Acting like you’re 40 when you’re really 71—

Preparing to jump 40' to the water below at 71 y.o. Costa Rica May12,  2014
Preparing to jump 40′ to the water below.
Costa Rica
May12, 2014
Nauyaca Falls Costa Rica May 12, 2014
Nauyaca Falls
Costa Rica
May 12, 2014

Jumping off a 40′ cliff  at 71 can be like discovering the Fountain of Youth,  especially when you hit the water.

Thinking to myself  “if once again I was 40 years old I too would be jumping off  that 40′ cliff”.   I sat on the rocks  about 20 yards across the water from the famous Nauyaca  Waterfall in Costa Rica.   Watching my fearless 30 something classmates leaping into the water 40′ below,  my mind was made up.    I thought to myself “Hell yes you can do that”.  I had actually made a similar  jump 35 years before on a white water rafting trip on the Stanislas river in California.   Having  just hiked a challenging 4 miles up a steep, hot, and dusty trail to reach these beautiful but isolated falls I hadn’t  intended to jump—but then I changed my mind, “why should I deny myself the fun,” I thought  “just because your 71?”   “I can do anything I put my mind to and this is no different.”   I had given my swimming trunks to my new friend Jarrett, after his trunks had split on a daring 65′ plunge  from the very highest point—so here I was stuck with only my underwear.    “No problem” I thought as I pealed off my shorts and entered the cooling water swimming toward the cliff.

Water splashed annoyingly in my face as I strained on the rope to pull my heavy, water soaked body up the face  of the falls.     I was concerned that my feet might give way on the slippery rocks sending me crashing to the hard surface below.   Two thirds of the way up our guide asked me if I wanted to jump from there—“Hell no” I said, wanting only the top.   Finally with one last powerful effort I reached the summit  carefully picking my way to the spot from which I would leap.  Yes, looking down, I was nervous but honestly speaking the worst was now behind me.   I took a deep breath and hurled my body out into space away from the cliff as far as I could go.    SPLASH—it was over and I was fine, happy that I hadn’t given into my unfounded fears.   “Now that’s how a 71 year old man acts like a 40 year old guy” I satisfactorily  thought to myself.    Forty eight  years later my Marine Corps training had once again paid off.