This pandemic made me realize that I took a lot of things for granted before any of this happened. Things like making last-minute plans or just dressing up for something. Oftentimes, we are so busy getting on with our every day lives that we overlook even the simple things that make us happy.
Here are some of the things I will never take for granted again.
I am not a sociable person. It’s not that I hate social interactions. I just feel more comfortable with only a handful of people around. Before the pandemic, I rarely go out with my friends or attend blogging events. When the quarantine started, I started missing the feeling of having somewhere to go, with people to meet. I can’t wait to hug people again when this pandemic is over.
I always look forward to going out on weekends. During weekends, I usually just go out and sit somewhere for a cup of coffee or tea to chill. Sometimes, I would go on a hike in a nearby mountain with my friends. Going somewhere on a weekend to relax is something I didn’t truly value until now. These days, I still enjoy spending my weekends with my dogs or by myself, but I do miss making plans and going out whenever I want to.
Taking a walk in the park
Before the curfews and closures, I could freely go out and take a walk in the park or stroll around the neighborhood as much as I wanted. Nowadays, I have to constantly check if I am allowed to go out and have to wear a mask at all times. The fact that I can walk around the vicinity of my neighborhood made me appreciate that I can still go outside and be one with nature despite all the restrictions.
Traveling to local spots
I always find excuses, “Oh, it’s nearby. I’ll visit it next time.” These ‘next times’ never happened. Now, I can’t even go to the beach which is just a stone’s throw away from the house if I don’t have a quarantine pass with me. When this pandemic is over, I hope to start visiting some of the local spots in my hometown.
Huwag maging banyaga sa sarili mong bayan.
Wearing face masks is a norm in other Asian countries like South Korea, China, and Japan. They have a face mask culture due to a lot of reasons, but mainly because of micro dust and yellow dust. But I never thought it would also become a norm here in the Philippines. It has been five months since face masks became the norm in the country, and yet, I am still not used to not seeing people’s faces.
I miss having mask-free conversations with my friends and I hope when this is all over, I can see their smiles and giggles again.
Going to the shop
This pandemic made me realize how easy it was for me to take food and other things for granted. I go to the supermarket or mall 3-4 times a month since I moved here in Santander. When I shop, I don’t really think of those fully-stocked shelves in the supermarket. Nowadays, it’s a miracle to see some of the bare necessities to be available.
These days, I am more appreciative of the fact that I can still buy food and other things despite the lack of supply. Because of this, I have grown an interest in growing my own food. It made me become more conscious of my impact on the environment too.
Eating in cafes and restaurants
In my line of work, being in an environment that is conducive for reading and writing matters. And just like a plant, when it’s not growing, you need to change its environment. Before, if I can’t write a single word on my laptop, I go out and eat out in cafes and restaurants. It motivates me to start writing something when I am in a coffee shop or restaurant because I know that I am paying for expensive food so I have to at least make it up to myself to finish my work. Or else, the money I spent is all wasted.
Despite the relaxed restrictions in my town, I still feel like I am in isolation. Going to a cafe or restaurant is still hard and it just doesn’t feel right dining in social spaces when there’s literally an invisible enemy we have yet to defeat.
Freedom to think of anything else
Perhaps the one thing that I really took for granted was being able to just plan and think of anything else. I miss having to talk to my family and friends just about anything without being constantly reminded of COVID-19 every single day. One moment I am laughing because of something funny, and the next moment, I get sad because of the rising COVID-19 cases in the country.
Before the pandemic, I don’t usually make plans because if I want to go somewhere or do something, I can just do it right there and then. Nowadays, I can’t even make plans anymore.
Having options gave me more freedom and movement but this pandemic is totally limiting my options. Nevertheless, I am thankful that even though things are different these days, I am still able to do what I want despite the limitations. I hope that when this is over, I will no longer take the small things in life for granted.