Forty-Nine Years Old and Ready to Learn Something New

Forty-nine Years Old - What's Next?
Exploring caves in Thailand with my daughter. Running in the jungle, and exploring caves, are a bit scary for her at 5.

The big four nine just hit the other day and woke me up to a rather pleasant reality.


Even if cancer is right now raging through my body, I’ll likely make it to fifty years old. I wasn’t ever sure that was going to happen. At times I was sure I’d never see fifty or maybe not even mid-forties.

But I’m still here kicking, and I’m in pretty damn good shape, as long as my foot problem stays quiet. I still don’t know what the issue plaguing me really is, and I’m STILL not going to these Thai doctors. The foot hurts very slightly now after I run the trail for a couple hours. Then I will be standing in bare feet on the hard ground and BANG! the pain shoots through the bottom of my foot like hot lead for a few seconds.

During the run – it hurts not at all. I’m done trying to figure it out, just thought I’d mention it here in case any of you have had something similar. I’m sticking to my latest diagnosis – a nerve is dorked up and it will take time to go away completely.

No problem. I can live like this for a while. After all, I’m forty-nine, and I cannot believe I made it this far. If you made it too – CONGRATS!

I’ve accomplished so much with my physical body during my life because of my mother’s insistence that I, at seven years old, join the local soccer team. I played for eleven years and had a blast. I made great friends. I was fit since I was seven. I’ve been in various stages of ‘fit’ for forty-two years all because my mom realized getting involved in a team sport was going to be good for me.


If there’s one thing I’m going to try hard to do for my daughter, it’s get her involved in something physical that she likes doing. I mean really likes. She can play whatever sport she wants, or none at all. I just hope she loves to do something that works out her cardiovascular system often. Swimming, biking, aerobics, walking, running, whatever it is.

Of course I’m secretly hoping that I can get her to love trail running. This is going to be difficult from where we are because the trails here are scary to her at five years old. She has already seen plenty of snakes – monocled cobras, king cobras, kraits, and thirty other species I’ve caught and shown her over the years. She has seen turtles in the wild, seven-feet long monitor lizards that look like Komodo dragons. She’s seen monkeys growl at us like they were going to attack. It’s going to be real hard to get her to love trail running, or even walking through Thailand’s rainforest. Still, I have to plant the seed until we get somewhere that seems a little less foreboding.

Before my foot started acting up I was on track to run my first ultra-distance race. I’ve never raced longer than ten miles before. No half-marathon, no marathon. I don’t think I’d really enjoy a ‘race’ per-se. Maybe not at this age. My glory-days of competition have passed about two decades ago, and I’m quite fine with setting my own goals and competing against myself. Still, for the sake of giving my family something to talk about for the rest of their lives I’m going to do a 50K trail run (race) here in Thailand probably before 2015 becomes 2016. Everything depends on The Foot, but I think it will be on board with the plan by then.

While I’ve been babying my foot since January, I’ve been looking into new ways to make money online. I’ve already done so much with ebusiness, writing books, creating websites, shooting videos for YouTube, and even the occasional guest post for other big websites.

I feel like I need to reinvent myself this year. I need to learn something new so I can create something I’ve never done before. Honestly, I’m tired of writing ebooks. I’m tired of creating websites. I’m tired of tweaking my old websites so they stay ranked high in Google.

This site is doing pretty well, around six-hundred pageviews per day. That’s great considering I do very little here. It isn’t enough to incite me to put a lot of work into this site, it’s here for my own (and your) amusement, but I don’t make any serious money here at all. It’s a muse. I wish I could figure out how to make it my main focus because I’d love nothing more than to run trails, shoot photos and videos of trails, and write about it here. I think being in Thailand limits me quite a bit with what is possible. Few trail runners here!

I’ll be doing some audiobooks over the next few weeks. I hope this will bring my ebook library back up to its previous earning levels. I was making $2,000 per month just from ebooks a few years ago. That was nice coin, but it has dwindled to about 1/10th of that today. I have passive income from other online projects, but it’d sure be nice to have another $1,800 per month again!

I fantasize about learning to code iPhone (iOS) applications, Android apps, web apps. I hate the idea of programming, but I love the idea of what I can create once I know how to do it.

I’d like to learn how to play the drums. I’d like to learn how to draw really well. Paint too. Sometimes I think I should learn to create online graphics to an expert degree. That wouldn’t take long, I’m semi-competent already.

