It was a daring move, especially when we signed up and realized all the other participants were in their early 20’s and 30’s. We, however, are 60 and 56 respectively. We had talked it over the day before, and finally agreed, “What the heck, let’s do it.” “It” was an all-day whitewater rafting trip down the Chiriqui River in Panama.

The background is that we are not novices around the water, and absolutely know the risks. We had both been whitewater rafting down the Snake River in Jackson, WY, albeit 20 years ago. In addition we have been kayaking, both singly and tandem, in the San Francisco Bay, Monterey, and Barbados. My husband used to be on a rowing team, and I grew up on a boat learning to paddle a dinghy around most of the Channel Islands before I was 10. We definitely had experience.

As we met our fellow paddlers that morning my husband and I looked at each other with that deer in the headlights kind of shock. What had we done? Were we just too old for this? And then everyone went around, sharing their experience or lack thereof. It seemed that we were the only two people with any experience except, of course, our guides. Oh great!

As the guides explained how to paddle, they emphasized the importance of pushing deep into the water to get the maximum pull. They asked for a couple of volunteers with the most experience who could paddle pretty consistently to please sit up front. Everyone turned to us and stared. Here’s what I knew: the couple that sits up front also gets hit in the face with the most water. We agreed, and smiled weakly.

Just before we entered our first rapid (rating scale of 3+), the young lady behind my husband mumbled “shiza” in German. As for me, I realized that regardless of what happened, my husband and I were doing something that truly made us feel alive, vibrant, and the falsity of age and numbers be damned.

Take action now; it’s not a dress rehearsal! #ClearPathForward #midlife #vitality Click To Tweet

You have a choice each day as to how you want to live your life. And, while most days there is a routine and sameness, it’s up to you to inject an energy and vitality. What this requires is stepping out of your routine, and taking a risk or adventure that sends a sense of fear and exhilaration coursing through your veins. It’s that type of activity that prompts you say to yourself “shiza,” while deep down knowing that you are stepping out of your comfort zone.

It doesn’t have to be physically demanding, like whitewater rafting down the Chiriqui River. It might be traveling to an exotic location and leaving the tour group to be on your own for several days. Or taking a course in something about which you know nothing, with the understanding you will share the information with a group of strangers. Here’s what it does need to entail:

  • Pick something you are interested in and wouldn’t normally do.
  • Calculate the risks. What is the worst thing that could go wrong? If you don’t like the odds, then do some pre-planning and preparation.
  • Enlist a friend if it helps, but realize this is for you and not them.
  • Make it happen and experience the thrill.
  • Continue on with your life, feeling more engaged and knowing you are living each day to the fullest.

Here’s the reality: when you inject an activity into your life that stresses you (in a good way), makes you feel alive and vibrant, it energizes and engages you for whatever else is going on in your life. It provides a whole life perspective to know that each day is important. Each day you have the opportunity to choose how you want to live your life. Take action now; it’s not a dress rehearsal!

ACTION: What action are you going to take in the next month or two that makes you feel alive, vibrant, and injects that sense of energy and vitality into your life?

Kathy Hart, EdD’s driving passion is human change and transformation. Her goal is to provide professional women in midlife with the support and resources needed to re-imagine and lead even more abundant, joy-filled and purpose-driven lives. If you are a woman wanting to reclaim your voice, realize a long-held dream, or just live your life to the fullest, take concrete action by contacting Kathy at The choice is yours!

Services that Kathy offers:

  • 1:1 coaching to support the journey into your midlife transition
  • Trusted advisor for leaders navigating work changes and requiring an expert guide
  • Speaking and workshops on human change and transformation
  • Small group work and team development to boost the group’s performance