Longing | Indie Spirit by Augustin Ra

Since the pandemic happened, a lot has changed and I can't picture that we're out of the woods yet anytime soon. Almost everything that we do for a living transformed and somehow, I'd sigh hoping to get back to our old lives regardless of how stressful it'd be. When the quarantine started, we were in a lockdown and ought to stay at home all the time. At first, it was such a breeze to take a rest from work and the stressful activities like the daily commute. Sometimes, I'd agree with the posts I see on social media that life back then isn't something we'll look for because the daily hustle of chasing time to get on the bus so we won't be late for work isn't something we want in our lives. Who would want to be squished with bodies early in the morning just to arrive at work on time despite how unsafe the commute could be? No one, right? 

I have this longing, longing for the days way before covid happened. How I wish I had more time to prepare for what's to happen than to feel stuck in uncertainty amidst this pandemic. There was even a time during the lockdown that maybe this was just a dream but in reality, it hurts to know that we already have this new normal which is not really that normal. 

Looking back on photos feels like they were taken a decade ago but in fact, it was just like a year ago. Sometimes, I'd check on my phone's gallery and see these photos were taken weeks before the quarantine and how surreal everything had been. The occasional dates my boyfriend and I'd spend through thorough planning or just by impulse came into a blur now. I don't even know what KFC food tastes like nowadays. However, we were able to avoid fast food now because of this pandemic and opt for little restaurants in town and prefer home dates over any kind of date just to be safe from the virus and exposure to people. One thing that I want to grasp this year despite the pandemic is to be more with nature. Maybe this is the time to discover more of what the province has to offer. Nothing fancy and grand but as simple as going to the nearby beach, if possible, is something I'd love to experience.  

Keeping in touch with friends during this pandemic made me realize that I am only friends with some of them because of the job, not because we'd like to meet and have a talk. When the quarantine started, I'd send them memes and ask how they're doing but if I won't do any first move to keep the friendship going, there won't be any conversation in the first place. This was something I shared with Da on one of our new year resolution activities. I answered a question asking what's something I went low key last year and had no plans on picking up this year and we had the same answer which was keeping in touch with whom we thought our friends. I know we've all been busy and taking care of ourselves since the quarantine and due to the safety protocols being implemented outside, it seems going out and catching up with another makes it almost impossible but a simple "How are you?" means something especially on the right time. 

A quick escape from the hustle and the buzz of life seems so impossible if the only choice is just to stay at home. Back then, I'd travel from one town to another and hang out with myself or with people. I'd do window shopping just to see the latest trends that may tickle my fancy and later on, grateful for the extra steps roaming around the mall. I miss the moments when my boyfriend and I'd do our grocery shopping together and be shocked at how much we've spent on items that our fingers could count on. Through this, we felt the essence of being an adult but now, we'd do pasabuy - something that we do as a favor if someone is going to the same store that we've planned on going to in order to save time on lines, fare, and the energy. Buying something online became much easier these days with just one click and approval from a PIN that turned out the development of a toxic habit of instant gratification. How many times did we regret buying one thing or two just because? Are we even that mindful these days? Or is it because we've been staying at home a lot these days that even the day becomes a blur? 

I'm longing for the day when life goes back to a good normal without the increasing rates of death due to the pandemic, a time when we can go from point A to B without the needed protocols and expensive documents to comply with, a time when we can enjoy warm gatherings with the people we love without worrying if we already have the virus, and when necessities are being priced at a just amount and not because everyone has been using the pandemic as an excuse to increase its price that would make living more difficult. I'm longing for a normal that has the compassion, resilience, and warmth that we've learned from this hardship. Let our longings and learnings from these uncertainties be our tools to survive to reach whatever we want to achieve at our own pace regardless of how difficult in this new normal. 

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