I think that in my retirement, I have become more of a wimp. I mean this in the sense that I used to be able to endure pain and keep on working. The background is: I had back surgery in 1997 that corrected my most serious issues, but the underlying problems are only managed – never resolved. I need to exercise my back to keep the muscles toned. I also need to be wary of new physical activity that will cause a new injury.
Back in the U.S., I kept my back strong by going to the gym, using the elliptical and elevated treadmill. For the last 2 1/2 years, I substituted walking. When visiting timeshares and hotels, I used to be able to go back to using the machines at the gym, no problem. That changed, on our last trip. My 10 days using the gym lead to some minor irritation, and I thought nothing of it. I went back to walking, back in Mexico, which turned out to be my second mistake, since it aggravated the back injury. All of a sudden, I had the same kind of pain and issues I had before my back surgery. And this issue took seven weeks to recover from, which I have not faced in over 10 years. But I have learned to take a challenge and turn it into an opportunity, inspired by my brother Mike’s experience with chronic knee issues. He dropped spinning classes in favor of swimming. So, while I am not as interested in swimming, it is an excellent regimen for back injury. And we have a pool sitting in the yard – and will have one at the next homestead.
What does all of this have to do with the expat journey? Well the first thing is the theme of health. We are always amazed with how healthy and youthful our expat friends are. Most are older than us, and we are eager to follow their lead as mentors to refine our nutrition and exercise routines
Second is the theme of dealing with pain, when an injury happens. Not surprisingly, as an older person, it is, indeed harder to maintain the same standards of productivity I once did, in my working days. Back in 1998, after a burst appendix, and an abcess that took out my sigmoid colon and brought peritonitis and a collostomy, I still had to find a way to work, at home, telecommuting, during my recovery. As a retiree, making not a dime with my blog, my motivation is…somewhat diminished. But also, if I have to deal with an extended struggle with chronic pain for seven weeks, it was nice to spend a couple of them at nice resorts in Puerto Vallarta. Yes, the swim-up bar and poolside service came in handy. Funny how the half priced mixed drinks (during happy hour) helped relax my muscles and lessen the pain. And now that I am free of the pain – wow does it help increase the energy and zest! Let me back at that blog again!