Lesson Learned: Put down Your Guard, Lift up Your Shirt

Walls have gone up for centuries. Buildings are constructed one brick or one piece of wood at a time. Like buildings, we construct our lives in the same way. Over the years, we forget how open we were in childhood to try new things. We forget to make snow angels in the snow, to splash our feet in puddles, to roll down a long hill, or to jump in the leaves after raking the backyard.

We need to learn to do frivolous things again – loosen our guard and let the walls down. As we age, I think we build those walls to protect ourselves from getting hurt or to hurt someone else. While in some ways this can be wise, in other ways it prevents us to live life. Now for the second half, when I say to lift up your shirt, I mean to allow yourself that freedom to take a chance. Get out of the enclosed shelter that you’ve built and continue to hide in.

In the next year be conscious of what new things you try, the ones that are fun and make you want to lift up your shirt. Write down what you do on a piece of paper to keep track. For example you could do something challenging like ski in the sand dunes or raft in a Class 3 river. You could also do something simple like swing on a swing set or have a picnic on top of a hill. Try one new event a month, whether large or small. On a note, if you haven’t done it in the last ten years, consider it new.

Once you challenge yourself on a monthly basis you will start to find other “firsts” as well. You won’t limit yourself to one a month. I find it rewarding to check my list every so often to see what new experiences that I have completed. I also look forward to think about what I want to do next. My guard isn’t completely down, but I have started to lift my shirt. 🙂

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