The times have changed. The last time I checked, people were more afraid about not being inoculated with Covid vaccines than getting the virus itself in their desperate attempt to get their lives back to pre-pandemic normalcy.
I understand the frustration that has been fueled by uncertainties and fear. After being locked for more than one year and our freedoms curtailed, it’s normal for people to feel this way, to feel the need to chase the times while they can before new threats to our freedom come haunting us again, in any way, in any form.
Covid was a test of how much of our mental, emotional and psychological strength we can deploy before our physiological system would go on a breakdown.
Even for introverted types like me, the pandemic was beyond what my secluded and private self was primed to handle. The earlier part of the pandemic was difficult due to some tough decisions that needed to be made; the middle was my breath of fresh air and the latter is the worse. The thoughts of not knowing if your favourite person in the world is genuinely okay at this moment is difficult to forego. It’s crippling to some point.
While in many parts of the world countries are starting to ease out restrictions as cases have significantly fell, here, we have started to open up the economy to tourists even while cases are still at more than 5k daily.
Cebu luckily is not as massively affected as many cities in Luzon but, who would know if you have /have had Covid when mass testing hasn’t really been done here. The local government declined to do mass testing for fear that the possible rise in cases would only put too much stress on the people and hurt the economy even worse than it already had. So unless you have symptoms or had a close contact with someone infected, you can get away with being tested and spread your virus on someone vulnerable, without you knowing.
I am not against opening up the economy. People needed to find ways to survive and most of us had to be outside and expose ourselves to be able to do that, but let’s all do it with caution. Look at India now. Despite it being a major vaccine producer in the world, when it failed to mass vaccinate its people and the new variants developed, deaths at around 4k daily seemed like a normal sight to see on the news. And this is sadly happening after more than a year into battling this pandemic.
Recently, I’ve agreed to get myself vaccinated for as early as my prioritization code would allow me. And with the vaccines that are available at present, there’s a big chance that I would get Sinovac and a very small chance of AstraZeneca. I’ve made a decision before to wait until enough data is made available to assess the effects of vaccination, but like the times, I’ve changed my mind. I’ve taken risks in my life before and I’m ready to face what awaits me at the end of the needle this time.
But that doesn’t mean, I’ll embrace getting back to my old routine before. I’ve made up my mind already and I won’t be doing any of that hard routine again. I’ve lost so much time and energy during those moments in my life that even with my free weekend, I still feel depleted. It did give me a sense of security and sadly, I would admit, a vague entitlement to some degree which did not add value to me as a person. But the bigger question is, did it give me the sense of fulfilment in life once I have retired home from the office? As far as I could remember, I still went to bed unable to calm my mind even if I turned the lights off. I’d still stare blankly for hours into the nothingness, not knowing how to feel or what to think, other than fatigue and exhaustion… and sometimes, a strange sense of adrenaline rush. Right now, I know I needed to do something different. I won’t do anything that will take more than 1/3 of my time and prevent me from doing the things that I want to do or be with the people I want to be with.
Time is so precious. It cannot be recovered once it has passed. So that is where I will try to find improvement in my life– to assess where to deploy my limited time from here onwards.
Time also is very uncertain. No one knows where this moment that we have now will take us– what learnings and lessons we can draw upon our experiences, within this fabric of joys and pains that had imbued us wholly.
The pandemic was an ultimate test of endurance for me personally. It drained me on the career side due to adjustments that I needed to set up so my team can still work as a whole. But on the upside, it also pushed me to learn and start doing things that were only just part of my gazillion plans before. Right now, I am happy learning what Pangga and I was supposed to do together. It’s a little challenging especially that I’m learning everything on my own, but with dedication and practice, I am positive I can pull this first year through and achieve my goal. I’ll reassess and readjust my strategies as often as I needed to, to find which would best suit me–given my risk appetite, my time frame and my performance in quantifiable terms.
And regardless of how hard the times may get, I will wake up everyday for my whys. Sometimes, waking up is a little harder on most days and that is okay. My feelings are valid like everyone’s. We have reasons why we feel the way we do and not everyone would understand that. And that is still okay. They don’t know our story and the emotions that linger in our hearts or the difficult thoughts that run in our minds– when things didn’t go as planned, when we’ve made a bad trade, when we’ve lost our chances for what could have been a life-changing move, when the computer crashes before we were able to save our reports… and the list goes on.
My reasons are valid, no matter how shallow they appear to other people. And so are yours. So is everyone else’s.
While it’s true that there are probably billions of people out there who had it worse than we do, that truth couldn’t take away the fact that what we feel at the moment, is ours for the taking. It’s ours to fight and subdue. It matters less how many times you and I had to feel this way because what matters is, we do something to withstand it everytime it tries to strike us.
And it doesn’t matter if people judge you for the things that they can only perceive as truth. Let them judge you on their level of understanding and empathy. For now, they don’t deserve to know your truth.
Take yours with you, alone or otherwise, and pray for strength. And also pray for love to drown your heart.