Surfing

There’s something about surfing that keeps people who are older than 30 from trying it. It’s an athletic pursuit that is for the young, people who are less concerned about looking trying too hard. It’s for someone who’s less afraid to commit mistake, something that keeps those who are older from ever attempting to mount a surf board, wait for the right wave, and in the most opportune of moments ride the surf like nothing matters but the exhilaration of lording over an ephemeral wave that lasts a little longer than a good orgasm.

I don’t see how I will ever be able to learn how to surf. There are too many things to take into account before you experience the rush and the high of riding that wave. The right way of paddling to the middle of the sea, spotting the right surf, knowing when to begin standing up, reminding oneself that the front foot should be horizontal relative to the body and to bend one’s hip to maintain stability, and using one’s core to keep oneself from dismounting the board before the right moment–these and more have to be in one’s mind if he has to surf successfully.

I wish I learned how to surf when I was younger, back when I was more daring and less fearful of the opinion of the crowd on the beach. Surely, I know the crowd doesn’t care. They’re only interested in that one surfer who stays on the board longer than most, who rides the waves with careless abandon. The crowd doesn’t care about the tourist who miserably fails in keeping himself vertical on a board the size of one of the main doors of St. Peter’s Basilica pushed by a surfing instructor who identifies the right wave for him, who is in the beginner level and will remain in that level because it will be his last time to visit this beach as there are other beaches waiting to be visited in his lifetime.

It’s too late to learn surfing now. I’m too heavy for it, too awkward, less agile, ridiculous-looking in a pair of board shorts that will only look nice on someone with defined abdominal muscles.

Nonetheless, when the day is over and one returns the board he has rented and paid the instructor the amount they agreed on, what stays in one’s memory is that moment when he successfully stands on a surf board, even though it is only a little longer than climaxing.

Indeed, he will not go back to that beach again, will not attempt to learn surfing again, will tuck away in the farthest part of his wardrobe that pair of unforgiving board shorts, but he knows that the memory of riding the wave for a mere 5 seconds is something he can revisit in the future when things worsen, when age has permanently caught on, when dreams, hopes, even passion is paralyzed to a standstill.

That’s the beauty of surfing, of those little memories of islands of happiness. We, humans, need them.

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Fitness and aging

I find the way I pursue fitness these days almost too religious. Due to the recent freedom I acquired, of course with so much misery it has caused me, I have now more time in my hand to work on my pecs, abs, glutes, and all those other muscle groups whose other half of what they are normally called in an anatomy class in the university are amputated and replaced with the more fashionable -s and -es suffixes.

I’m at the nearby gym for two hours every night, from 7pm to 9pm. I rest on Sundays. Even God rested on the seventh day. I’m already beginning to see visible effect. I feel pride whenever I see my reflection in the mirror, sweat bestowing my growing shoulders and arms that beautiful glisten one can only achieve after having spent hours pumping iron.

I train regularly because I’d rather fill my free time with something that benefits my health rather than spend it on useless pursuits such as daydreaming or watching online porn. Of course a man my age will never admit having enough free time. One’s worth after all is measure by how much time he spends working and keeping himself productive. And I have not outgrown this fallacy, hence the almost dogged adherence to routine.

But, it seems to me now, that this has nothing to do with routine, or any reason that runs along the same vein. I think that what keeps me from abandoning this routine is because until now I, and I’m not sure if I will ever be, am unreconciled to death.

It’s my hopeless attempt to hold death and its advance party, led by aging, at the gates. One morning, I woke up and saw myself looking intently at the reflection of my yet-to-be washed faced in the mirror. I was surprised me to see myself looking shocked and awed at the sight of fine lines on my forehead. Fine lines were never an issue before. I’d stay in the sun for many hours oblivious of the effects it will have in my skin all because of that golden tan that made me look healthier than I really was.

Suddenly lines became everything. And I am faced with aging and it visceralness.

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On a crossroad, again

My summer is about to end. After two months of moving around Metro Manila and Southern Tagalog working until I dropped of exhaustion and grew tired of endless talking, what’s left of me are a sunburnt skin, dark circles around my eyes, ruptured tonsils a battered pair of Chucks that I wear every day, a tired soul, and a new Dell laptop that replaced my aging Compaq.

This summer will also determine my next destination. I’m going back to Iloilo City on Tuesday, this I am sure of, but if events change, I may have to come back here in Manila and begin anew.

But wherever Fate is going to take me, the experiences will surely be written here. At least that’s something constant.