IT’S THE SMALL THINGS
By ALEX M. EDUQUE
Seven weeks after the enhanced community quarantine was implemented. Here we still all are: in the same place we were seven weeks ago. It is the first weekend of May, and that means we have officially spent the whole of April and most of March in lockdown. There are moments when it still all seems surreal to me. Some days are definitely tougher than others, and the fleeting moments of insanity, anxiety, and paranoia do drop by and linger from time to time. But if there is something I am most certain of now, it is that it is all about the mindset – the determination and the will to overcome the fear of the unknown. It is about shaping our thoughts and making the choice to focus on the silver linings that spell out the difference between the good and the bad days. It is about choosing to forego the stress over the uncertain, and living life on the day to day that ultimately rids us of nervousness these days.
For the sake of our sanity, we cling to the little control that we have of our everyday lives, and we veer towards activities that somewhat give us that notion of control. I realized that is what establishing a routine did for me, and is probably the reason bakers, chefs, soap makers, plant mamas, Marie Kondos, and Martha Stewarts have abounded and blossomed in the past seven weeks. As human beings, regardless of disposition – whether we are more high-strung or laidback – I do believe that we are innately control freaks in one way or another. And realizing that we may have lost a semblance of it is perhaps what panicked, and continues to panic most.
Everyone is handling their every day differently, and that is perfectly fine. In the same way that it is okay not to always be okay, the past seven weeks have brought out stark differences in many. The past few weeks have seen people under extreme stress and pressure. It has broadened perspectives, tested everyone’s patience, and has challenged us to bound and in ways unknown. It has made us realize who bothers to care, and who really do just come around when the need arises. It has enlightened me and has re-introduced me to different versions of people, myself included. It has really taught me to appreciate the small stuff, rather than sweat it. And just like I always have, I continue to believe that this too shall pass.
There are so many uncertainties and so much fear surrounding the “new normal” we will enter into, and re-emerge in. But if there is anything I have realized the past seven weeks, it is how resilient human beings are, and how fast we can adapt when we want to. In the same way that our lives were put on pause in a matter of minutes – in one declaration that is – we will return to the grind in perhaps the same manner, but more gradual, thus, giving us more time to adjust. Again, it is all about the mindset. That, we most definitely have control over. As early as now, let us condition ourselves to be flexible in the face of adversity – to embrace change, instead of resist it when it is for the good of all – and to expect shifts here and there in what we were once accustomed and used to.
It is refreshing to know that we can live comfortably with the minimum and that we actually need little to subsist. This makes me grateful for all the added bonuses and blessings even more, every day. Knowing how much the earth has recovered in the last seven weeks only comes to show how much we have done in exploiting our natural resources by our careless and selfish choices. Perhaps we do not feel the effect of hurting the environment instantly, but if this period has not shown us how much rejuvenation Mother Nature has gone through as an effect of our actions and behaviors, then I do not know what will. Now, more than ever, I am convinced that contentment is brought about by the happiness of appreciating the littlest, the least, and making the most out of the mundane.
The world has been at a standstill for the past seven weeks, and I never imagined anything of this magnitude happening in my lifetime. So when this lockdown is lifted and life slowly returns to normal (albeit new), I will always look back at this time to keep me grounded and grateful. As much as fear and uncertainty came about us, it was, and is, also a time of silence, solitude, and profound introspection we would have otherwise never had. It was also a time for us to take a step back from our daily grind, reconfigure and reset our priorities to decide what truly is of value and importance. And may we never forget these learnings for as long as we all shall live.