Fortitude

Huevon is my favorite Mexican slang. Felipe’s interprets it as lazy, slow, or dull; picture a burro with balls so big he can barely move from the weight of them.

This is the state I was in when I moved to Mexico, though at the time I didn’t realize it. I was a hard working person; waiting tables is physically demanding and stressful. I was hardy, I didn’t have an air conditioner, I went camping for fun.

Still, I was huevona, and I don’t think I was an exception. I became irritated if I got my feet wet when watering the garden, carrying three bags of groceries from a grocery store 6 blocks away warranted a trip in the car, an overlong wait in line was a pitifully short period of time; I think you get my drift.

I see it now as a sort of dis-ease; an inability to adjust to discomfort from too many years of climate controlled, sound tracked, luxury laden life. Desire for things I did not need, and unlimited choices made me weak in body and mind. I lacked fortitude. I believe this is a prevalent ailment in the developed world.

What cured me of the malady? Cold Showers.I was introduced to the wonders of agua frio(cold water) when we moved to Mexico.

We lived briefly with Felipe’s sister Chucha when we arrived, she did not and still doesn’t have hot water. No one in La Tigra had hot water … but us. When we built our house it was without question that we’d install a hot water heater. But when we went broke and the gas ran out for the stove we moved the tank from the heater to the stove and it remained there.

Cold showers are a gift. They strengthen your nervous system, they’re a perfect way to jumpstart your day if you haven’t had enough sleep, and they give you instant courage and resolve. Try taking a cold shower before a job interview, or a giving a speech, you’ll be amazed at how much confidence it gives you.

When I visit the U.S. I luxuriate in the hot water– for a while. Then I realize I feel sluggish, and I re-acclimate my body to cold water. It brings me back to my senses. Literally, I feel my senses sharpen, my appetite curbed, my ability to endure the television wanes.

Fortitude is defined as determination in a difficult or painful situation. What I have found is that the more I practice fortitude, the less often a situation feels difficult or painful. A cold shower is the perfect way to flex your fortitude every day.

This is my method.

Do not think about how cold it will be. Turn on the tap and put your head under the water, fully wet your head and turn off the tap. As you stand up the water will run down your body, and begin making you accustom to the cold. I then shampoo my hair, turn the water back on and step into the flow to rinse my head, turn off the water, soap up, rinse, repeat…

Let me know if you give cold showers a try, or you already practice this method of body/mind building.

Please listen to your body; some health conditions and cold water do not mix.

Cold showers are defiantly very simple, very easy(well, maybe not the first time, but trust me, it gets easier), and very good.

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4 thoughts on “Fortitude

  1. Oh, Abby, I guess I am huevón and will remain huevón. For our first two weeks here in Mexico we took cold showers. This was in about the warmest time of the year, and we were in a warm place. But the water was cold. And your other excellent advice, about wetting yourself in the shower, turning off the water to soap and wash, is also something I just don’t do. Even though we have to truck in our water, except now during the rainy season when we get a downpour about every night, I love my continuous warm showers, and I even shave in the shower, and brush my teeth. We do re-use our greywater for the plants, during the dry season, but I just so far do not want to do without my long warm showers. I agree with everything you say in this post, I just don’t want to practice your great advice.

    • I had a hot shower when I was at your place, and we buy gas for the heater for November and December. They are a great eye opener when we get too soft. But, they are not for everyone at all times, not even me. miss you amigo, a

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  2. Enjoyed the new word (huevón) – guess I had better watch my tendency to be a comelón, or that’s how I’ll end up (even more than already).

    All my cold shower experiences have been in Mexico. “Esta usted SEGURO que hay agua caliente? Pues si, si señor – esperase poquito…” I hate running water a long time waiting to see if it will actually get hot (or warm) ’cause I don’t like to waste it. It is a thrill when you give up and step into it, and refreshing when its over.

    • It was only a couple of years ago thatI started taking cold showers whenI am in the US. I think I am a little addicted to the adrenalin thrill.

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