The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly given every one of us a rude awakening. It has shed light on just how unprepared nations were against a highly contagious virus, and that our health sectors haven’t really been given the support they deserve in the past several years. Now, we have to face the consequences of being caught off guard and unfortunately go through drastic lockdown measures in our lifetime.
As of writing, Metro Manila remains to be the Philippines’ epicentre of the pandemic — the lockdown has been extended thrice now. During this time of unrest, many of our countrymen have become unemployed, homeless, and unfed. And those of us who have been on the luckier end of the spectrum have treated this as a wake-up call to count our blessings, as cliché as that sounds. We’ve got a roof over our heads, food on the table, clothes on our back, and our loved ones are safe and healthy.
I don’t know about you, but the more time I spend under lockdown the more I get “lockdown realisations” about certain material things I’ve taken for granted. Sure, I’ve always appreciated my material possessions; but now, I’m seeing them in a whole new light because of specific situations brought about by the lockdown. Can you relate to these lockdown realisations?
1. I couldn’t have helped our frontliners from home without my phone
Let’s be real. When we bought our cellphones, we all had selfish reasons for doing so; we wanted a more convenient way to communicate with our circle or to get the job done faster at work. Some of us even bought the latest releases just to hop on the bandwagon. Never in a million years would we have imagined that we’d be feeling thankful to have our phones so that we could lend a helping hand to frontliners during a pandemic.
Thanks to this little device in our hands (and social media), we’re able to quickly disseminate information about the different initiatives that help those affected by the lockdown and our medical workers. In a matter of a few minutes, we can donate money to organisations that spearhead fundraisers for our frontliners and distribute resources to affected communities. We can even shop for a cause if we want to hit two birds with one stone.
My phone has never been as useful than it has been during this whole lockdown; and I’m grateful that at a time when we can’t physically mobilise to help those in need, we’ve managed to utilise this trusty device that we normally take for granted for its greater value.
2. Working from home wouldn’t be possible without my personal laptop
Among the most obvious lockdown realisations for everyone is how working from home is a privilege and it’s not something that’s always feasible. Many Filipinos are daily wage workers who earn their pay through fieldwork. And not everyone who works in an office owns a personal computer or has a fast internet connection at home for that matter. In fact, the same logic applies to students who are unable to participate in online classes.
If it weren’t for the work from home setup caused by the lockdown, then we wouldn’t have even given these circumstances and issues a second thought. Now it’s clear to us that we’ve been blinded by our own privilege and we ought to help other people find ways to cope with these challenges — even after the pandemic. But I think that’s for a different article at another time.
My point being, if you’ve managed to put up your own workstation at home, with a laptop, extension cords and all, then be thankful and don’t be too quick to judge the actions of people who are struggling to make ends meet amidst this pandemic.
3. With limited to zero public transportation available, I’ve never been more grateful for a private vehicle
It was truly heart-wrenching to see commuters stranded, separated from their families, and even running to get past checkpoints when the lockdown in Luzon was declared. It was even more frustrating to see the disregard and lack of empathy other Filipinos had for these commuters who just wanted to get home before borders were closed. But that was only the beginning.
Now, buying essentials at pharmacies and groceries is 10 times more problematic due to the ban on public transportation. It’s painful to watch the news when you see the elderly having to walk great lengths just to buy food and medicine.
Needless to say, I thanked my lucky stars knowing that my own elderly relatives needn’t go through similar predicaments and that I can hop on our car any time to purchase basic necessities from the nearest store. Kudos to the LGUs who have come up with quick solutions for those who are at a disadvantage!
4. Social distancing has made me value the physical presence of my friends even more
I met with different groups of friends a few weeks before the lockdown started. But after only a short time of social distancing, I already found myself missing each and every one of them. The #sepanx was real, and I definitely wish I had met with my friends more frequently. Sometimes, the problem starts when we get so caught up in work and trying to be frugal that we forget the value of human interaction.
At other times, we downright take our freedom for granted and postpone meetings indefinitely. I’m not saying that we’re wholly to blame for not spending enough time with our nearest and dearest pre-lockdown. Nobody expected this pandemic to be as damaging as it’s become, after all.
But when things take a turn and the national government tells you that social gatherings are prohibited until further notice, you realise that you actually did have the time and energy for your friends, and you, in fact, had some money to spare for dinner out (maybe this doesn’t apply to everyone, but you get the picture).
Now, one of the hardest lockdown realisations is that we have to wait for this pandemic to subside until we can reunite with our closest confidants and finally give them a long-awaited (safe) hug. When that will be, we’ve yet to be certain.
5. Home quarantine gave me a deeper appreciation for books and video games
I’m a writer. I already love books. But dang, this lockdown just deepened my love for books even more, whether it’s an e-book or a hardbound. And before you think me a diehard bookworm, I’m not. I love video games too. Just to give you a peek at my petty side, we have a PS4 at home, but I super regret not buying a Nintendo Switch right before this lockdown started.
No, not because I want to play Animal Crossing; rather, I badly want to get my hands on the latest Pokemon instalments! If you’re wondering why I didn’t just go out and buy a Switch pre-lockdown, it’s because I was saving for travels that were eventually cancelled. And that just rubs more salt to the wound!
That said, I’m still glad I have an ample amount of entertainment at home when things get boring during the quarantine. If you ask me, books and video games could be among your best companions right now. Heaven knows we need a place to escape from all the negativity that surrounds us nowadays — and inspiring stories both in books and RPGs are perfect outlets for that!
6. Closed gyms made me thankful for whatever equipment I could find at home
I’m not a fitness fanatic, but I do have a gym membership just so I can stay in shape. Like every other gym-goer, I felt the impact of closed gym establishments brought about by the lockdown. The only way not to let all the hard work I put in the gym go to waste was to start a home workout routine and use whatever I could find at home as equipment and support. So far, I’ve used the edge of my bed for tricep dips and a bench for my decline pushups. And I gotta say, these substitute equipment are pretty effective!
Thankfully, I also bought a yoga mat and a pair of dumbbells even before I became a gym member. Just when I thought I didn’t need them anymore, the lockdown compelled me to carry them out of the shadows. Talk about major ROI, right? Other gym buffs who don’t really have these materials at home have found a way to make do with water bottles and all sorts of furniture to help them in their workouts too.
If you haven’t tried this hack yet, maybe it’s about time you should. Certain house items can be multi-purpose if you’re creative and resourceful enough. Besides, your muscles have been dormant for far too long at this point!
Nobody anticipated a pandemic and lockdown to occur in our lifetime, and nobody deserves to go through this again. That said, there’s no shame in admitting you’ve undervalued certain material things up until this lockdown started.
We all ought to learn something from this experience and it’s healthy to have lockdown realisations to take with us long after this pandemic has gone. Do you have certain lockdown realisations we’ve yet to mention? Tell us about them!