I love a good challenge. I love the thrill of chasing something down, making progress little by little as I move towards that finish line. Once the challenge is complete, it's onto the next one. A new mountain to scale. This way of living is part of what keeps me feeling vibrant and energized in my 60s: new and interesting challenges as often as possible.
For many, however, this is not their mindset. I have encountered so many people, especially in midlife and beyond, who don't look at life through this lens. It seems like, when they get to be a certain age, people tend to commit to a life of minimal struggle. No new challenges. The path of least resistance is the right one. The comfort zone mentality sets in.
This doesn't really make sense to me, and as a pro-aging lifestyle influencer and model, this is the kind of mentality I am trying to change, the legacy I want to leave. That's MY challenge.
Feed Your Curiosity
Remember when you were a kid and you came across something new and exciting? Odds are, you didn't worry about the potential repercussions or every single negative outcome that could come out of a situation. You probably just went for it head-on, eager for an adventure. That's the kind of attitude people tend to lose. That innate sense of curiosity about the world.
I'm certainly not saying to be reckless. But I am saying to embrace your curiosity. This applies to trying new cultures (TRAVEL TRAVEL TRAVEL!), new workout routines, new eating protocols, and anything else that you're unfamiliar with, but that you know might pay dividends for you once you've tried it. How do you know your favorite travel destination that will expand your personal growth isn't just sitting out there, waiting for you to visit? How do you know you won't instantly fall in love with boxing, spinning, yoga, Pilates, or any other exercise routine you've never tried before? Are you sure your current nutritional program is the best one for you, and that a different one won't make you feel 10X better?
All of these new concepts are stimulating for the mind and body, for you are diving headfirst into the unknown. As I always say, “What’s the worst that can happen?” You don’t love it. So? It wasn’t enjoyable, so don’t do it again!
This is the kind of thing that keeps you intentionally engaged in life
Aaaas usual, negative aging stereotypes are the main culprit behind people in midlife and beyond not taking on new challenges. Society tells us that, by that point in your life, you should have it figured out and you deserve to rest and relax. You know what you like, you know what you don't like, and that's all there is to it. Hell, they even gave the concept of tackling new challenges or adventures at this age a negative name: the "midlife crisis."Who's to say a 50- or 60-something-year-old person hasn't decided against trying something new for fear of it being labeled a "midlife crisis?"
That's what keeps me, Gail Gensler, charging along on my journey. Changing the narrative about aging through fashion, fitness, and lifestyle influencing is a MASSIVE undertaking. So massive that, admittedly, there's a chance I won't live to see the day when those my age are treated like the capable, vibrant people we are. Yet I keep on pushing the boulder up the hill, little by little, every day. This challenge, along with the smaller ones I set for myself, is what keeps me curious, active, determined, and evolving as a person. A 61-year-old should be a finished product in this life? Hardly.
Find that thing you've always wanted to try and pursue it with every ounce of effort you have. Win, lose, or draw, you'll have come out of it a smarter, stronger, more stimulated, and overall better version of yourself, no matter if you're 25 or 85.
As Dr. Seuss said, "Today is your day, your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!"