I woke up crying with fear. When will this be over?
Tomorrow will be better… One day at a time.
Takot na takot ako. I had this nightmare. I was all alone. I can’t find familiar faces – I can’t find him. That’s when it struck me. Did I lose him in this chaotic world?
All I ever wanted was to see him again.
I prayed to God. I felt like my chest was about to explode. I remember how bad it hurts… Then when I turned back, he was there. I ran to him. I was so happy.
Then I woke up. I can still feel the heaviness in my chest. I can’t breathe. WTF! I was relieved that it was just a dream but in my head, these thoughts find a way to torture me.
I keep telling myself I’m okay. I know I’m gonna get through this – that everything will turn out fine after this lockdown. All will go back to normal after few more days… Yes, just few more days.
Was it just me?
Living alone in a 15sqm studio apartment, with no TV, no stable Internet connection (just mobile data), limited resources (like books, gadgets, etc) and just my plants to talk to (aside from myself) is taking its toll on me. Unlike people with families, partners or housemates — this lockdown has sentenced me to an indefinite period of no physical contact and limited face-to-face interaction (I miss my job 😭). There’s really nothing much to do here.
OKAAAAYYY I HEAR YOU AND I GET YOUR POINT. I just need to keep myself busy. There should be at least some INTERESTING things I can do to get myself moving – and HOPEFULLY, “become productive”.
But that’s easier said than done.
In this unprecedented time of overwhelming uncertainty and fear, more than ever, I’m looking for a sense of comfort and purpose. And for a Capricorn, ambitious, determined, career-oriented person like me, not being able to work (in a service-oriented industry) for a month now has felt terrible… BUT WHO AM I TO COMPLAIN when there are thousands of people dying from this coronavirus, countless people have no food to eat, and the real unemployed people are out there with no hopes on how to start over again.
Every day I keep reminding myself how blessed I am – that I have a roof above my head, comfortable bed, food to eat, healthy mind and body, and the list goes on.
But why I still feel empty inside?
Was it just me? Of course not.
There are a million more stories like this around the world. People living by themselves through this strange experience, as governments scramble to contain the deadly COVID-19 pandemic by restricting public life, will have to accept that this might be the new normal for quite a long time.
I saw this one episode of Impact Theory a few weeks ago wherein Tom Bilyeu interviewed Yuval Noah Harari, New York Times Bestselling Author of Sapiens. According to him, the most important skill for the rest of our life is Mental Flexibility.
“I think the most important thing is to invest in emotional intelligence and mental balance, because the hardest challenges will be psychological,” he said.
That makes sense. Being able to “go with the flow” and be flexible in our thinking are necessary skills for dealing with inevitable changes we are going through right now.
Most of my research also stressed the importance of building routine into our days. Trying to set at least three manageable goals per day can help us acquire the feeling of accomplishment.
According to Social Neuroscientist Dr. Stephanie Cacioppo, the key to ward off loneliness is to find new ways to regain control.
“What we’ve found in research is that a sense of control is essential for one’s sanity,” she said.
With my best effort, I keep reminding myself that this is just temporary and there are things I can do to survive this – whether it is boredom or loneliness. The first few weeks were the worse, but more than a month now, slowly I’m able to learn to remain centered and grounded. I make sure I’m trying to be as creative as possible. I also found out that my happiest, most normal-feeling days are the ones where I have a schedule. It surprised me how much these “things-to-do” — make my bed, grocery shopping, a new breakfast recipe —have made a meaningful difference in my quarantined life.
Cooking helped me shift my anxiety into a distraction that works for me. Since it requires concentration, it forces me to get into a different mindset. I just love the creative process – from searching the recipe, prepping the ingredients, watching the step by step procedures in YT, cooking it, doing the taste test, plating, taking a photo of my newly accomplished home-cooked meal to uploading it to my IG story is a wonderful experience.
But still, there are times (well most of the time) I worry about the future, about how life will be after this. Will I be able to get my job back? Will I still be able to pay my rent?
There are days I have felt like I have no purpose. It has been hard to motivate myself lately when I am so used to going to work and be surrounded by beautiful people I call “Family” – since my workplace is my home.
My workplace is where I spend my most productive time. It is where I am able to learn, laugh, share knowledge, and work with the people I care about.
Even with an intention to make the most of this experience, the reality is that COVID-19 will continue to create grief and hardship in the coming months. This pandemic is changing everything in our lives – changes that are universal across generations. People of all ages will see their lives disrupted and will experience new hardships.
On a positive note, I know and always believed that there is a real opportunity for us here. We now have the luxury of time to sit back and reconnect with our values, to slow down and catch our breath. We have more time – time for the things that really matter most.
Despite being isolated within the four walls of my tiny apartment, I still consider myself very lucky. I have the time to recharge my creativity and refill my Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual tanks. (The Financial tank is a different story and we’ll deal with that later. 😣)
I would expect that after this is over, we’re going to see more people making the changes they want in their lives – more people pursuing their wildest dreams, and living life with intention and purpose.
Life will definitely be different from now on.
I hope this period will give us a chance to recover our appreciation of beauty and even the simplest things around us; to have a greater sense of connection with nature and people; and most of all, a recovered sense of spirituality.
Because the bottom line is this:
We only got one lifetime to live.
Thank you so much for your time reading this blog. I am still processing and figuring a lot of things out but I’m glad I still get to share and create this content for all of you #thepursuerofdreams out there. I wish you and your loved ones good health, and I hope these words offer you meaning and encouragement during this time.
How about you? What will you take from this experience? I would love to hear from you. ❤️ Comment down below.