“Dad… when did you first discover that you were OLD?” Boy, I remember that question like it was yesterday… asking my dad, that is.
And I have to preface that by saying that I am 73 now… and no, I don’t feel old… well, most of the time anyway.
But, I remember the exact date when I began thinking that my father was old.
It was his 75th birthday and my sister and I and all of the grandkids had taken he and mom out to dinner.
And it hit me… not only did he look old but he moved SLOOOOW… and his voice was different… and suddenly his skin was wrinkly too.
And then I realized that… eventually … I would be old too.
But I have to tell you about something that my father said to me that not only saved my life … but it will stop me from ever getting old.
I just turned 30… I had just ruined a marriage to my college sweetheart, was about to lose my newborn son, and had just been fired from my second job…
And despite the fact that I was drinking damn near a quart of the cheapest vodka I could find…
I was still under the delusion that … somehow… I would figure it all out..
I didn’t … and ended up in treatment for alcoholism having been given an ultimatum by my current boss.
And I have to confess that three months before that I had ended up in the tiny country of Gibraltar… not even knowing how I got there.
It took a second session with the treatment center before I finally realized that I had a problem.
I didn’t know what to do with myself… it had been so long that I had been hiding and not dealing with much of anything in my life… I didn’t know what to do.
And I was petrified of failing again.
And I went and talked to my father… for probably the first time in my life.
And he told me something that changed my life… and I still remember what he told me… and I always will.
I told him that I was afraid of failing… because everything I had done had turned to shit.
And I told him I was a failure… and I didn’t know what to do next.
Here is what he told me…
“Everyone is afraid of failing. But if you never take chances in your life and you never take risks… then you have already failed, even before you start.”
I have never forgotten that.
And I have had adventures that I thought were never possible… from gold mining in the mountains of Colorado to several public startups, one a printing company, the others were mining related in Canada, south Dakota, Colorado and Nevada. And I never looked back.
And I owe my life to my father and those words that he passed on to me.
And many of you reading this are either in Costa Rica or dreaming of a life there. And I have been here almost ever since the 9/11 tragedy.
My wife and I joke about it and call it “our last great adventure” because we sold everything we owned and moved to Costa Rica without knowing a soul there.
And we have loved it ever since.
Most of you will never move here… and you will always wonder what “could have been.”
Don’t be afraid to take the risk …
Because you will always wonder “…what if…?”