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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

You Are My Hero

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

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Ruben the MC at a Tennis Tournment

I first met Ruben in 1993 on the tennis courts in Chapala, Mexico. We had just arrived to this beautiful expat town south of the border and I scouted out the tennis courts for some exercise. He was one of the better players who accepted me and my level of play into his group.

Back then, because of the condition of the courts and the way they were run, it was very difficult to get a court during “prime time”. Therefore a group of us would pile into someone’s car and head west searching for a free court. Sometimes we had to scale fences and beware of protective dogs, but we found the court and played for hours.

Eventually, there was a change of Administration for the city of Chapala and it was at this time Ruben and I went to the government building and asked if we could be in charge of the courts. We assured that all of the fees collected for playing would be returned into maintaining the courts. Not only was this maintenance long overdue, we offered to do this job for free. Happily, the city saw our proposition as a great idea.

They accepted our plan and in 1995 we took over the direction of the courts.

Expansion and transformation

 

Little by little Ruben and I raised money to fix the cracks, repair the nets and finally resurfaced the four courts. Tennis courts need constant maintenance which requires money - sometimes in large amounts. 

As a team we created tournaments, potlucks and games to raise funds for what was now becoming a very popular place for tennis enthusiasts. Meanwhile we would play aggressive tennis 3-4 times a week which kept us busy and in shape.

This went on for several years and the courts continued to get busier. The wait times for getting a court became longer as Christinia Tennis was being discovered. The Mexican version of the Chamber of Commerce photographed our “Tennis Club” and advertised it to the incoming expat community, bringing in even more players.

Ruben and I discussed the chances of the City allowing us to build two more courts as long as we paid for them.

At this time the Mayor of Chapala was a friend and fellow tennis player. So were his brother and sons so everyone understood the need for more courts.

Together we began to raise the necessary funds, begging, borrowing, holding social events and anything else we had to do to get to the required amount which the contractor quoted us.  

The City Council gave us approval and we began construction.

An unexpected turn of events

One sunny morning, Ruben and I were on the same doubles team and he was playing the net when a ball came at him and hit him. A bit frustrated and surprised, he said he could not see it. Being guys, we all ribbed him good naturedly, and continued playing. Then again he mentioned that he was just not seeing the ball.

After the game Ruben and I chatted and I recommended he get an eye exam. A few days later after his appointment, he let me know that his eye pressure was very high and he needed to be on eye drops. Over time, this disease progressed and eventually he needed numerous eye surgeries to reduce his pressure.

Life moves on bringing many changes

Ruben continued to play tennis but it was becoming obvious that he was having difficulty. Never once did I hear him complain; not about his level of play dropping due to his changing eyesight, not about the possible future he was facing. We continued our partnership running the courts until Akaisha and I decided to travel more and then he ran them solo.

As his eyesight continued to deteriorate, the courts were turned over to other people. Meanwhile Ruben and I stayed in contact almost daily via email.

By now, he was legally blind. Eventually he moved to the States where he settled in Arizona quite near where we have our place.

Again, throughout this time I never, ever heard Ruben complain about his loss of vision. He maintained his engaging sense of humor, and we shared conversations about current events and the goings-on with friends we had in common.

I doubt I could be so strong and upbeat. This is why I call him my hero.

 

Moving into the present

Ruben is a veteran. Because of this status he was able to receive training on how to survive living on his own and how to cook for himself. When his significant other died (one of the producers of Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In, and one of the two people who hold the original Fickle Finger of Fate) he deftly moved into yet another transition that life handed him.

He currently has special computer equipment with programs that are voice activated, especially made for the blind. And he now has a seeing-eye companion dog. 

I heard from Ruben today using that special computer equipment. He wanted to let me know that what little sight he has left is now going, and all there was to do at this point was to wait. He still regularly exercises at his community’s clubhouse, using their gym equipment. I had to laugh when he told me that more than once his seeing-eye dog got him lost bringing him home from the clubhouse.

Ruben is my friend. He is an inspiration to me as I have watched him handle himself in trying circumstances. He has shown me the value of humor in dealing with what life throws at us. I can only hope that I have similar courage when called upon.

Do you have friends whom you consider to be heroes in your life?

Ruben is mine.

 

 

About the Authors

 
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on Amazon.com.

Billy and Akaisha continue to journal and photograph their world travels.

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