Memoirs of a MasseurTodd Pequeen


Welcome back to the Quepolandia. What a breath of fresh air! In 20 years of writing for this publication I have never been edited or advised on a topic. My writing meanderings have been, some would say, all over the road. My original Health is Wealth column, followed by the current Memoirs scribbles in which you are reading now, have always been opinions, observations, and desires for our awesome jungle living, beach going, sunset watching community. However we now live in a peculiar new world that has taken everyone by surprise and YES, we have finally reached 2021. My editor and chief Mr. Dave Bolger finally interjected in my writing process and had one simple direction for me to run with this month. “Please make it positive,” was all he said. In mid-March our community, and a large part of the world, was wrung up with a collective noose which continues to cinch our realities today. It is time to reignite the best part of being human which is simply living in the gift of life which is today.

I am a forever optimist. My roots are strong because of my hard working traditional family from withering Buffalo, N.Y. during the 70’s and 80’s. The value of struggle and simply putting one’s head down and doing what needs to be done is what my sisters and I were raised on; my parents (now married 55 years) had no choice really. Originally I saw the onset of Covid as a welcomed many month vacation, similar to dozens of monthly travels and surf trips I’ve managed to pull off since my twenty’s. But then something changed beyond the onset of our rainy season. My dreams and intentions for 2020 were forced to change. My savings began to obviously go in one direction as massage magic isn’t very popular during pandemics! Through much alone time, exercising, and gardening, I was forced to realize that my aspirations could go anywhere I directed them to be. In a way the forced shift and evolution into a proverbial tightening of the belt on the body of humanity I began to see as a gift and a blessing. Maintaining a “status quo” existence was never a goal before why should it be now? Many of my friends were forced to leave. Many business ventures had to cash in their chips as tourists were no longer a money grab like a loose slot machine. Manuel Antonio itself went from a thriving counter culture Latino Beverly Hills to a flat-lined dead end road at a vacant park and beach. Some of my surfer friends were treated like criminals for paddling out onto the Pacific simply to ride a wave. Posh rental mansions became abandoned, almost everyone lost their jobs, and then a funny thing happened. It reminded me of the first spring day in any northern city when a tulip first pushes itself out of cold soil in any garden. The scent and sun and energy of a change of season signified a new beginning.

There is an indescribable feeling of hope and strength which is a birthing energy in all of us. It can lift us out of any depression or silence or sadness. It is the very essence that gives us courage and helps to provide vividness after times of hardship. The re-set, the new beginning, the calloused soul shouts survival. It is a good thing to be forced into a fast now and then as deprivation leads to heightened awareness. In the end it can be a positive gut checking action, to genuinely be thrown into the unknown and be forced to figure things out. Hardship is what builds character. Collectively the entire world is going through this tribulation and in doing so it may be unmasking our unity as human beings. The energy around us has been slowed down maybe, just because, we all need to breath a bit more, to inhale slower and deeper my friends. Possibly we all needed this to happen. Could this be the perfect solution to help wildlife return to Manuel Antonio? Perhaps this hiccup of Covid will stop disgusting condo developments from damaging our already crowded community. Quite feasibly this past year has made us all into better people for the future. There is no doubt that the new year will continue to invite an improved existence and will present us with various challenging opportunities. Embracing the obvious is all we can do. Get out and enjoy all of what this community still has to offer. The change may delight you.

Todd Pequeen is an independent massage therapist here in Manuel Antonio. He can be reached at 8830-7727 or through his contact information on