How to Skate Well on Golden Pond!

Stay Committed

After fighting the flu and respiratory illness for several weeks, I made a re-commitment to continue to live fully alive.  Now that I have recovered  I am convinced that the physical, mental and spiritual strength I have worked so hard to develop was invaluable helping fight the virus that plagued me. I will not sit on the sidelines. I don’t want to lose sight of the goal that has driven my life since my first memories. I’ve asked my friends to hold me to my promise that no matter what my circumstances I will keep running until I break the tape that separates this world from the next. One of those friends gave me a coin I carry with me. The coin is imprinted with the words, “Be encouraged. Finish well.”

Live with Gusto

In 1981, the beautiful film On Golden Pond was made starring Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn. The movie followed this older, deeply-in-love couple as they spent what could have been one of their final summers on Golden Pond. I enjoyed the movie, but I wished there had been more life in it. All the hugging and kissing and conversation was great, but I wanted to see a water fight. I wanted to see Henry throw Katharine off the end of the dock.  Maybe a canoe race or a rock-skipping contest, something that showed that these people were still in gear.

I know! I know! Their love sustained them. I value that. But oh how I wish the last scene had been filmed right after the pond froze over. I can see the sunset as it cast its red glow onto the ice. I wanted to see those two skating as fast as they could, clumsily holding hands, barely keeping their balance as the sound of their laughter and skate blades echoed across the ice. I wanted to see them fall and slide spinning across the frozen surface with squeals of delight, then fade to black.

Be Bold

As you skate onto Golden Pond, don’t do it timidly.

Laugh whenever you can
Throw someone off the dock
Find a cause bigger than yourself
Pray for the impossible
Dust off that Schwinn
Get to know someone with a piercing
Spread the good news of God’s love with boldness
Don’t show anyone your scars
Nap, but not while driving
Stay curious
Learn something new

At 65, I identify with what Robert Wickman  said,  “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming—-Wow…What a Ride!

How would you describe your life journey to this point?   What do you want it to be? 



  1. The vision I get in my head of skating on Golden pond is me racing down a hill at breakneck speed, ok 6mph as that is the top speed of my chair. Hitting the ice thean sliding all the way accross the pond. Then hitting the far side of the pond before flying through the air and into a snow bank when the chair makes a sudden stop, can someone say “seatbelts”.

    I can deffinately agree with your points regarding not skating through life timidly; with the exception of “don’t show your scars.” I have actually cut my hair so that everyone can see the horseshoe shapped scar on my head. I do this inorder to show kids that they need not be embarressed of any physical problems/scars they may have, nor should they allow anybody shun or make fun of them. As far as adults seeing my lucky horseshoe, boy does that make the segway into why we should thank God for every day we have here on earth easy and then explain how when we are gone from earth God has many more adventures for us.

    Yes, live life with gusto and love God with even more gusto

  2. It’s funny that this post was on this subject, because just a few moments ago, I heard Chuck Swindoll say we need to act our age, citing a 70 year old shouldn’t try to wear what you’d see on a cheerleader, etc. There are two sides to the coin. I may not be physically able to skate on Golden Pond, but I can do it in my heart! I can experience the joy and remember the feeling when I watch my grandchildren run through the park, arms spread wide, and a glimpse of God on their face! Or when they discover how beautiful a dandelion really is! Or when they hear a favorite song and sing off-key, using their own words. Or watching as they collect the brightly colored plastic eggs this season, and the look of incredible surprise when they open them to discover the hidden prize!
    I may not be physically able to straddle the bicycle seat, or to pound the pavement in cushy running shoes, or to climb the highest mountain, or swim the English Channel, but my God sees to it that I can do all things through Christ.
    I intend to continue trying, and I think that pleases Him.
    Thanks, Ken, for another wonderful post.

    1. Author

      I agree on the cheerleader thing, but also wonder what “Act your Age” means. I don’t think we should ever stop trying. I love your spirit and you are proof that we can live fully alive no matter what our circumstance.


  3. I loved this! When I turned 50 (2 years ago) I remember a feeling of panic coming over me, and I’ve been telling God ever since that I want the 2nd half of my life to count for even more than the first half did. It’s easy to begin to feel irrelevant as I watch the younger generation step up to take their place, and take their place they should. But I still have purpose, and a place, and I am determined to live at full throttle for as long as I can. Thank you for this post!

    1. Author


      You will love my book “Fully Alive” due out this July. I don’t ever want to be found coasting. Your enthusiasm is contagious Karla.


  4. You’re not really 65 are you? We have been to several of your shows and I thought you were younger than my husband, who turns 65 Friday. Wanted to see your Fully Alive movie but it didn’t show anywhere near us, although the web site said it was going to be near here, I called the theatre and they said they didn’t get it. (It’s about 50 minute drive) so I’m glad I called ahead. Like your blog. Dealing with some health issues myself the past few years, I can identify with what you said.

