Early mornings and a good cup of coffee – there are just some things that always come in pairs. Fellow coffeeholics would agree that days are impossible to start without that caffeine rush. Some drink for the taste of the coffee while some drink for the effect. Drinking coffee for me is more of a habit – a buffer, so to say, allowing me to get lost in my thoughts before I face reality.
This COVID-19 pandemic is without precedent. What seemed like the peak of commercial and industrial development all over the world crashed in a matter of months, in a matter of weeks even. Nobody saw this pandemic coming, and even if some did, they could do nothing to prevent the inevitable. This pandemic has brought both drastic and subtle changes in everyone’s lives. What used to be my perfect pair of early mornings and a good cup of coffee is no more. Early afternoons and a good cup of coffee – this is my new normal.
Earlier in the year, I tendered my resignation letter for my first formal job in the private sector in the hopes of finding work as a public servant. It was not until April, however, that my resignation will take effect. Considering that my last day was scheduled in the middle of the community quarantine imposed all over the Philippines, I was seriously deliberating delaying my plans of leaving a stable job amidst the unpredictable times.
I already had my career plan tracked for the year and I never expected that things beyond my control will derail what I had already meticulously and religiously planned for months. I prayed a lot and I prayed hard. Despite all the uncertainties, worries, and occasional spurs of anxiety, I ultimately decided to take a leap of faith and push through with my original plan.
This pandemic has only made me realize anew that we will never really know what life will bring us. Nothing is certain in this world except death, although we may not know when it will come. I ultimately decided to follow my heart and dreams into the depths of the unknown. And now I look forward to what is in store for me ahead – my new beginnings.
Quarantine Life and Self-Rediscovery
Seeing that I suddenly have a lot of free time in my hands, I did what any normal person would do in this locked down situation: I took my sanity pills, that is, I catered to my previously neglected hobbies.
First on my list was to play video games. I always smile when my childhood memories bring back how I would play Harvest Moon on my brother’s Gameboy Advance SP under the pillows just so I would not get caught by my parents playing in the wee hours of the morning. Looking back, those times would probably be the best all-nighters I have ever spent in my life.
Getting a copy of Animal Crossing New Horizons was a no-brainer. Dubbed as everyone’s quarantine therapy, playing Animal Crossing helped me (and probably a lot of others as well) to cope with being stuck at home in the middle of what would have been the season of going on vacation holidays and trips. We were supposed to go Tokyo last March for the yearly company trip of my previous firm. It would have been my first time. I did get to travel to Japan eventually, albeit without using a Japan Visa, when I had my Japanese-inspired design and layout for my Animal Crossing island. Indeed, Animal Crossing is basically therapy.
This locked-down period also gave me the opportunity to go back to my first love – leisure reading. I do not read anymore as much as a used to when I was younger. I would like to blame my lack of enthusiasm to read on being burned out from my law school readings but that might not be actually accurate. I guess with everything that is happening around us have made my attention span shorter by the minute. Focusing on reading good old books has been increasingly getting hard these days. Finishing a book this quarantine period makes me really proud of myself. Not only was I learning new things, I was also slowly rekindling my passion for reading.
Meanwhile, I took the opportunity to engage in activities others were doing to distract themselves from the anxiety brought by the pandemic. I managed to cook a few times and attended webinars which may help me in the future. I also tried distant learning by taking some free courses available online in an effort to enrich and develop myself while stuck at home. I even succeeded in starting my fitness journey (which I have been planning for a while now but never got the chance to execute) by playing Ringfit Adventure and Just Dance on my Nintendo Switch.
Despite all that has been said, however, trying to be productive all the time during this pandemic can also be quite mentally draining and exhausting. There are days when I find myself being too unmotivated to get up from my bed and spending most of my time lazing around and mindlessly scrolling through my social media feeds.
As much as I try to shy away from the reality this pandemic is causing us, there are still times when anxiety catches up leaving me feeling hopeless. I figured this is part of the new normal, especially when living alone. While raising a hyperactive dog can be a pain in the neck, it is during these times that I’m thankful for being a fur parent. A little playtime with the doggo lifts my spirits and I eventually get up and about. The routine of trying to be productive then continues.
Moving Forward and Beyond
With all the things I have been keeping myself busy and with my relatively short attention span, nothing really sticks with for a long time except for one thing – writing. Writing has always been my constant. I write for work, I write for leisure, and I write just because. I have been writing ever since I can remember and it will always be my default to-do.
I started blogging when I was thirteen. I remember using different platforms like Blogspot, Blogger, Multiply, Weebly, and WordPress. It was only recently, however, where I decided to commit myself more to writing and to religiously maintaining my blog this time around. I confess that I have not been as hands-on with my blogging as I would have liked the past year. I guess life just has its ways of keeping you sidetracked from your goals.
This pandemic has derailed our personal and collective lives, and we can all agree that nobody wants, nor takes delight, in our current plight. Still, we must always look for silver linings lest we lose all hope and positivity life has to offer. Having the chance to start anew with my blogging journey is only one of the many silver linings I find in these trying times.
Believing that everything will be alright despite the current bleak circumstances will do wonders in your state of mind. What keeps me moving forward and looking ahead is the faith that what is meant to happen will happen. Our personal plans will fall into place at the right time. This pandemic will end sooner or later and we will all resume to our lives be it our normal or a new normal. After all, when everything seems to be down, there can be no other way but up.
This story is an entry to ComCo Southeast Asia’s “Write to Ignite Blogging Project”. The initiative is a response to the need of our times, as every story comes a long way during this period of crisis. Igniting and championing the human spirit, “Write to Ignite Blog Project" aims to pull and collate powerful stories from the Philippine blogging communities to inspire the nation to rise and move forward amidst the difficult situation. This project is made possible by ComCo Southeast Asia, co-presented by Eastern Communications and sponsored by Electrolux, Jobstreet and Teleperformance.