I work from home full time for the past five years and became a bit of a recluse, so I resolved to myself to be more sociable in 2020, thus I enrolled in a gym to work out and meet new people. However, on January 25, 2020, international news spewed alarming cases of deadly pneumonia that filled the hospitals in Wuhan, China. A new and deadlier Coronavirus strain was introduced to the whole world. Most people panicked, stocking up on face masks, alcohol, and hand sanitizers. As for me, I shrugged the news off that time, thinking that the virus will not reach the Philippine Islands, or if it will, the tropical climate and humid weather will kill the virus, just like the MERS-COV and SARS virus. But I still follow the news about the virus, which was named COVID 19, however, I was still firm in my belief that the virus will not reach our shores, until March 15, 2020 when cases were rising in Manila, and the lockdown happened. The virus threat became real for me.
What happened in the next two months were like from a movie, “Dante’s Inferno”, “Contagion”, etc. The fiction became real, and I was fearful for my life, my family, especially for my sister who is immune-compromised. I was holding on to isopropyl alcohol, face masks, cleaning agents and hand sanitizers as if they were a lifeline for myself and my family. I stopped going to the gym and did my Zumba exercises by watching YouTube videos, supported online sellers and bought sweet desserts, and started my mini herb and vegetable garden. Just when I was ready to go out to the “outside world” again, the pandemic broke out and I went back to my usual introverted, reclusive lifestyle. Luckily, my source of income was not affected by the pandemic as I have been earning money from the internet doing business plan and other business consulting services since 2012.
Now that the world is opening again to revive the economy, a “new normal” is happening, where crowded places must be avoided, large parties and events are not allowed, and restaurants should operate at half their capacity. For an introvert like me, the “new normal” is my kind of normal. In a world where being extrovert is rewarded and having many friends and connections means that you are successful, COVID 19 erased all that notion and taught us that what we really need are the basics. It taught us that we need to invest more in our health than in those luxury bags and gadgets, we need a vegetable and herb garden more than those expensive ornamental plants, and all we really need are few genuine friends than many opportunistic acquaintances. I realized that for the past ten years, God has prepared me for this. I nurtured deep and sincere friendships, let go of fake and toxic “friends”, and transitioned to online freelancing helping entrepreneurs fulfill their business goals. My anxiety about the virus has gone down a little, but I am not complacent about it. Now more than ever I appreciate my online work, and grateful that I made the decision years ago to quit my full-time job and became self-employed.
How about you, what is your plan amidst this pandemic? Are you still longing for the materialistic world before the pandemic, or have you accepted the fact that those days are gone and it’s now time to make a shift? Let me know your thoughts by commenting on this blog.