Lifestyle Blog from the Philippines

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Quarantine Thoughts: Highs and Lows

The lockdowns happening all over the world has resulted in many highs and lows. It's not surprising that people feel a surge of contradicting emotions from everything that has been happening everywhere. I have been working from home, but it's hard to completely focus when you see so many things on TV and read about so much depressing news online.

The lows, of course, are obvious: the number of deaths, the number of people infected, the fact that health care systems all over the world are not ready for something of this magnitude, the shutdown of economies is all so depressing and scary.

It is so easy to get into a black hole of internet conspiracy theories and terrify yourself with all the bleak facts and figures regarding the COVID 19 virus. It is far easier to get angry with how things are happening than it is to try to be positive with all the news that we get daily.  

I'm not saying that we shouldn't be angry. We have every right to feel upset over what is happening. This is something that we are all unprepared for. None of us expected things to implode the way that it has.

There are way too many toxic exchanges online concerning the way that governments all over the globe are handling the situation. I think that while people can and should point out when things are not working, I don't think that negativity is the answer to what is happening. None of us are experts at what is going on. We are all (hopefully) doing the best we can given the circumstances (except for those people who are still not following the lockdowns and are harassing the families of COVID-positive patients, obviously). 

Governments should do what they can. We the public should point out when things don't work so they can do things better. If other governments are doing better, maybe suggesting to and/or applying similar practices is better than arguing against it just because that person is from a different political party. Now is not the time for politics and grandstanding. There is so much work to be done. People need to work together if we are all going to survive this pandemic. We need to follow the quarantine guidelines. We need to follow social distancing. We need to take the necessary precautions whenever possible not just for ourselves but for the people we love.

The uncertainty of it all brings out so many fears not just about health but also about how we are all going to survive this pandemic and the lockdowns if we cannot work. It's hard not to wonder and probably believe that things will never go back to normal after all of this is over.

Nevertheless, there are still many things that can help to lift ourselves up from these depressing and scary times. The stories of people who go out of their way to prepare food for the healthcare professionals at the hospitals are inspiring. Seeing how ordinary people who, even with so little, do what they can to help their neighbors during these interesting times warms my heart. Businesses that made the shift to making personal protective equipment and disinfectants to help doctors and nurses while they save people from COVID 19 give you hope that things are going to be OK.

The donations that are pouring in from private individuals are overwhelming and gives you hope that we are all going to get through this together. The way so many people are giving so much of themselves online to help lighten the load of people -- from celebrities going online live to interact with their fans to musicians who give free performances and the artists and other creatives sharing free online lessons -- you can feel that there is a sense of community in the midst of this isolation that we are all holding onto. The fact that we have that in these trying times tells me that we can all count on each other when they matter the most.

Here in our neighborhood, it has been all about sharing and community. Sometimes a neighbor would be at our gate to hand over vegetables or fruits from their garden. Other times it would be a meal or a snack that they had more than enough of (something that we also do as well). I think as long as we all have each other's backs, we can all make it out of this in one piece. 

The church being online and accessible to the public has also been a blessing. I may not be much of a practicing Catholic these days, but the fact that the church has become so accessible during these trying times has meant a lot to me. Watching Pope Francis doing the Urbi et Orbi blessing alone at the Vatican was so moving and comforting. It made me feel that it's not just us against this virus but that God is also here with us. 

Another high that I think has come out of this quarantine is the time that has been given to us. I don't think I'm the only person who has commented that I would do this and that if only I had the time. Well now I do, and it's time I got around to it. I'm sure that it's been the same for a lot of people too. 

I'm grateful that this time has, despite the reason that it has happened, allowed me to be around my family more. It has also given me time to reflect and get to know myself better. To know what is important to me and what I should be giving priority to. 

Apart from knowing ourselves better, this situation has also enlightened us on the people around us. I remember there's a quote about how circumstances do not make a person, but rather they reveal it. How someone reacts to the present situation certainly gives me an idea of the kind of person that someone is. It's an eye-opener not just about that person, but also about how I should interact with that person moving forward. 

Sadly, we are not all going to have the best intentions at heart. There will always be people with different ideas in mind. This pandemic has made me see that no matter how you want to see the good in everyone and want to do the right thing, not everyone is going to be the same. However, being aware of that and being less naive about it is balanced out by the people who, on the other hand, have impressed me with their actions in these times. Let's just hope the latter type of people will eventually outnumber the former.

I look forward to the day when the threat of COVID 19 ends. When will it end? I have no idea. I feel that even if the lockdowns are over, the threat will still be there until the vaccines and cures are developed. Until then, I will continue to hope, pray, and be inspired by the good things that happen despite the bad.

I hope we will be OK soon.

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