You do not have to jump out of an airplane as the 41st President did to try something new in 2009. Try a different type of latte or, for that matter, just try a latte.

“Just because you’re 80 doesn’t mean you’re out of it. You don’t have to jump out of airplanes. Just get out and do something,” said George H.W. Bush, American’s only skydiving president who jumped out of an airplane on his 80th birthday.

You do not have to jump out of an airplane as the 41st President did to try something new in 2009. Try a different type of latte or, for that matter, just try a latte.

I decided to take my own advice. Find an adventure.

Thus, on a particularly cold and blustery January day with wind chills of minus something or other and the sky spitting snow and ice, I went swimming.

No, I am not a member of the Chicago Polar Bear Club that each New Year’s Day jumps into Lake Michigan at the North Avenue Beach. No sirree. Not me.

Instead, I chose something that is definitely new for me in 2009, a lunch-hour lap swim for adults only at an indoor recreation center in a neighboring town.

There, I met an assortment of folks, most like me.  People 50-plus in years that have an array of ailments: bad knees, heart trouble, asthma, arthritis, overweight or underweight. None among them, however, appeared to possess a single judgmental bone in their aging bodies.

Still, as accepting as they are, it is frightening at first to parade around the pool in a bathing suit at my age. I admit it. 

All the while, as I made the long, self-conscious walk from the locker room to poolside, I heard these lyrics from “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeney Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” rattle around in my head.

She was afraid to come out of the locker

She was as nervous as she could be

(Two, three, four – tell the people what she wore.)

It was not a yellow polka-dot bikini, you can bet on that!

For me, this adventure was living on the edge. To someone else what I call risk might seem mundane.

What I am getting at is this. Each of us needs to find our own adventure if nothing else than to relieve winter boredom and blues.

When we seek an adventure, we are hoping for a favorable outcome, but admit it, we also want something edgy, unusual, uncertain, exciting, and yes, even questionable, hazardous, risky, or dangerous.

Something edgy is different for everyone. It may mean switching to online banking, joining a bowling team, learning a foreign language, discovering the joys of DSL or GPS, or simply trying an exotic, new restaurant.

As Helen Keller noted, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature.”

Come on in, the water is fine!