Reality Bites

The Unpopular Opinion: Where Do We Go From Here

Inspired by Martin Luther King’s book, may what we’re going through be the spark to look beneath ourselves and the community in various aspects and eventually answer that timeless question.

We’re almost a few months away to wrap up 2020. It’s been months since we’ve felt the results from this global pandemic. Unfortunately, there are countries that have flattened the curve who are now going thru the 2nd and (even) 3rd wave. Our country hasn’t even flattened just yet and is now the ASEAN country with the most number of COVID cases. Worse, recessions or economic turmoils are being felt. There is also the rise businesses that are closing which result to increase in unemployments.

And if that wasn’t enough, news in specific parts of the world spring one after the other — natural and man-made calamities or accidents. Well, with so much going on, I stopped watching the local evening news and reading news articles online. There were also certain times during this period when I spaced out silently of my socmeds. Not because I don’t care, but because for me to be able to express that care, I have to fill up mine first.

Crazy for someone to say na maliit na bagay lang ito. Even motivational or inspirational speakers don’t cancel out the thought 2020 is the most challenging year this generation has experienced so far. I used to see posts like ‘2020 is cancelled’ or ‘fast forward to 2021 na please’. There are also the common questions like, “until when are we going to go through this?”, “paano na yung mga plano ko?” (Eng trans: what will happen to my postponed plans), “is there an end to the series of unfortunate events?”. The most common one I see, “kailan ba tayo babalik sa dati, kasi namimiss ko na yung ganito, ganyan, etc?” (Eng trans: when are we going back to normal cause I miss this, that).

credits to the owner (unsplash: Kevin Turcios)

Are all those thoughts a bad thing? Definitely NOT cause no one was excused nor exempted from these situations. Nagkakaiba lang with the level of difficulties or pains that each one is going through and what aspect ng buhay natin ang naapektuhan. That’s why kung may isa sa mga yan ang nasabi na sa sarili ninyo, I cannot force you to stop that cause the thoughts and feelings of frustration or anxiety right there are legit.

This might be a hard pill to swallow, but the reality is out there. The next few thoughts I would say would seem to be an unpopular opinion, but I will say them anyway. Our year, since the start, has been rough and tough. And as one tragic incident piles up after another, it is human nature to feel disappointed, depressed, anxious or any negative emotion we can think about. However, do we need to keep on thinking that way too until the pandemic or the unfortunate events end?

I know it’s not easy to snap back and say we’re gonna be ok. But given we’ve been like this for months, it’s about time we take it day by day to get by, if not overcome it.

“So Calai, since you said we have to take it day by day, my question is where do we go from here and how can we do that?” — I am just thinking a reader or two might possibly ask. Let’s take this in small steps (cause I myself will have to go through this too). To make this simpler for us, I’d better call it the triple A — not the type of battery ah, but what can we do from here.

A-cknowledge

No sugarcoating, reality s***s, but we have to start acknowledging this is where were at now. Painful as it seems, this pandemic will take time. The restrictions have put a halt to what we used to do, so be it. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do for now but acknowledge its existence and that it’ll still take time. While the negative emotions might stir us up once in a while, we have to acknowledge that most of our questions and doubts might take a while to get the exact answers or might not even need answers anymore. Valid na hindi natin tanggap ang nangyayari sa paligid natin at mainis or mafrustrate tayo. Pero at least yung masabi lang natin sa sarili natin na ito na yung nangyayari sa harapan natin at hindi na tayo makakabalik sa dati, sapat na muna sa ngayon.

You don’t need to filter your photos, your status and self just for people to see that you’re doing fine or ok. We don’t need to fake it. As long as there is somebody in this planet going thru a rough time, even in the barest of essentials, that is not ok. It’s ok not to be ok this time. What’s not ok is getting stuck after acknowledging that we are.

A-djust

In Metro Manila, I know we have already been in quarantine policies since March. Globally, there could be possible effects on how we would deal with various things in the future. In fact, majority are already showing up — remote working, online classes and events, cashless transactions, back to basic activities and so on. This is actually where we should be at. Acknowledging is depending on how our mindset should be, but adjusting is what we should be doing now. It is about time to use what resources and opportunities we’ve got, rather than being stuck just thinking about the past.

