Thrill Seeking After 50 Makes Life More Meaningful

I feel like my 50s have mostly been about striving for security. You know—save the money, launch the kids, protect my health, cement the relationships, settle down for the long haul. All worthy goals, but the recent death of a cherished family member has made me realize I’m missing out by playing things so safe. Life is short. I’m as young as I’ll ever be. Why not take a little risk and get out of my comfort zone, just for the thrill of it?

I’m not suggesting sky diving here. But during my recent trip to San Diego with my daughter Emma, everyone was zooming through the streets on motorized scooters called Birds. “I wanna do that!” I told her.

Emma used Birds to get around Ann Arbor during college, so she was all for it.

My husband was not so encouraging. “Those scooters look fun, but you’re 5-7 times more likely to get into an accident on one than on a motorcycle,” he warned over the phone. “So be careful.”

My Aunt Mary, who lives in San Diego, had more ominous news. “People are crashing those things all over the place. You can’t ride them on the sidewalk, you have go in the busy streets. Why would you want to do something so dangerous?”

But the scooters didn’t look dangerous to me. They looked fun. Young women were gliding around in mini skirts and high heels. Couples snuggled up on one. Teenagers literally flew through the streets. I know I’m a 58-year-old lady, but surely I could take a brief spin. And so I did.

Took me a few attempts to get started, then whee!

In beautiful Balboa Park, a museum and garden filled wonderland in the heart of San Diego, I got my chance. Technically, I wasn’t supposed to take my Bird on sidewalks or down empty alleys, but no one was enforcing that rule except the scooter itself, which capped my speed at 7 mph. Emma found the ride to be ridiculously pokey but it was fine by me. It felt a little treacherous but mostly freeing and exciting. Fifteen minutes we finished our ride and parked the scooters on the nearest corner. The Bird app made it super simple. I felt great!

Challenging myself to do something new and slightly scary turned out to be an invigorating experience. I’m not too old to ride a motorized scooter, damn it! Or do a whole lot of other stuff I haven’t tried yet. With my realization that time is precious, I’m ready for the next thrill.

What should I do next?

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