I and my daughter have been literally on a lockdown since March. Yes, that’s nine long months of staying at home since the onset of the quarantine period.
The farthest I’ve been to was the sari-sari store in our barangay, twice. Call me overacting, but I even felt guilty for leaving my six-year-old daughter all alone on the sixth floor of the condominium we live in even for just a few minutes. Before leaving, I made sure the windows were locked and repeatedly instructed her to not move a muscle while I was away.
The temptation to wander around town lingers on especially when I constantly see a lot of social media posts from friends, but the paranoia of being afflicted with COVID-19 is stronger. Should we go out, our efforts of staying at home for nine months, and counting, would be put to waste if anyone gets sick.
Honestly, I guess we don’t really mind being on a lockdown at all. Somehow, we got accustomed to this new normal already. Thanks to today’s technology, we managed to survive — from my online work-from-home situation, to purchasing groceries and other essentials through online shops and errand services. Also, big thanks to my family who sometimes visit us and make sure we’ve got all we need for a week or so, and deliver my daughter’s learning modules to and from her school. My husband is in-housed for several months in their office for their training, so we’ve only been seeing each other through occasional video calls.
However, I have to admit that being on a lockdown is never that enjoyable. Perhaps being confined in a 15-square meter studio unit every single day for 10 months somehow affects your overall well-being. I mean, who would even want to be isolated for that long? Being on a lockdown surely gives you a whirlwind of emotions. One day you’re enjoying it, but there are times you’d die of boredom. Sometimes, I even find myself crying out of pure exhaustion and anxiety. Even an eight hour sleep would not make me feel relieved.
The lockdown in the Philippines has been the longest-running in the world to date. Indeed, it has been a long wait to endure for a lot of people, but it has undoubtedly made a lot of us reflect more about our choices and decisions.
First, it teaches us discipline and self-control. To be on a lockdown is one’s choice and is a test of stoicism.
I also often catch myself staring at all the mess inside our tiny place. As Marie Kondo puts it, all the things that “no longer spark happiness” made me realize about our unnecessary spending prior to the lockdown. Hence, it makes us more aware of our spending habits and it somehow pushes us to reconsider our priorities. I believe that treating yourself to a few online shopping sprees would still be “therapeutic”, but always consider if what you’re going to purchase is really a need or just a want.
Second, being on a lockdown forces us to be more adept at multi-tasking. It still amazes me how I manage to juggle everything from being a full-time “geographically” single mom, a Grade 1 teacher, and a college instructor all at the same time. I literally do the laundry and the dishes and cook our food in between breaks from my online classes. All these made me admire all the single parents who painstakingly face life’s struggles. I could never imagine myself in the same situation with more than one child with me.
Third, it makes us value even the smallest blessings. Lucky are those who still have jobs, no matter how demanding and stressful it might be. Lucky are those who remain healthy and safe in the midst of a global pandemic. I salute all those who continue to risk their health and overall well-being just to make ends meet. Most importantly, I admire the health workers for their hard work and sacrifice.
Fourth, it makes you realize the importance of your families and friends. Trust me, they would always be the people who would genuinely care for you especially in trying times. A frequent dose of chitchat with friends and family would surely help keep one’s sanity in check.
Lastly, being on a lockdown reminds us that indeed, life is short. It helps us realize that despite our differing situations during this quarantine period, we should still make the most out of every moment. So for those who choose to be on a lockdown in their homes, enjoy the company of your family, play dress up with your kids, take a lot of pictures and videos, watch funny videos online and laugh together — make your lockdown moments memorable. Remember, they’re only little once.
So, if you ask me if I still enjoy being on a lockdown? I’d still say yes. However, please don’t get me wrong. I’m still one of the many who looks forward to the day that everything goes back to ‘normal’.