It’s the first day of November and day 231 of this lockdown.
Most of you probably stopped counting the days but, as someone who can count on one hand all the times she left the house in the past 8 months, I might as well just keep counting.
And so it has been 231 days figuring out this “new normal”. For our household, grocery runs are the only essential trips we accommodated in the entirety of this lockdown, and thankfully the only essential trips we need to take so far. And by “we” I mean mostly my husband. (Bless his heart!)
Mask up, face shield on, alcohol spray in one pocket, and cashless payment on standby so that the cashier doesn’t need to return change; and once back home, groceries to go through an elaborate disinfection process, and grocery runner to head straight to the bathroom to wash any hint of the virus away.
As trivial as grocery shopping used to be, we know that this fairly normal activity is not going back to the way it was, at least for the foreseeable future.
Just like most things in the world.
Needless to say, I am also totally conscious of the fact that my family and I have never been *physically* stuck in one place for this long.
Just like most of you.
As some parts of the world started opening up and loosening some restrictions, the Covid situation where we are have not really progressed, hence our decision to stay sheltered in place. Where we are, children below 15 are still not allowed to go out of the house. There really isn’t much of a choice.
That said, I do acknowledge our unique privilege—to have the kind of work that can be done remotely, to have established homeschooling long before Covid happened, and to have the means to stay home.
I am fully aware that others don’t have the same privilege and my heart goes out to those who have to physically battle it out there, to be in the frontlines of this pandemic, to commute under these circumstances, or to shift to distance learning in the middle of the school year, without much of a choice.
I want to acknowledge this privilege before I start writing about chasing dreams again (or whatever it is I’m prompted to publish on this space).
I don’t want to come out of my virtual cave and resume regular programming as if nothing happened; as if the bandaid has not been ripped off, lives are not lost, and the world is not wounded and hurting.
How does one chase dreams in this new normal anyway, and in the midst of anxiety and uncertainty?
How do we inspire others to keep going, to not give up on their dreams?
And how do we do this whilst being mindful of the reality that people out there are fighting battles that are unimaginable, risking their lives for others, navigating through grief and loss, and/or barely surviving to even think about dream-chasing?
Whilst I have all of these questions, it brings me a sense of comfort to know that I don’t need to have the answers. For the first time in all my years being on the internet, I don’t feel the need to apologise for turning off social media, leaving some messages unread, or ruthlessly curating my social feeds to block unnecessary noise.
In the same way, when I feel prompted to reach out or to speak up, I also don’t hesitate to send that random “Hello, how are you?“, or to retweet a Joe Biden ad or two (or okay maybe more).
2020 has been everything we didn’t ask for nor expect (and more!) and I am one to appreciate the collective understanding and the unspoken permission we have granted each other:
That we’re allowed to cope in ways we’re comfortable with and are necessary to get through this year.
Whether that means tuning out the noise so we can focus internally, loving on our families, and quietly making an impact in our smaller circles of influence—our children, the people we work with and do life with, the communities we support. Or, at the other end of the spectrum, turning to social media to connect, to lobby, to advocate, to make our voice heard. Whatever makes sense in the given moment.
I hope wherever you are today you are choosing to see 2020 for all the good that came out (and can come out) of it instead of dwelling on all the terrible things it exposed.
I hope that you’re taking steps towards healing, whatever healing means for you, one brave step at a time.
I hope that more than just counting the days, you are making each day—each moment, each social media post, each conversation, your vote, your voice—count.
And when all of this is over, I hope we will collectively remember 2020 as the year that God turned things around for the better and made us stronger, kinder, braver.
In the meantime, while many things are beyond our control, I hope you’re making the few ones still within your control, count.
It’s been a while. Thank you for sticking around.
Donna Almonte says
Hard relate, Rhiza! Choosing to be stronger, braver, and kinder despite it all. God Bless