“Here, try this.”
“Oh, no thanks. That’s ok. I’m good.”
It’s so easy to say “No” to new things. We get comfortable in our lifestyle, our viewpoints, and in our expectations. Trying something new just upsets the applecart. And who wants to do that?
We have our favorite hangouts, the foods we like the most, TV shows we prefer, and our cherished ideas of how our future should be playing out… But meanwhile, Life continues to offer us alternatives that don’t fit into our plans, so we say “No.”
Being afraid of the new
It can be frightening to place ourselves in novel situations, meeting someone out of our social circle, or even trying out a new menu item. And it sounds so silly or even annoying to suggest “Just say Yes to Life!”
I would venture to say that most people don’t realize they are resisting anything at all. Circumstances in their lives might be comfortable – or not – but the last thing that would occur to them is to open up to the new. The human tendency to dig our heels in creates a feeling of stability that can be very attractive.
As humans, we want what is dependable, something we can count on, the predictable. If things are spelled out, we know what’s in store and we pretend that we can build on a physically firm foundation. The desire for security is strong in all of us and there is nothing wrong with that inherent need. This motivation propels us to build cities, hospitals, schools, — whole societies.
However, the longer we live, the more we recognize how Life shakes us up whether we wish for it or not. Children leave home, divorces happen, illness makes its appearance, financial circumstances change. We get to the point where “new” means something risky or regretful. Better to stay with what we know.
What if change was beneficial?
Going through major changes in our lives can be tricky. We will often find ourselves hanging on to familiar ways of doing things but perhaps those choices no longer work in a new situation. We hang on because it’s the devil we know and because it feels safe.
Retirement means change
If you would like to retire any time soon, chances are that this decision will require you to say “yes” to lots of new things while letting other things go. There is no way to avoid this because you will be moving into the new. Perhaps you will be looking at relocating to a more affordable city, state or even country. Unless you spend your retirement in the same town in which you are currently living, weather patterns will probably be different. The places you shop for groceries, places you go for entertainment and maybe even local customs could be a contrast to what you considered to be an everyday experience.
One of the benefits of being financial independent is the option of opening doors that you did not have access to previously. Maybe you didn’t even know they existed.
The more you say yes, the more new things will come. Saying yes requires a sense of adventure, a sense of possibility. It also requires personal flexibility. Staying flexible helps to keep us mentally fresh, physically vigorous.
Moving into the extraordinary
While on occasion you might find that these choices are challenging, but they can also be inspiring and fill a mundane living style with more energy. The ordinary can become extraordinary.
Being in exotic surroundings, perhaps learning a language, meeting interesting people outside of your previous neighborhood and generally being open to happenings that aren’t routine all cause your brain to adjust. You must now think differently, combining novel information and patterns with what you already take for granted. This process is very healthy and can make you feel more alive, even younger.
A different perspective
Are you exhausting yourself by pushing against a situation that you might have outgrown? Why not open up to fresh opportunities and unfamiliar circumstances? Or at least not desperately hang on for dear life. When was the last time you did something original or untried?
In loosening our grip onto routine – even just a little bit – allows Life to become a continuing educational opportunity, bringing with it unexpected rewards.
Why limit yourself? Open up to the new and find hidden treasure waiting for you.
Go ahead…. open up that door.
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991.