I Refuse to Slow Down on the Third Stage Highway, You Can Too

As you near retirement or are in retirement, don't slow down. Give it a go instead. Read about my experiences in retirement abroad where I'm getting stronger and better.


Melinda Miles-Lindberg

2 years ago | 3 min read

Our home in the Republic of Panama. Photo courtesy of the Author.

My wife and I retired to the Republic of Panama over four years ago. Upon our arrival, we would talk to anyone about what they thought was important to have in a house, whether we constructed or bought.

We enjoyed the conversations and we enjoyed the dream.

When it became obvious that we would not find a waterfront home built and for sale to our liking, we paid more attention to suggestions on exactly how to build it.

Planning our dream home.
We decided on a two-story home with little to nothing on the bottom floor. As longtime vacationers to the island of Kauai, our now-finished home has that Hawaiian bungalow look. Our raised design reduces the number of critters inside. In rentals before we had hosted cane toads, frogs, crabs, and snakes, in addition to an abundance of insects. That additional nine-foot rise eliminates the first three and cuts down tremendously on the latter.

Other considerations were not as fundamental but still crucial to a home that we will and do love.

Deep, contrasting colors cover our inside walls. No door separates the master, or mistress, bedroom from our bathroom. That helps with airflow reducing must and mold, as well as making it easier for my wife and me to talk to each other while one is bathing.

We heard this ex-pat counseling to plan on slowing down. In fact, make it easier to do so.

I encourage you to do the opposite.

Machete and bulletproof window and porch screens protect us, and our pets. The screened porch is even named after our only cat at that time, Pearl. The Pearl Porch. We never let our cats outside but our Alaskan cat that made the move with us died most likely from a rare poisonous frog that found his way to the deck at a rental home.

Never again.

To keep or throw away the suggestions of others.
I am certain that many suggestions made by our new friends did not make it into our final design. Either money considerations or simply a difference of opinion swayed us otherwise.

But one suggestion Ingrid and I agreed to throw out quickly: Place your electrical sockets up high at three or four feet so when you are elderly one needn’t squat down to plug in or unplug an appliance.

In short, we heard this ex-pat counseling to plan on slowing down. Make it easier to do so.

We decided together to do the opposite.

We keep moving in the third stage of life.
Every day, we give it a go in the third stage of life. In fact, we keep moving along at a good clip. Intentionally, doing what we want to do, but not awaiting.

Not awaiting anything.

I call this attitude the Third Stage Highway. And I write about it, every week in a newsletter on Substack. Join us there!

We keep moving our bodies in different ways. Shocking oury metabolism. Try it too. Surprise your friends with a decision to keep shifting things around. Whatever those things are.

Your habits can be tweaked for good. If you walk on the beach, lean down and pick up sea glass for a change. If you watch an hour of t.v. every night, watch an hour of t.v. in Spanish instead.

Surprise them. Surprise yourself.


Because chronic illnesses — Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and others — are lifestyle illnesses. Simply put, these illnesses are caused by lifestyle choices. Ergo, they can be cured by lifestyle changes. The main culprits or risk factors are smoking, high alcohol intake, physical inactivity, obesity, and poor nutrition. To that widely accepted list, I add another major risk factor, prolonged sitting.

So join us. Don’t move your electrical outlets up higher. Instead, move your body.

If you like what you read here, please buy me a “ko-fi” by clicking here:, thanks!


Created by

Melinda Miles-Lindberg

At the end of the day, what do you want your obituary to say? It's not too late to change it.







Related Articles