Written by Jim Dasal, Laura Limsenkhe, and Dona Marabe
“I started this list of initiatives in hopes that it would redirect my attention to the good things that I have in my life while constantly trying to accept the situation that not only I was in, but also all the other people in the world were in.”
Five out of seven days in a week, I wake up crying. I’ve unconsciously drowned myself in the attachment I had to the life I had before the lockdown. At first, I let myself acknowledge my feelings of loss, of the time that has been taken away from me, and of fear – that things may never go back to normal.
But it does get tiring. Constantly waking up to a pool of my tears has made me feel demotivated, unable to get out of bed. Lunches became breakfasts and I rarely went out to the garden to see the sun. As my summer semester neared, I realized that with the time that I’ve spent being sad, I could be making myself not only a better member of society, but also a better person for myself.
I started this list of initiatives in hopes that it would redirect my attention to the good things that I have in my life while constantly trying to accept the situation that not only I was in, but also all the other people in the world were in.
With the quarantine lasting longer than anyone had initially anticipated, much of life has gone by, with everyone unable to fully maximize the opportunities presented to them. Like the leaves of an untended tree, opportunities grew dry and were blown away with the wind, with no assurance of a second chance. But leaves continue to grow. Plants have a very peculiar way of adapting to harsher environments, just like the plant I began to take care of. It will shed some leaves, it will wilt, but new green leaves will grow to take the place of the ones that leave it. And the plant will grow. And so will we.
Despite life seemingly passing us by, a simple plant will serve to remind us that new opportunities will come as we grow. Despite our harsh environment, we will live.
When the planting didn’t work out for me, I decided to try my hand at other things. Others might try to start a blog, or make a TikTok account, while I kept myself busy with the arts and crafts.
I also gave myself time to make food for myself. As much fun as it was, it gave me the renewed validation that yes, I can cook.
Some days are more productive than others. And at times, the most productivity I can muster is finishing a season of a show, reading a chapter of a book, accomplishing a few levels in a video game.
Even in quarantine, we can’t always expect the people we reach out to to just be one call away. Thankfully, our yearning for some sense of companionship can be put to ease by escaping reality through reading a book, listening to music, binge-watching a show, or even playing a game. May it be rooting for Atticus Finch, dancing to Paramore, swooning over Vance Larena, aiming to defuse that bomb in Search and Destroy, or doing anything else that floats your boat – as long as it helps you feel less isolated.
It can be difficult, but I try to remind myself at times like these that I still am contributing some energy to bettering myself.
For a lot of my peers, myself included, immersing myself in work or in chores are the most effective methods of self-distraction. Working on a project or even cleaning out the vacuum can help me detach myself from the reality we are facing.
It takes your mind off of things. I started with these day-to-day tasks with resentment, not wanting to do these things which I thought were draggy and repetitive. However as I continued to pick up different chores every week, I slowly learned to become more self-sufficient and independent. Chores make me feel as if I’m in control of the overall condition of the household. Suddenly, I am proud that I am now able to properly do the laundry, prepare food for a family of five, clean up after myself and other people, and basically take care of myself.
But out of everything I’ve mentioned, the best personal initiative I’ve done for myself is to talk – to friends, to plants, to the fly that’s been living in my room for a week. It’s a reminder to myself that outside the corners of my living space, there are still people out there who I’m willing to spend time with and who are willing to spend time with me too.
Surely anyone can’t help but think of the what if’s from time to time– the supposed memories that could’ve been made with your friends or loved ones if the quarantine didn’t happen, or if you knew it was coming in the first place. The only actual interaction keeping most bonds tied (may it be romantic, platonic, or whatever you call those without labels) is through virtual communication.
From consistent “how are you’s” and sharing memes, to Netflix parties and Zoom group studies – things may not be the same, but people have surely gone through lengths just to keep these bonds strong.
Jim is a student residing in Metro Manila, Philippines and is Sensereporter in Makesense Asia. His role delves into documenting social impact through media such as photography. As a photographer, Jim is excited to continue capture moments of positive change that he can share with a wider audience to inspire them to do the same
Laura is currently a junior at the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines. She’s a photographer, graphic designer, and, when she feels like it—a painter. She enjoys growing plants from vegetable scraps and watching them die a few days later.
Dona resides in Metro Manila, Philippines, and is taking a Physics core in Philippine Science High School – Main Campus. As a STEM student, she believes in the importance of maintaining a healthy balance between facts and principles in order to aim for innovations toward a common good and a better world. Her passion lies with the pursuit of knowledge, but her goals are for the betterment of the country. #ParaSaBayan