Quarantine Chronicles: Things That Matter

I do not miss the old normal.

While so many people are lamenting about how they wish they could go out and travel, I stil haven’t caught the cabin fever. My husband did. He gets restless. He misses the previous condo we rented, though, because it was 102 sqm and had a great view. But this current condo is OURS, even though it’s half the previous one’s size. And while I have a lot of regrets about buying property right before the pandemic caused real estate prices to plummet, I have a lot to be thankful for:

1. I can log into work at 9AM even when I haven’t eaten, bathed, dressed up. I used to go to work at 11AM and leave at 9PM because I hated rush hour traffic. Gosh. Everything felt so hurried before, that I developed this bad habit of stress eating just to cope. Well, quarantine put a halt to that.

2. NO LONGER TRAVELING TO WORK. And all the hassle that entails. I DO NOT MISS THIS.

3. Husband used to complain about how he always gets my “latak” (leftover) energy because I’d be so tired and grumpy from work, and this exhaustion carries over the weekend. So when he wanted attention, I had zero to give. THAT’S NOT THE CASE NOW, BWAHAHAHA!

4. Built a condo farm when quarantine began, and realized how therapeutic gardening is. My plants are extroverts, though. They wilt if a day passes without me talking to them.

5. Do you know what a difference it makes when you’re stressed from work, and you can just walk over to your cats (or husband) and smush them?

6. Logging in and logging out early gave me more time for hobbies, such as Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia, and new novels written or recommended by friends.

7. Among those hobbies, I discovered Xiao Zhan and Wang Yibo (of the Chinese drama The Untamed), whose behind-the-scenes flirtations made me re-assess my own love life. Let’s just say, my husband can’t complain about my fondness for BL stories, because he becomes the recipient of my kilig anyway. So thank you #YiZhan, for saving my marriage. Charot.

8. Being in complete control of what I eat. This is so difficult to do when you’re working in Taft and all the options are either high in salt or high in sugar.

9. LOST 5% BODY FAT. It made a huuuuuuge impact to my overall shape. Item #8 contributed to it, but the fact that I can pretend-cycle while in my seat (whenever I pause in my writing/materials development or when a meeting is ongoing) has done wonders for my step count. I average 17K steps a day now. WHILE SITTING. Couldn’t do that at work without busting my knees and heels from over-walking.

10. Being able to do chores on the fly. Like I could load laundry into the washing machine any time of the day. (We used to wait for the laundry shops to deliver these.)

11. Learned many new things: how to make kimchi, how to make tortillas, gardening, etc.

12. Being able to connect with my family every Sunday. Before the pandemic, there were times when husband and I couldn’t physically go to my parents. Weeks would go by without communication outside of our Viber fam chatroom. But now that the quarantine has forced all of us indoors, we make time for Sunday calls.

These are just off the top of my head. I could probably name more reasons not to go back to the old normal.

Like sure, I miss face-to-face classes because it’s easier for me to deliver instructions verbally (and I am addicted to using the white board). I also miss being able to hide among tree-lined spaces when I’m tired from teaching. But I feel that if you’re able to establish your boundaries between professional and personal life, these issues are a small price to pay for the time gained during quarantine.

The only thing I wish would be different is that…well, I’ve gotten these benefits at the expense of dying people and people losing their jobs. Wish that it didn’t take a pandemic to get my life back. There’s also that thing about not knowing if we’d get infected in one way or another, so there’s still that sense of uncertainty looming over my head.

Just wanted to say that…when things go back to normal, I hope it won’t be completely like the old normal. Because the old normal was hella toxic.

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