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Friday, July 17, 2020

Pandemic Diaries: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

How has living in this pandemic been for you so far? On my end, it has been OK. A bit challenging, a bit scary, but if I take a step back and look at what I have instead of what I do not, I will say that I am doing better than most. Life is not perfect, but it is still fine...better actually, now that my boss has FINALLY allowed me to work from home. I report at the office once a week but for the rest of it I work from my home. It has given me a bit of comfort and peace of mind knowing I am tucked away in my home for work instead of exposed to all the people going in and out of our office, which was a concern I shared in a previous post.

Image by Queven from Pixabay

It's very sad to know that so many are not so lucky. My problems seem small compared to so many others. Watching TV and listening to stories about how many businesses have closed and the many people who have lost their jobs due to this pandemic breaks my heart for several reasons. For one, my family and I have gone through similar financial conditions a long time ago: we did not know where to get money to pay for our bills. We had to ask friends and relatives for help just to have food on the table. We had to make do with whatever we had just to get by. I know how hard it is, I do not wish it on anyone. To know that there are many suffering a similar fate, and with many not being as lucky as we were because we had friends and family we could turn to, it is a sad thing to hear about. That man on the news who broke down and cried on EDSA because of how hard life has been? My heart goes out to him. I know many other people in the country are feeling the same way. I feel helpless because there’s nothing I can do to help ease their pain.

So many people have had to take whatever jobs they can just to make a living during this pandemic. I admire those people who are resilient enough to push forward and find something to do to help their families during these times, no matter how challenging it has been. So many are trying to make do with selling just about anything online but are now having to deal with the challenges of various government rules on how they are currently trying to make ends meet.

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Another group of people I admire are those who are working in conditions that put them at risk. The people in the health profession, the people in the food and service industry, people whose jobs are needed for the public to have access to their basic needs during this time…as much as they want to stay home and be safe, they cannot risk losing their jobs. Not in this pandemic, not with the economy being the way that it is. The expression of being between a rock and a hard place comes to mind when I think of these people.

Some people are lucky that they have enough financially to tide them over while this pandemic is going on. For most of us, we are trying to control whatever finances we have on hand to ensure that we are not left with nothing during these times. We do not know when this will all end, so we need to be careful.

I cannot begin to share how many sleepless nights I have spent trying to find ways to earn extra money during this pandemic. Whatever savings I have had have been depleted by how much we have had to spend from staying at home. With everything being delivered and everyone being whole all the time, expenses have been higher. Do not even get me started on our electric bills. As challenging as my workplace situation may have been when I was not allowed to work from home, I had no choice but to grin and bear with it since my income is what my family depends on right now. Like I said, “Rock, meet Hard Place.” I'm just lucky that my boss finally took my health into consideration. 

As stressful as it has become, I am still grateful. I have a job that pays the bills. I have a roof over my head. I am surrounded by people that I love at home. We are all healthy, we are all safe and we are all — most importantly — alive. So many people have died from COVID 19. So many have lost their loved ones. So many are continuing to suffer from the disease that can ravage you for months. As difficult as these times have been, learning about how others are faring during this pandemic puts all these things into perspective.

I wish there were something more I can do to help other people during this pandemic. Financially, things have become a bit tight, but I try to support local business as much as I can when we need something at home. Money is not enough to donate right now, but I do what I can by at least supporting those who are trying to make a living as well. 

At the risk of sounding cliche, all I can do right now is pray. As impossible as it might be, I hope that things get better sooner rather than later. There are so many people suffering not just from the virus but from the effects of this pandemic on the economy. I hope we all come out of this as better people and a better nation. I hope that soon, things will get better.

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