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Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes!

It’s been quite a while since I’ve made a post to this blog. This one is a little personal, but definitely pertains to retirement. To tell you the truth, as a retired person with no real responsibilities, and inadequate self-motivation, I just got lazy! I’m a bit of an introvert, so it takes effort for me to pursue activities outside the house.

For a while, I was spending some time going out to the bars two or three nights a week, and started feeling the effects of drinking too much. In addition to the occasional hangover, feeling bloated all the time, and spending too much money; I started feeling some aches and pains obviously associated with alcohol. I started cutting back, and now I’m not drinking at all. I think I’ve finally come to an age (or level of maturity) where I don’t think the fun of drinking is worth the repercussions. I don’t really miss it. I still occasionally go out, but just drink club soda with lime.

When I first arrived in Thailand, three years ago, I walked everywhere and ate Thai street food. Because Thai food is mostly vegetables and meat, I started losing weight. Since then, I bought myself a scooter, and have managed to find all the good western-style restaurants. I still weigh less than I did when I arrived here, but once again, I’m heading in the wrong direction. The poor choices I’ve made over the past several months, have manifested themselves into a sedentary, unmotivated lifestyle. I’ll look at my computer and think, “I should write a blog post today; or maybe work on my book.” Then instead, I’ll turn on Netflix and watch an entire season of some show I’ve already watched in its entirety when it originally aired.

Now, I’m to the point where I’m just bored, and need to get things back on track. Without a regular job, I need to start getting into some healthy routines. There are several things in which I’d like to improve, such as playing guitar, speaking Thai, photography, and writing. Other activities I’d like to explore, include art classes, and graphic design. I recognize there is no shortage of ways to improve myself, if I would just find the motivation.

I believe the motivation I’ve needed has come to me in a simple number – the number 55. My birthday is coming soon, and that’s how old I’ll be. I don’t think 55 is all that old. I’d say it was about half-way down the wrong side of the middle-age hump. To me, however, it does represent a time of urgency. I think it’s the time I have to choose what kind of an “old guy” I want to be. The older I get, the more difficult it will be to gain muscle, and body systems will begin to deteriorate if I don’t make a conscious effort to slow that deterioration down.

Working in a retirement home for veterans for a couple of years, I’ve seen folks in their 70s who are healthy and active; and I’ve seen others in their 60s who are effectively just waiting to die. While some ailments of old age are genetic, and unavoidable, many of the folks in the worst shape owe it to years of self-abuse. I’d guess I’m somewhere in the middle at this point, but if I make changes now, I can improve my chances of a healthier life in my old age.

What’s my plan? Well, the first thing I have to do is start working on my health. When I was in the Navy, I struggled with my weight, and when it came time to weigh-in, I usually fasted for a few days to lose a few pounds. Knowing fasting is something I can do, I’ve decided to try intermittent fasting, specifically, eating one meal a day (OMAD). There is plenty of information online about this, I believe it’s something I can do without too much discomfort, and the amount of fresh meat, vegetables and fruit here is a big benefit. I intend to reduce my consumption of processed foods and sugary snacks like chips, candy bars, and sodas, to zero. This will be the hard part for me – I’ve definitely got a sweet tooth.

Of course, I’ll need to be more active. At first, I’ll stick with walking and swimming. My housing complex has a pool … might as well take advantage of it! I also have a small gym available to me, so after a couple of weeks, I’ll add some light strength training two-or-three days per week. That’ll get me started, and I’ll adjust from there.

As for the mental aspects of my plan, I’m going to set aside specific periods of time for practicing guitar, and writing. I’ll also enroll in a Thai-language course (again). I’ll see how that goes, and incorporate other activities as time goes on. Keeping busy, I believe, will be the key to successfully eating one meal per day. When I’m bored and just watching TV, I tend to wear a path from the couch to the kitchen, eating snack after snack. However, when I’m mentally engaged in something, I rarely think about food.

So, there you have it. My reasons for not writing, and what I plan to do about it! I plan on kicking this off at the beginning of the month, and I’ll let you know how it’s going occasionally. I’ll look for some other topics to write about, and get this blog project going again!

I invite anyone reading this to join me in my efforts toward self-improvement, and to offer any advice you may have to me, and my other readers. I hope everyone in the U.S. has a great Thanksgiving, and your football team is having a good season! Take care.

 

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