People have asked why do I want to do this race?
It's not something that I can answer easily. Of course, there's the desire to do something big, challenging, to test myself. There's also how much I love sailing, although this is anything but a pleasure cruise.
In fact, I could continue my sailing teaching, sailing beautiful, comfortable yachts if it were just "sailing" that is driving me. No, there's something more.
A lot of people talk about wanting to have no regrets. For some that means being satisfied with what they have, and that's a good thing too. For others, though, it means letting go of the things they want to do and wish they had done in the years past. They tell themselves that it's too late and that the opportunity has passed them by. An example would be a person I know who has lamented that she wishes she had gone back to school in her 60s (she's in her 90's now), but it's too late now. I would guess that in her 60s she said that it was too late to go back to school then, too.
To me, that's sad. When you're in your 20s, you feel like you can be anything, do anything, and that you have all the time in the world. In the 30s, you're wrapped up in obligations such as your family and your career, your mortgage, and likely already looking back at your 20s and thinking about how you wished you had done something. In your 40s, you've progressed up toward the top of your career and it's hard to let go of that. You might only have a little time left on your mortgage, or you're looking at college costs for your kids, trying to make everything work. 50s... and you're looking at retirement coming, only a decade or so away and you're shoveling money into your IRA or RRSP, or pension, or other retirement investments, trying to ensure that you'll have a comfortable existence once the paycheques stop coming in.
And then you retire and are about to start those golden years when you can finally be living the dream except... you're too old. The opportunities have passed you by, or so people tell themselves. What's left are cruiseliners, guided tours, golf, a vacation home in Florida, etc. None of those are bad things, especially if that's what you want. But it also doesn't have to be that way.
I want to inspire people. I want to go beyond telling them that they can do anything they want, no matter their age - that "age is just a number." Telling people will work with some, small, minority, but for most people there is an attitude of, "yeah, that's a nice theory," and they go back to what they were doing, still with their regrets and "would-a, could-a, should-a" litany. But I want to be able to stand up in front of them and say, "Hey, look, I'm not only telling you that you can do it, I've actually done it and I want you to know that you can too. C'mon, let's get started!"
I never thought I'd be interested in "old people". I mean even now, I don't see myself as an "old person" even though those young whipper-snappers would call my 57 years to be bordering on ancient. My wife has helped to stoke that interest, though, as she has her M.A. in Gerontology. We're planning on working to help all people, regardless of their age, get up, get out, and work towards their dream so that they can truly have a life that has little regret to it.
But first I have to earn that credibility!