I came across an article from the journal of Psychology and Aging the other day about risk taking. The report said that by the age of 50 most of us stop looking for challenges, behavior, they argue, which ages us. (AARP, July 2012, pg. 62)
Frankly, I would have thought the reverse was true: that taking risks was the danger. I suppose that’s why I’ve become cautious with age. I’ve lived long enough to know that day-to-day life is risky enough without looking for trouble. Just reading through my Facebook newsfeeds exposes me to stories with more drama than a 100 episodes of “Days of Our Lives.” A friend’s washing machine breaks down in the middle of a laundry; wasps build a nest near someone’s front door; a caregiver fails to arrive with necessary medications; a vacationer slips at the airport and ends up having brain surgery instead of sitting on a beach in Spain; a child is born with a weak heart. The ebb and flow of an ordinary day strikes me as one full of challenges. A person might wish to bar the door and lock the windows but life seeps in through the keyholes, bringing with it fortune that is either good or bad. As someone once said, “Life is a crapshoot.”
I admit risk taking doesn’t appeal to me. I crave peace the way a foodie craves good chocolate. Instead of the thrill of a parachute jump, I prefer a good night’s sleep. So what If I gain an extra wrinkle or two? Nestled among the many, it won’t be noticed.
If the researchers are right about the importance of challenge, though, I can see an upside to the abundance of turmoil around me. Many of my Facebook friends are likely to live well into their 90s.
(Courtesy of curlysuevintage.com)