Since the day we made the decision and began telling our friends and acquaintances that we planned to move to the Philippines, the most common question thrown at me is – “What are you going to do there?” My first and easiest response has always been “Nothing, absolutely nothing!” but after a while, I began applying more thought to what has become a nagging question. Over and over again I asked myself the same thing…what will I do there? It’s been long known that retirement can be bad for your health and that workers who retire earlier have higher mortality rates with little to drive them after retirement. So, the question morphs into this: If you retire early to the Philippines (or your other chosen paradise) with nothing to do, and with an abundance of volunteers around to do everything else for you, will you be destined for an early grave? Okay, it sounds like a proven and logical dilemma.
Yesterday, I visited a new video posted by an online acquaintance and fellow blogger “Reekay,” who recently settled into his secluded jungle residence on the island of Bohol. From there, Reekay issues his thoughts, both in writing and on video, on living in the Philippines. His newest Just Thinking Out Loud video take on retirement is credible and as real as it gets and should be required food for thought to anyone who is looking to retire in the Philippines. While Henry Velez’s video message is not some parody to some fright night summer camp movie, he is on target with his topic and re-introduces some very specific points about allowing one’s mind and body to become idol in retirement. He also reiterates what’s known to be a true end result of a sedentary lifestyle choice. The resulting conclusion is that life in Paradise Can Kill You!
Last fall when I first placed the For Sale sign in our yard, the idea of moving to paradise began to set in. The question “what will you do?” was still the most dominant question being asked of me and like some premonition to Reekay’s video, I began thinking about my own longevity. I knew that I would need to occupy my days with something productive to fight off that so-called ERS (early rigamortis syndrome). I began asking myself the same questions Reekay had posed in his video – what will I do? Aside from the easiest answer I could muster – “relax and enjoy life”, and knowing myself even better than my wife does, I concluded that I needed a bucket list. Not a bucket list in the sense of things I’ve never done, but a list of things I thoroughly enjoy doing and that could keep me busy in my retirement. So, I got busy setting some goals. First, I identified the most self-serving and relaxing things I knew that I enjoyed. Then I regressed some and thought about all the things I enjoyed doing when I previously lived in the tropics as a young man. I easily narrowed it down to partying, sex and cliff diving! Okay, that was a much younger man! I knew all that wasn’t possibly going to work so through some soul-searching and honest deliberation, I figured it out. I had to give up the cliff diving!
I knew some things were certain. I love being in and around tropical waters and I like fishing, swimming, snorkeling and diving. I also like bike riding and playing racquetball. So, I worked on a solution. I made the commitment to ship our mountain bikes with our household goods. Over the next several months, I purchased new fishing poles, reels, and tackle. I purchased new snorkel gear, reef shoes and a new fishing kayak. Many of those things were shipped in balikbayan boxes but the larger items were placed in our HHG shipment last week. Problem solved!
My retirement modus operandi of things to keep me busy along with my fitness goals were all set…all except for the racquetball thing. So I got busy on that front too. Several months ago, I began searching for any information I could find about racquetball in the Philippines. While I did find that racquetball is played there, there are only a handful of indoor courts located here and there, mainly in the Subic Bay and Metro Manila areas. Where I am headed – Samar Island – nada, zilch, zero!
So like in the old Kevin Costner movie Field of Dreams, the whisper from the corn “build it and it will come” just showed up and kept resounding in my head until the idea hit me like a ton of bricks. I thought about how basketball was such a true and devoted part of the Philippine culture and how it is truly the “national pastime” there. I also figured that if Filipinos could handle playing basketball outdoors, day and night (sometimes rain or shine), then why couldn’t I solicit some interest and build an outdoor racquetball court? Aside from their warm and friendly disposition, Filipinos are strongly competitive in nature. Obviously, outdoor games in the Philippines are well suited to the weather conditions and like Southern California or Florida, the game can be played year round. Well, now I’m excited to say that my bit of inspiration turned into initiative and grew into a reality over the past few weeks when I landed the official support of World Outdoor Racquetball (WOR) officials in the U.S. and Mexico. Since there are currently no identified outdoor racquetball facilities in the Philippines, a mutual and tentative agreement has been reached, I will head to the Philippines as WOR Western Pacific Region Director with the goal of developing WOR in SE Asia. The job of introducing, developing, teaching, and providing direct support in building the sport, well….that’s enough to keep anybody in retirement busy, and yes, I can still play…I just don’t go horizontal anymore!
Now I will just need to find more time for snorkeling, diving, fishing, kayaking and biking.
Anyone wishing to know more about World Outdoor Racquetball? Please watch this video or contact me through this site.
WOR…Taking the fastest game in the world outdoors with attitude and action!