Personal story, admittedly, I was a bit uncomfortable during the first few weeks we were working from home. Eventually, I had to adjust in baby steps and now that it has been months like this, I’m used to sitting on a chair with a desk in my pambahay (comfy home wear, if there is a word) on a hair bun at times and a noisy electric fan (which my colleagues hear at times on the background when they call me up..hehe). Sadly, a lot of people lost their jobs. However, it brought a sense of hope and admiration for me to see stories online (and even my friends’ experiences) who adjusted their lives to being entrepreneurs or side-hustlers.

For the past few months, in reality, all of us have already taken the baby steps to adjust. Masses or forms of prayer are done collectively online. Skills and knowledge can now be shared thru videos. Some have learned to get out of the boredom they’re feeling by doing various activities or hobbies (that some even missed out for years). Physical events cancelled but it didn’t stop us as most events now are done in the comfort of our own homes via online conferences.

Adjustments don’t have to be something shocking for you, if you can’t take the quantum leaps. Maybe as simple as just adjusting to distance yourself from people and wearing masks when going out, as a form of care, is a good start.

A-im

Once we have acknowledged and started adjusting to what’s in front of us, lest not forget also to still aim for what might come ahead of us. This is where the questions or thoughts on uncertainty come to play.

“Until when are we going to experience this series of events? After Covid, something might happen next and then another…” — Guess what, don’t cross out the idea that nothing bad or sad or painful will happen even after Covid. We gotta keep that in mind. In each passing generation, whether you look into history books or the Bible, one after the other happens. Of course, we just don’t want it to happen in our lifetime or we don’t want it to be a continuous cycle. I’m returning the question and let’s take it towards us. Until when are we going to look into that, whereas nobody can see the future but only the Supreme Being alone?

How or what will I do now with my plans back then that were supposed to happen? Admit it or not, most of us have had them months ago, as to what should we be doing or where should we be going by now. Some of those plans might have involved money that will take a while for us to earn the same amount again. Some might have spent time or efforts that we can never retract with a time or power stone (Endgame lang??). I know that sucks (pagagandahin ko pa ba yung words?). However, here’s the thing. I’ve been saying this once in a while in my quarantine-related posts on social media, which was also the most common denominator I got from inspirational / motivational speakers, church preachers and even with psychology experts. Again, it would be a pill hard to swallow, but compared to a pill too, it could possible cure us slowly. So here it is, allow me to share in this space.

Sometimes our plans get cancelled or destroyed to protect us from harm out of our supposed plans in the future. Let this phase be a buying time to reset and tweak our goals and plans, rather than dwelling on the pains brought by the cancels.

This is why the last item is to aim. Despite the struggles we are going through and whatever levels that may be (some would totally keep that to themselves or deny, but that’s fine), we must have the thought that there’s still some things we can still aim for and achieve after pandemic. Yes, there’s the uncertainty which is why some have the fear or discomfort of planning or thinking ahead. Perhaps, aiming for small wins using what’s in front of us would be enough.

In fact, I love how Bro. Bo Sanchez, a known author and Catholic lay preacher (whom I’ve been following as well), coined a term “image obsessed”. Admit it or not, one of the factors why most of us feel bad or frustrated of the cancelled plans is because we are concerned of our image from others if we don’t push them. Come to think of it, we are all in the same page now dealing with disappointments or hardships from this pandemic. The least thing a person could do now is to worry about what others would say or think about us. Instead, they would worry and focus on their own lives first, so don’t beat yourself much of your current image and just keep surviving.

Aiming would also mean to focus on yourself first, then channel the good stuff to others. It isn’t selfish to start this process to yourself. You won’t be able to give with what you don’t have or if you’re empty. Above all, aiming is giving your thoughts and fears to God and allow Him to deal with the biggest battles our world is currently facing.

credits: Unsplash via Ben White

This hasn’t been the only ordeal this humanity went through. Our ancestors and older generations have gone thru such and if all of them can only speak up right now, they’d tell you it wasn’t easy but they faced and survived. Just like now, we may have no idea until when this will be and how our lives will be reshaped. For certain, this generation will get thru this. It may not be in the ways we know how, but His. If we will be different people out of all of this ripple of earthly trials, so be it. Hopefully, different for the better.

For now, take this life day by day. This is a note to self (yeap!) and for the others.

Keep the faith,

Calai

Author

calaithewriter@gmail.com

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