Dear Survivor: What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger

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Dear Self,

Congratulations for making it this far as the ongoing pandemic continues to take a toll on the quality of lives all over the globe. You did it—not having to worry about having to monitor yourself for symptoms of Covid-19 or even undergo any swab test, which scares you to death. The long months you have religiously followed protocols and kept yourself from going out to buy your favorite milk tea and fast food treats have paid off!

Almost 16 months ago when the first lockdown in the country was implemented, you thought you would just stay home for about 3 months and enjoy binge-watching whatever Asian content you find on Netflix and WeTV. But now, here you are, still forced to stay at home and work hard in your makeshift home office, terribly missing your former normal life when you could just drive to anywhere you feel like going to and binge-eat at your favorite food joints out of town.

I’m sure the happiest this crisis is my pandemic bud, Chippy, who is himself a survivor after overcoming a serious health problem months ago. Could not have survived ‘home alone’ without my fur babies.

But I am proud of how the new normal has transformed you. It took this historic global crisis for you to think less about yourself and more about others—with the realization that far more people out there can’t have the conveniences in life you could afford to enjoy in these trying times. You have always been an advocate of human and animal rights, but the pandemic has taught you how to be more responsible and compassionate for others.

Who knows when this nightmare would end? But let these difficult times always serve as a reminder of the precious life lessons you have learned and realized, which I would list down here so you won’t ever forget if ever you’ll make it to the end of this modern global war:

 

1. Always be considerate of other people.

Before the pandemic, there were times when you had been a difficult customer as you strive to always get the value for your hard-earned money. Remember that during the pandemic, the grocery personnel, the security guards, the food vendors, the law enforcers, the delivery riders, and all other working people were among your heroes as they braved the health risks just to serve others, including you, in the community. Value their work and help them keep dignity in their jobs. And don’t forget to constantly thank them and show them your gratitude even in the smallest ways possible.

Salute to all frontliners who have been our heroes during the pandemic.

 

2. Keep a simple lifestyle.

You have proven that it is not that difficult to bid ‘living in style’ goodbye. You can get by just by cooking a simple breakfast for yourself or enjoying a simple cup of taho to quench your thirst for brown sugar milk tea. You have discovered that you can work out at home just by using your pair of dumbbells instead of paying for membership at the expensive gyms, which you have never really maximized during all those years before the pandemic. Living a simple life made you realize again the value of being frugal. It pays off in the long run.

This survivor learned to cook the simple dish ‘pakbet’ during the pandemic. Couldn’t believe I spent only ₱20 for this and it lasted me an entire day! I also felt healthier enjoying simple, yet nutritious meals.

 

3. Enjoy more quality time with friends and family.

It was ironic how you were itching to go out to meet family and friends during the stringent lockdowns. But absence makes the heart grow fonder. When these are all over, find time to go home to your folks and enjoy simple get-togethers with friends more often. You’ll catch up soon! There is always a way to set aside work matters so you could allot some time with people who mean more to you.

 

4. Support small businesses more.

Patronizing the small businesses in the community is an effective way to help small-scale entrepreneurs overcome the crisis. They need more support these days and after the pandemic is over. The major retailers also need your patronage as they need to keep afloat for their employees but they’ve got a bigger chance of making it through than the food vendors in the market and talipapa. You’ll find a balance, eventually. And yes, set aside your talent for making bargains (tawad) for the meantime.

Meals from small food businesses in the community are awesome as well.

 

5. Be grateful each day.

Every single day is a blessing. Keep on being thankful each morning when you wake up for the gift of life, appreciate your pink of health, and be grateful for just about everything you enjoy in your life especially your job. Not everyone had been as fortunate. Don’t forget to always say a simple prayer for relatives and friends who did not make it through this crisis. Value everyone who has stayed and lived on to continue the journey.

The world is still breathtaking after all.

 

6. Travel more when the pandemic is over.

You never thought that weekend trip to Corregidor 15 days before the quarantine in March 2020 would be your last for an indefinite period. Some days in these past 16 months were spent resenting how you missed those chances to travel out of town in the past years. You’ve come to realize that traveling can enrich you further with experiences and memories that could last this lifetime. It’s more fun to learn histories and cultures first-hand so start planning for your domestic and Asian travels when the crisis is over. For sure, it would be more interesting to see the world and meet new people post-pandemic.

Thankful to have flown to Boracay a few months before the pandemic. Looking forward to more travels when the crisis is over.

 

On top of all these, keep on getting stronger. No one can be sure about what tomorrow brings. But always remember that you have always been a survivor and you will continue to be one as long as you remain guided by the life lessons you have learned in the most difficult times. These too shall pass. In the future, be among the light the world needs when the next generation looks back to this dark period of world history.

 

Sincerely,

Your pandemic self

 

This story is an entry to ComCo Southeast Asia’s “Write to Ignite Blogging Project Season 2: Dear Survivor.” The initiative continues to respond to the need of our times, as every story comes a long way during this period of crisis. The Initiative aims to pull and collate powerfulstories from the Philippine blogging communities to inspire the nation to rise and move forward amidst the difficult situation. The “Write to Ignite Blogging Project Season 2” is made possible by ComCo Southeast Asia, with Eastern Communications and Jobstreet as co-presenters, and with AirAsia and Xiaomi as major sponsors.