Early retirement is fun

stone2
We bought that red, ceramic globe recently near Dolores Hidalgo.

I RETIRED QUITE early, age 55, and that means you potentially have lots of years ahead of you, years in which you must do something or other.

My plans were few. I knew I’d use the time to read books. I like to read books because it’s an interesting thing to do, plus it makes me even smarter than I already am.

Not on the plan was yard work, which I dislike. My distaste for yard work was one of the reasons I recently had part of the Hacienda lawn filled in with stone and cement. That’s the lighter part in the photo above. The darker is the sidewalk, which is 15 years old.

But I’ve discovered that I’ve simply substituted one form of yard work with another. The stone and concrete require sweeping. The primary reason is that there are plants, big ones. One is the towering nopal, and the other is the monster bougainvillea.

The nopal drops big, dead, prickly “paddles.” Ker-splat! The bougainvillea snows dead leaves and other miscellaneous crap.

I was out sweeping this morning when this realization came to me. It’s still yard work. However, sweeping stone and concrete is far more fun than fussing with grass.

I don’t regret the stonework. We intend to do more next year.

Back to the theme of retirement. Lots of folks dream of retiring early, which is a phrase open to interpretation. The standard “early retirement” is 55, and that’s what I did. Other people, mostly young ones, dream of leaving the work world even earlier. At 40, for example. Good luck with that, amigos.

Here’s what you usually have to do to retire early, say, at 55. Don’t go into debt. Save, save, save … and invest wisely. Being single can help. These are not difficult things to do, but few folks do them. It’s equally simple to lose weight. Eat less crap, and do regular moderate exercise. Again, easy, but few people can do it.

I’m having a fun time, and I’ve been having fun since 2000. Before that, not so much. One late afternoon recently, I was sitting here before the Hewlett Packard screen, and I looked out yon window. Below is what I saw.

window

The Ironman

weightsI AM TRIM and, to all appearances, quite healthy for an old fart.

I attribute this to years of steady, light exercise, salads and a child bride. Don’t discount the latter.

In 1980, I weighed 60 pounds more than I weigh today. Oddly, I was not so much fat as formidable.

It was in that distant year in New Orleans — where I often would eat French fry po’ boys — that I decided to get trim and svelte.

Being fat is not an issue of hunger. It’s about habits and emotions. Services like Weight Watchers can address your bad habits, but they do little with your emotions, which is why 99 percent of overweight people get fat again soon after ending a weight-loss program.*

Of the two — habits and emotions — it’s emotions that play the primary role. They form the habits, after all.

Here’s how I took and kept off 60 pounds, and you can do it too. Well, except for those sneaky emotions.

I quit eating crap, and you know what the crap is: cakes, pies, burgers, Snickers, deep-fried anything, etc. You don’t need to buy a book that spells it out. It’s common sense.

And I started exercising. Twenty minutes of brisk walking five days weekly does it.  Thirty-five years later, I’m still at it.

Most folks start brutal exercise routines, weary of it within two weeks, and that’s the end of that. Don’t overreach.

In addition to walking, I do what my wife considers a laughable series of weight-lifting. That’s my weight machine in the photo. Three times a week, and it takes about 10 minutes.

I weigh what I weighed at age 21, half a century ago.

Before buying the weight apparatus, I visited a gym here three mornings a week, but the gym went out of business about five years back, so I purchased my setup at Liverpool in the capital city for the peso equivalent of about $600.

So there you have Felipe’s Foolproof Weight Loss System. Don’t eat crap, do light exercise five days a week (forever!) and marry a child bride, preferably Mexican.

You womenfolk can adjust that last element to your liking, but know that folks will gossip behind your back.

* * * *

*Don’t ever start a “diet” because they never work. The concept of a diet implies a beginning and — when you reach your “goal weight” — an end. When you end your diet, you start eating like you did before. And you get fat again. Never go on a diet. Instead, change your habits permanently.

New school days

* * * *

And here are the Old School Days, silly but fun:

People and places

sitting

TAKING A WALK around downtown Tuesday with my Canon and my Kindle in my little black, faux leather, man bag, I snapped these two photos.

Above are well-fed señoras sitting on a sidewalk killing time. Below is one of the most photographed scenes in our city, something constructed during Spanish Colonial days.

(Note: A slightly different version of the two women, plus other stunning, black & white, photos can be found, as always, on my photography site, Eyes of the Moon.)

spain