thanks for stopping by!

  20. Love it! I remember doing downhill mountain biking for the first time. I fell off the bike so many times! Definitely a good thing to be wearing a helmet when it comes to mountain biking.

    Living life at the limits… that’s what I did many times in the backcountry, summiting pointy peaks. 😀

  21. Hi Fritz! I’m new to your blog but this post caught my eye because I’m always on the lookout for great blogs that offer SMART advice AND encouragement for living a life full out. This post certainly applies. It doesn’t matter our age really, what matters is that we keep learning, growing and reaching for the possible. Glad to hear you are both okay and still doing that. ~Kathy

  22. Put me down for living life at the limits.

    Although I’ve also been thinking about this, as my (divorced) parents retired they have both become really fearful….and it’s made me stop and check am I becoming more fearful as I age? If so how do I stop that?

    I’ve always been an adventurous traveller, bolding going where apparently I should be afraid…nothing bad has ever happened, and I do really believe most people are not out to get you, so why should we apply such broad-brush stereotypes to countries and regions?

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