Making Sense of the Quarantine Experience

A question I asked my friends on an Instagram Story. Genuinely interested in their answers, I also reflected on what my own response to this would be.

For 4 weeks and counting, I have spent every minute of everyday in my family’s home while most of the world does the same, to self-isolate as the best course of action.

EDSA, once the longest parking lot in the universe is now clear for passage!

When the Philippine government first announced the cities to be locked down, the optimist inside of me thought about how this pandemic can and should unite people regardless of economic background, profession, race, beliefs — anything. This virus can’t tell the different from human to human, this is a problem that affects all of us, so much so that the demand for good governance is leadership increases more than ever.

Relying on an institution or any other body besides yourself is going to prove useless (99.99% of the time) and so this brings smaller organizations, alumnae and influencers to make their own initiatives. Calls for donations, organic internet revolutions and shifting businesses, these are what I see all over my own news feeds. It’s a strange mutant of a situation where Filipinos are already so accustomed to the dismissal of their own urgent needs that the private sector steps up and takes control. It makes us less dependent yet the one that holds the power and resources does very little for the benefit of most.

One such entity that seeks to fill the gap of the public’s need and public action is MyKuya. I have worked with this company for a little over 2 years now and it has always surprised me how much positive change can be generated with sheer determination within a relatively short amount of time.

Ultimately, people want to be self sufficient.

I completely believe so. And now that most work is suspended and unemployment is rising, the reality that MyKuya continues to give a source of income while assisting those in need. This gives me just enough evidence that this shift that the pandemic has caused will also shift the work landscape for employers, employees and most of all freelancers.

Which is the Desired Path?

Surely you have seen a similar fork, where the established path is available for use, but the desired path enforces itself.

Remember that most occurrences are out of our control. The good news is that we always have control of ourselves. What are you going to do given the situation?

I am beyond happy to have taken part in transitioning job seekers into freelancers on the MyKuya’s platform. And at the same time, those of us privileged enough to be in the comfort of our homes, who are not at the front line, do have the responsibility to do the best we can with the time in isolation.

One can observe that “workaholics” and productivity-obsessed individuals continue to do pursue activities that be of help to others. And that’s because people don’t drastically change because of a drastic change in setting. So you can’t expect yourself to finally work out everyday and blaze through online courses if you weren’t doing so pre-quarantine.

If you still haven’t organized those messy cabinets, it’s not because “you didn’t have time”, it’s because you didn’t want to! (Note to self)

On the other hand, there is also the aspect of self-improvement to be discussed. These days work is mostly online, and what we do when we aren’t staring at the screen is just as important to be mindful about. Focusing on your own needs, making time for what you have been wanting to do, you can start any time and any where. Perhaps now we finally realize that we always had time we thought we didn’t have enough of.

I’m going to admit that I’m in the most ideal situation of having food to eat, things to do and a 1-year old baby sister to play with but I still got pretty cranky when my I think about the fact that I can’t go beyond this house. We have those days and it’s understandable, it’s natural, it’s human! At the same time I’m also proud to say I’ve been on a roll on some daily routines: waking up at 7am, doing the 21 Days of Abundance practice, Duolingo lessons, Fiona Sunset Sessions and Book Club — 30 to 60 minutes of undisturbed reading with my other sisters. Often I paint and do yoga. In all honesty these things I would not have been able to achieve if not for the this required confinement.

Creating self-portraits is a way of checking in! Plus I just wanted to put a picture of my painting here.

Metro Manila is now counting down to May 15, 2020, many hopeful that the region adapts a General Quarantine instead of the “Enhanced” Community Quarantine. Let’s see, because I know the health system has reached full capacity a long time ago, the Philippines is not prepared for a second wave so I wouldn’t blame them in choosing lives over economic stimulation.

Seeing https://www.endcoronavirus.org/ and the trends of countries flattening the curve, governments need to take immediate action to adapt what can be adapted. Learn from others’ mistakes and best practices and welcome its citizens into slightly improved conditions. But still, we will not expect anyone to do anything for us, let’s be accountable for the course of our own lives and the actions we take. Hopefully our collective action leads us to that better world we are always talking about.

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