New Normal Begins
I woke up late after reading through the book until past midnight. I lingered a bit in my morning bed and came up as soon as I started thinking about all sorts of useless things. I meditated as the first rule of my day. In my meditation, the Lord sent me a message about my life. I used to be a child doing all sorts of shit and now I have matured and know better. I better know better.
I wanted to stay indoors the whole day after learning there is no work for me. But I decided to drive out just to make my body move. First thing, I visited the usual park. At mid morning there were a bit more people, all kinds of people. I walked half of my usual distance. My self-control surprised me; I had opportunities to engage with some homeless dudes but I have done that old script before and knew exactly its outcome. It’s better to keep my distance from them. I need to establish a routine, like a protocol to follow now that I am so close to living the retired lifestyle. There are situations I need to assess quickly and react to correctly. Much like at work, there is a code blue if a patient’s heart and breathing stop. An alert if they are about to go into cardiac arrest. We all develop these codes in preparation for something dangerous or close to it being dangerous.
It would be very sad if I limit myself to the same limited space, doing the same tasks, seeing the same views, becoming a fixture that no one cares about. I don’t want to be that mysterious foreigner who walks around everyday in the same spot and the same route. I am now getting bored with the sameness and the only difference is the homeless crowd made up of faces that change every week. I know I have books to read, I have enough of them to last me reading through the remaining years of my life. And I have self-writing assignments that will keep me jotting down whatever comes to my thoughts as long as I can do it. And even computer languages that can help me learn new skills will never cease in keeping my days very busy.
But routines can sometimes lead to a loss of motivation. So I added a little variety to my day off. What if I go to another park, somewhere north of here and see if I can see a difference. And I should not overthink this plan. The only thing I am sure of is that if the task I am contemplating has nothing to do with sin or waste of time, the Lord will protect and advance it and I should not worry.
And I did it. Only God knows how satisfying it was to get out of my comfort zone. I soon parked at the John D MacArthur State Park. I went there to a similar trail I followed when I was still studying horticulture at the local college. Obviously the crowd, (outside of the elementary kids who were doing a field trip perhaps), were just old like me, even much older. The crowd was sparse and that is reasonable given the day of the week and time of day. I took the same familiar steps I took in my horticulture days, walking the boardwalk and climbing up the stairs helped me traverse the Intracoastal leading to the other side of the peninsula that came face to face with the ocean. It was a beautiful spot but the weather was not inviting. The clouds were gray, as if heralding a heavy downpour soon. But I kept recording. Being alone and taking too many videos and photos made me look suspicious to the eyes of many but I did not pay them mind. I am one who is not recognized in a place where everyone is desperate to fence themselves for their sense of security, and I understand their high brow distrust if not outright desire to run me out of the place. Well, this is something I need to accept. I will forever be a stranger to a lot of places I’d visit from this day forward. It will be a part of my life and whether I am in this country, or another county or other village, there is always the possibility of being regarded with suspicion if not disdain and I must be ready to save myself when the situation smells fishy. I need to also fence myself from potential dangers. I must be on constant alert. In this country, people are too loose with weapons, especially guns. Any appearance in places where no one has seen you can be misconstrued as provocation. I recall that news in NY where a group of teens got lost and entered the driveway of a man who just shot them killing one of the girls. I am training myself against these disasters. In Manila I met an ‘overly’ friendly young man at McDonalds with whom I casually mentioned my desire to travel to the Quezon province and immediately offered himself as my guide. I was close to taking his offer until he started asking for pre-guide tour payment. He sounded like a con man. That clicked as a red flag. I canceled the deal instantly. Fate intervened at the right time. Yes, trouble knows no limit, no boundary, no geography.
But that is just a caution among my many other cautions as I get older.
- If you make walking and travel plans, it would be preferable to have a companion. It could be a spouse, partner, a friend. If alone, at least inform someone who is close where you’d go and your expected return. Notify this someone if a change of plans happens.
- We all know this by now: Do not post your plans on social media.
- Do not follow the same route at the same time on the same days.
- Women: carry a mace if you travel in places you’re not safe. Obviously avoid those places in the first place LOL.
- Have a landscaper’s view of the terrain you’re planning to trek. For those who are over 60, consider the cost of climbing stairs or elevations with leg arthritis problems. Use cane or sticks if necessary to help you climb. Remember that the distance you venture out is the same distance you need to walk in returning. Do noy go kayaking too far that your fatigue takes over. You will need energy to kayak back.
- Make sure the walk or stroll is easy and comfortable. Avoid extreme weather, wear the most comfortable clothes, hydrate, apply sunscreen on sunny days, hats (especially in sunny Florida). Bring your cell phone with you. If on water wear a safety floater jacket.
- Do not attempt to learn how to run jet skis, launchers, boats, sails, paraglides, surfing boards, without proper instructions and basic training, It is not safe to test and experiment with these things on your own.
- Please avoid wakeboarding when there is a change in tides
- Avoid cycling and motorcycling in heavy traffic streets unless you are experienced with the best reflexes.
- That holds true for night walkers and strollers, be alert about your surroundings and have a quick response.
- You may think you are the safest driver in the West. What you should be concerned about are the drivers around you.
- If traveling abroad, do your diligent research about your country of destination. Pay attention to places to avoid and what times of day are safest and least risky for accidents. I remember walking the sidewalk of Manila last year and there were countless sudden curbs and steps (oh those steps in every store and mall!) which I did not see at night due to poor lighting.
- Best of all, please protect your private space. Your hotel room or vacation house or hostel bed is your protected bubble where you rest and sleep and meditate and get intimate with whoever is with you. Unless you are like me, I consider reading and listening to music and surfing the Internet as my intimate companions.
There are still countless safety measures people consider important that aren't included here but you get the gist of what I am trying to say. Of course my travels are 90 percent local and 10 percent outside. I think I am good so far. There are lots of places I have not trekked on yet in the USA alone.