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Writing has been a significant part of my personal and professional life, but I’ve never been fond of diaries nor posting much of my personal stories online — whether through blogging or social media. Much about me online are work-related. But after trying to cope up and make sense of this pandemic plaguing the entire world and putting a halt to what we know as normal, reading about writing down our experiences in these trying times may actually be something I should do. And perhaps, it can be a good reminder of this point in our lives when much of our busy, fast-paced lives suddenly stopped and forced us to be home (or bravely face the world as frontliners).
The first week of the lockdown, survival mode meant going to the grocery and health store to ensure we have enough supplies for the entire month. I didn’t hoard and I bought as much stuff we need as a family and I had to make sure we would still have funds left being from the middle class. Unfortunately, the high prices of everything was very much felt as I found myself grocery shopping with just enough but paying so much for them — it was just a cart of stuff and I almost run out of funds.
It’s normal to check on news reports for government announcements and updates on the pandemic through TV, radio, and online. I realized, for the sake of my own health and sanity, I should avoid watching our sick president mumble for minutes and hours without anything concrete. Social media is a combination of good and bad — but at least I can control the content I put my focus on somehow. Old-school radio and audiobooks are awesome while in transit as always. From time to time, i try to check the AM stations instead of my usual FM faves.
In between doing family errands and checking news updates, I had to work from home as my students are counting on me. To help me somehow relax as a workaholic getting stressed with the effects of the pandemic and the lockdown, I tried working on some personal projects on the side so I could finish some pending pre-production and post-production works for my short independent film projects. Indeed, when you’re working on something you are passionate about, it feels good.
I felt extreme emotions throughout the entire ordeal and I think this will continue through the one-month quarantine (the next question being, “Would it really be just one month?”). I continuously got updates on people dying, heroes falling, officials abusing their powers, privileged people being insensitive in social media, people fighting for their lives in various ways, mental health concerns affecting those locked down in their homes and those whose loved ones are directly affected by the pandemic, irresponsible people who would still go out for the heck, sick people, pregnant women, and newborn children unable to go to clinics and hospitals to see doctors, filled up hospitals, people losing jobs and thinking of their bills, etc. On the other side of the spectrum, people are finding more appreciation of the arts, people finding ways to help no matter how limited their resources are, people uniting online against fake news sites, people sharing their knowledge and skills online to help out or entertain others, families and relatives near and far continuing to communicate, ordinary people helping out strangers compared to the general distrust/paranoia of people to strangers before the pandemic, family members who are not frontliners having more bonding time in households, and people realizing who are the right leaders doing real public service vs. those who don’t.
In a span of a week, people’s perspectives were changed if not shattered. More people felt the importance of health and well-being, alongside the value of taking care of the only home we have — as Mother Earth started healing without much pollution around that we started seeing blue skies and birds chirping in unexpected places including big cities. I hope the issue on climate change will be more impactful to more people now more than ever. Perhaps, mentioning how ice melting in the polar caps would mean waking up deadly viruses like the novel coronavirus would now really shake up the status quo. More people now have more respect to scientists, professionals, and other experts on different fields. Grocery, health, and science workers, alongside media workers, garbage truck collectors, security personnel, porters, delivery people, fruit stand vendors, fast-food workers, social science experts, cleaners, and many others are now finally getting the much-needed respect they deserve ever since. Same thing with artists and writers as people at home try to cope up with the current state of affairs by watching films and TV shows, play games, read books, appreciate poetry, listen to music, among many others.
If there is one word that had a huge impact to me this past week, that’s the word TIME. Time to stop and reflect. Time to spend more time with what are really important. Time to change for the better — not just with me or my family but for the rest of the world. We also need time to stop the spread of the virus as we buy more time for the experts to make vaccines and antivirals against it. Let’s do our part and make good use of our time. For us, for our loved ones. For our future.