i am at this world-famous beach off Panay Island, at the invitation and good graces of a friend, who quickly saw through my need for a break at the time we met. it's what my friend calls "quality time for my self", and i am grateful and thankful for this mini-sabbatical.
but after 2 days here, i think i am going crazy.
first afternoon of my stay, i walked on the beach to the farthest northern end, and walked back again to meet my friend for drinks and light dinner. it was good and relaxing and calming, to finally be able to get away from it all, even for just a little while, and just enjoy my self.
the next morning, it actually jarred me to realize that for the next two days, i am only responsible to my self and my pleasures, and the only decisions i have to make was what i was going to do next, whether to eat or not, what to eat, when, do i feel like falling asleep? here on the sand, or over there on the plastic lounge chairs?
suddenly life has been reduced to its simplest needs and the most basic of decisions have also become the most monumental, as there are no other decisions to make.
i think i had a productive day yesterday, though. this time, i walked to the farthest southern end and back to the middle, near my friend's shop, and where my favotite lounging spot is, under a small coconut tree, sitting or lying on plastic lounge chairs, shaded from the sun, and where i could watch people pass by, swim or just generally do what people on beaches do.
i had a body massage done right there on the sand, too, even as i chatted with some women who sat near where i was. also, i read halfway through my PhD course's assigned novel so i felt like i accomplished something as this assignment is one month overdue, after all. then, in the evening, i had a relaxing dinner and conversation with my friend again.
it bothered me, though, what my friend said about me, how i seem to be like somebody who wont just live life as it comes, that i let an experience happen with set rules in my head, thus the experience is not experienced fully. i was confused because i've always thought i was the most open and liberal person there is around, but hearing me described that way makes me feel like im some kind of a standoffish prude or a closedminded, uptight bitch...
i told my friend that's the first time i've heard my self described that way, and to his credit he says it's just an impression he has of me. but it still bothers me.
if there are set rules in my head, they are very few, actually just one or two. it's always been just honesty and kindness, and maybe, well, the more natural things come, the better for me because it's a lifestyle philosophy.
from where i come from, experiencing life being totally open, without preconceived "rules" (boundaries, as i see them) is like willing one's self to the wind, to be taken wherever the wind wills to blow, and risking flying splat into some glass windowpane when i could have checked my journey out first and prepared accordingly.
maybe in a way, my friend is correct in that observation. i did go about my first day "planning" things still, and not feeling like it was productive until i felt that i "accomplished" something, even if the goal was only as simple as to get to one end of the beach and back, and to start reading my PhD novel assignment.
but i still don't see how that is wrong. i have come far in my life and in my growth precisely because i lived my life that way-- anticipating new challenges, studying them, preparing for them, and when the challenge comes, cresting the wave exhiliratingly and confidently because i was prepared in the first place.
from his perspective, though, i think i can begin to appreciate why he thinks i need "improvement" in this area. he seems to have lived his life as the wind blew him, and he seems content and is his own person, with no bother or care in the world.
in fact, that quietly impressed me-- how, in the midst of the sturm and drang of my life, here is this person so centered, living his life at the core, with equananimity and grace. in this sense, his presence and friendship is a healing thing for me. because here is this one person who seems not to need anything from me, who doesn't expect me to give anything to him, at THIS exhausting time in my life when i am burnt out from too much giving.
but i am saddened that in this one sense, he seems to think that my being who i am is "wrong" somehow, that i need to see things his way to be "right" in his eyes. and that bothers me a lot.
i probably need to talk some more about this with him, when the opportunity comes.
then, too, it's all these people-watching that's getting to me.
there are a number of filipino tourists here, mostly families or couples on vacations, but the most conspicuous thing here are the foreigners, especially the foreign men with filipina women, most especially OLD foreign men and YOUNG filipina women.
these couples walk around as if they were lovers, when one gets a sense that they're not. who's kidding whom? one gets that sense.
and then again, it makes me feel lonelier than ever. at least, even for just "pretend love", they get to walk around, walk on the beach, and hold each other's hand.
earlier this morning, i saw a young Korean couple having a good time at the beach, swimming and kissing and making out, and another mixed odd couple (old foreigner, young filipina again) splashing around in the water and embracing each other.
looking at them from where i was, i just felt so detached and weary, like an alien observer from outer space, watching these people and recording what they do in my mind. it all seems like a kind of life far removed from mine. for a brief moment, i wondered if i will ever have that kind of loving again.
i am going crazy on this second day here, because it is just me and my thoughts; i only get to talk to my friend once he gets off from work-- and there is no paper and pen in sight!!!
i walked around, through all of the shops, from one end to the other, asking if they had paper and pen for sale-- but NADA!!!
oh, god. this is killing me. i should have taken my diary with me.
so that's why i finally gave in to going to an internet cafe here (i thought i'd forget about my old life for a while, while i'm here, and not even go on the net to check my emails and surf my usual haunts...), and writing on this blog.