Here in Tamarindo, we’re at the northwest end of the Nicoya Peninsula, which is one of the five “Blue Zones” in the world. Apparently, these “Blue Zones” are the places where they have an unusually high number of centenarians – i.e. people over 100 years old.
Maybe being over 100 years old ain’t as great as folks think it is.
This old gentleman seems to live in a little tin shack on Playa Tamarindo. The other day, Ethel told me to look at him, but in order to do so, I would have had to turn around, and I just wasn’t feeling up to that right then. When I’m tanning, it’s a workout – it’s structured, and disciplined, and I’m supposed to lay on this side for this many minutes, and then turn to that side for so many minutes – I can’t just be turning every which-a-way just to look at people.
But some time later, I had occasion to turn over and sit up, and I saw this fellow, standing on the beach. Now, I say “standing”, but he was actually WALKING – but you wouldn’t have known it, unless you watched. He was moving each foot in the tiniest, two-or-three-inch shuffle, and then…..moving the other foot.
Now I was hooked. I had to watch.
He kept moving, if you want to call it that. Eventually he reached the place just above the highest waves, and then he kept shuffling, but stopped moving – it took me a few minutes to realize that he was attempting to “kick off” his flip-flops, by which I mean trying to generate friction between the bottom of his flips and the sand sufficient to remove the flip from his foot, while still moving his feet only a few inches at a time.
When he completed that task, he went forward down the beach – eventually entering the water. At this point, Ethel and I were watching close, because it seemed to us that any one of the larger waves would tilt him over, and that would be that. But it seemed that he knew what he was doing – he went out a ways, and then….sort of washed himself off, including rinsing his pants and shirt, while still wearing them.
Then he went further and even bent over and ducked his head into the waves. This was amazing and painful to watch.
Then he turned around. THAT….took a while; but, when he finished, he started heading back up out of the water, eventually getting back to the beach – and eventually getting back to his flip flops, at which time he started trying to put them back on. THAT took a while, as well.
Then he moseyed back up to his shack.
It seemed to me that this whole process took around a half hour – it was probably more than twenty minutes, and I suspect less than forty. And we wondered if this was something he did every day – combining his workout, his bath, and his laundry into this simple routine.
I know – or at least believe – that the survival instinct is supposed to be very, very strong. But I may be an outlier. I’ve never thought that just “another day above ground” was wonderful, or even sufficient. Being a depressive, I have trouble staying energized enough at age 62, when I can still sort of swim, bike and run and do some lifting.
Do I want to hang around long enough to live like this old man?
I think I’m gonna get the heck out of this Blue Zone before this happens to me 🙂