    1. Author

      Lyn, Yes I really am 65! I love living life and seeing what God has up his sleeve for tomorrow. Sorry you missed the movie. Watch for the DVD which will be out soon.

  5. Ken – Thanks for the reminder to not pull back so to speak. Fear has plagued me often over the years. It’s never been a friend. Thanks for the perspective. I’m 42 and have had to work at seeing this as a good thing. Today I do. Thanks!

    1. Author

      Rechele, You are still young! And you are right. Fear is our enemy! I hope that you will take risks and find that God is faithful. Thank you so much for your comment.


  6. Thank you, Ken, and I thank God you share your insights into being and staying fully alive–even at our ages (and I’m ahead of you by five years). I love your first suggestion especially, to laugh whenever you can. God truly is good and I just know He loves laughter!

  7. Thanks, Ken!! 🙂 What a GREAT reminder to be committed, full of gusto, and full of boldness when living life. As Kenny Chesney may say, ‘don’t blink’ while you are out there skating on Golden Pond. 🙂 It’s all about the journey…enjoy it!

  8. My journey so far has had moments where I stand contented on a peak I just climbed and look over the world saying, “Thank you God” yet on the way there, I have had moments where I have hung on by barely my fingernails. My constant companion has always been laughter. In every dark moment, God has always given me something to laugh at to remind me how quickly things can change. If I was going to skate across golden pond it would be in the brightest skates (pink I think) with jingley bells on them and laughing my head off as I fell, flopped, skated and slid all the way to the other side.

    1. Author


      Those who are honest would admit that their journey also is a series of highs and lows. the important thing is that keep moving toward the goal. Strap on those pink skates and go girl.


  9. Just saw your Fully Alive in theater a week and a half ago. Awesome! We just lost my daddy after a 4 year battle with pulmonary fibrosis. Both my mom and I needed your message to keep trying, to live!

  10. God never ceases to amaze me by sending something like this to me exactly when I need it! Thank you Ken

  11. I am not sure what to say. I love this idea and everything in me wants to live this way, and I do my very best to live life to the fullest. I guess what I want to know is, what do you suggest for my husband who “cannot live life to the fullest.” He works 12-14 hours a day 5-6 days a week to support our family. He does not have a choice in working these hours. He either works their demands or doesnt have a job. He is totally spent at work and the time he does have off, he is thoroughly exhuasted. He just go over a kidney infection and his boss was harrassing him to get back to work asap. (and please dont suggest “pray about it” or “find a new job.” These things have been done. I have to say, he does not find much joy in life if any. While I can live my life to the fullest with our children, it breaks my heart to see my husband not enjoying anything because he has to work so much!

    1. Author


      I have had periods in my life like that. I have to continue to believe that even in difficult circumstances we can find a way to live. There are certainly no easy answers but I hope some of the comments written by the people above are helpful. Thank you for your comment


  12. So, next time I see you, you want me to throw you into one of our 10,000 lakes, right? hee hee

  13. I like your list, Ken, and for me I would add: Spend time close to the God’s creation, live off the grid for awhile, grow a garden, heat with wood you’ve cut, go kill something and eat it.

    1. Author


      Excellent suggestion Rod. At one time that was how we had to live. Now we look at creation through an office window, eat stuff grown by other people, and munch down food killed by someone else. I’m getting hungry for some moose!


  14. Hi Ken. I spent summers On Golden Pond… literally. The movie is actually based on Great Pond in Belgrade, Maine (not filmed there though). My grandmother owned 10 housekeeping cottages right on the pond and each summer we would spend weeks up there learning to ski, swim, tube, watch the sunsets, campout a few nights on Oak Island, fix docks… i could go on and on. My grandmother was a great teacher. She bought the land for next to nothing and slowly built a small fortune, cabin by cabin, working each summer there til she passed away. She didn’t do it for the money. It wasn’t what you would call profitable. She did it to watch us grandkids grow up and live the last years of her life fully alive. And she loved it. The cove where the cabins reside is now named after her. Hatch Cove. I still visit, it is still fun, and now we get to watch our own kids grow up. The joy still lives there.

    1. Author


      Amazing! The legacy continues. Your children and grandchildren will never forget those times.


  15. Thank you, Ken! How true your on Golden Pond article was! My husband and I are in that stage of our life, and I guess we take life too seriously. After your delightful article, Sharon is changing her life. 🙂

    I just started reading Sheep Tales. I LOVE IT!!

    Sharon from Hampton, Iowa.

    P.S. By the way, you were in our town October, 2010 in the auditorium of our old middle school with over 975 people in attendance. We are still talking about your presentation.

    Happy Easter to you and your family!

    1. Author


      So glad you are enjoying Sheep Tales. We are still praying that someday that will be made into an animated feature film.


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