Here we are, folks. It’s our one-year “lockdown anniversary.” In Singapore, Circuit Breaker (our version of a lockdown) happened in April 2020, but this time last year, split team working arrangements were being made already. There is nothing positive to celebrate about this anniversary. However, I believe this one-year mark is worthwhile of a reflection period. Despite the catastrophe, I’m sure there is a thing or two we learned from this lockdown, and I would like to share some of mine.
Note: I fully recognize that this was a horrendous year for many. People lost their jobs, their loved ones, and the everyday lives they had. I understand that even though we’re all on the same storm, we’re not all on the same boat, so I’m not trying to rub off my advantages nor disregard different or opposite life experiences when I share mine.
Blessed because of privilege – I live in a country where the national government prioritize public safety and health. Besides that, there are rarely any natural disasters, less crime, and a relatively strong economy; thus, I’m shielded from the lockdown’s socio-economic effects. But I know not many are in the same situation. I have this safety net because I had the means to get a good-paying job and relocate to a well-developed country. That became very clear to me in this past year. Although some aspects of my life were shaky last year, overall, I am still in a good position to live decently and within my means.
Adjusting to working from home and home life – Not only am I an introvert, but I am also a homebody (pandemic or no pandemic) who enjoys a quiet working space at home. I had no problem with not going out for long periods as I can do everything at home and still enjoy it. So it goes without saying that I did not have a hard time adjusting to this new normal of social distancing, as I’ve been doing it pre-pandemic. Again, I’m aware that some of this comes from the privilege of not needing to do physical labor or essential work and the fact that there are few community cases here that our lives are semi-back to normal. On the other hand, I kind of miss being out of the house on the flip side. So I’m reintegrating myself back to the outside world by incorporating some outdoor activities into my weekly schedule.
Rediscovering and learning habits – The lockdown and personal issues I was having made me fall back in love with writing again. It made me realize the value of exercise, not to lose weight but to keep my body strong and remove negative energy in my mind by sweating it out. It made me interested in keeping small plants at home. It made me appreciate going on walking / “hiking” trips to catch-up with friends, which I neglected because I am always focused on work and house chores.
What would life be moving forward?
I don’t believe we will go back to our old way of life. The start of the 2020 lockdown symbolizes the end of the way of life we had before and a beginning of a “new world order,” if you will. We have established new ways of working, communicating, studying, etc., and we will keep this on for a while. Vaccinating the public will be a priority, and this will be a qualifying factor for whether we can do many things, mainly travel, moving forward. Unfortunately, this will reinforce the socio-economic inequality amongst countries. From the information I gather, it seems unlikely that we’ll eradicate the virus because of its unique complications. Instead, it will evolve into an endemic*; it will continue to be present in certain places or population groups over time.
Nonetheless, the pandemic is not something we should take lightly despite it being a part of our lives right now. There are still so many hardships and challenges in this battle. Vaccine issues, rollout challenges, virus variants, 2nd, 3rd, 4th waves, economic downturn, social and psychological isolation, and economic inequality will continue to rampage the world in various ways.
While our lifestyles and paths in life may have changed drastically in the one year, we should not lose sight of the things we have right now, big or small, to be grateful. From food deliveries to long walks around the neighborhood to hugging a loved one, it’s these things that enrich our lives and enable us to live comfortably despite the hardships we currently face. Most importantly, we need to continue keeping each other safe and healthy. We may all not be on the same boat in this storm, but know that at some point, all these things will come to pass, and we will come out hopefully strong and more learned.
What have you discovered about yourself during this period?
- The Corona Virus is here to stay: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00396-2
- Can we get rid of of Covid-19 forever? (Vox on Youtube): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34oI0yd5YUc&t=1s