And then I think – I want to get the hell AWAY from the computer.

What if I had a pizza shop? A camping shop? Trout fishing shop? Climbing shop at Railay Beach – Tonsai – or some other great climbing spot? What if I became a meditation teacher? Maybe I should create a podcast about living in Thailand? I think helping to save Thailand’s wildlife would be rewarding. Then I think, so too would saving kids somewhere.

I’m nearly fifty and there are still SO MANY options. So many ways to go. I didn’t think it would be like this. Maybe you’re close to the same age and you’re wondering what choices you have.

I figure I might have thirty years left. I tell myself I have one or two because I don’t want to waste time doing anything that doesn’t really ‘matter’ or mean something. If I really have thirty more years, I can do anything. It’s like starting over at eighteen years old and thinking I’ll live to fifty. Same difference.

No matter what situation you find yourself in today – know this…

You have dozens, if not hundreds of options you could choose from to make your life very different from what it is today. Start considering them, and even moving toward something you’ve wondered if you ‘could do’ someday.

You CAN do something.

You just need to get started and make it happen.

I’ll run 30+ miles by the end of this year. What do you have planned?


Foot Pain – GONE!

There’s something magical about recovering from an injury, especially one that has plagued me over four months now.

Sharp pain in my right foot like I just stepped on a 220V line that buckles my knee quickly so I can take the pressure off it. That’s what I was facing even up to last week.

An x-ray showed no breaks. I should have gone for an MRI but I have a different approach to healing. I guess because it has always worked before. I just wait it out. I mean, I still workout as much as I can, running, biking, swimming, climbing stairs, whatever it is that I can possibly do without too much pain, but basically I go into a low-intensity mode until it heals up and I’m 100%.

Problem is, I’ve never dealt with an injury like this before. Prior to this it has been all muscles and ligament injuries. Rolled ankle, overstretched calf on a run down the hill where I extended WAY too much… things like this. Besides cracking my sternum in an over the handlebars crash on my first Cannondale in Central Park, NYC in 1988, I haven’t broken a bone.

If that’s what this foot thing was. I can’t really figure it out. I don’t trust Thai doctors to tie my shoe, so besides getting two x-rays of my foot, I didn’t go for the MRI. They’d have me in a solid cast for 6 months, muscles and bone and everything else atrophying all the while.

No thanks.

So this was either a stress fracture from running fast down 4,300 concrete steps spaced widely apart at Langkawi Island – twice, less than 10 hours apart in time, and then hammering my local mountain up and down a few times in record time.

Or, this was a nerve, aggravated by all that nonsense.

I’m leaning toward nerve.

I’ve never dealt with nerve injuries. I don’t ever want to deal with it again. When I say the pain buckled my knees, I mean, I damn near fell to the floor at times. And I’m not talking about WHILE I WAS RUNNING. This was always after a run, a climb, and I was just standing in my house, barefoot on the hard tile and shifted my weight on the foot and BAM! Like electro-shock therapy.

It would do that a couple times a day for the first few months.

Thing was – I could climb 1,250 stairs up a mountainside in Krabi and come down slowly – and have no pain at all during that. I even figured, try the trail and see what happened.

The first time I tried the trail (a mountain climb to 500m elev) after about 10-15 minutes my foot throbbed and threatened to shoot electricity through my foot. I stopped. Waited five minutes. Talked to myself. I figured, F-it, I’m going to walk up to the top of the mountain and down whether it hurts like mad, or not. I started walking (climbing the steep path). It hurt, it hurt, it hurt less, it hurt not at all. Within 10 minutes there was absolutely no pain and I was able to get up and down (8km) without any more pain at all.

Once home I was standing in the kitchen and had the insane pain for a second. I hobbled around and babied it, and it was fine to climb the steps in 3 days. Then I climbed the mountain 4 days ago with absolutely no pain. Two days ago I climbed the steps with no pain.

Tomorrow I’ll climb the mountain again and make sure – no pain before I start to run faster up it and see if it can take it.

The other day running slowly up the mountain trail I felt SO ALIVE. So amazing. I mean, it’s my favorite run ever – running under the jungle canopy with gibbons screaming, cicadas screaming, birds chirping, flying lizards jumping off trees in front of me, lizards scurrying around in the dry leaves… and sweating like a fiend.

I realized, man, if I could just do this the rest of my life, I’d be such a happy man.

There’s something so magical about coming back from a long-term injury and feeling alive again. 

You ever feel that??