What a year it's been - and it's not even done yet! 

Take that however you want, but there's no denying 2020 has been both a blessing and a nightmare depending on your perspective. We all had bigger hopes for 2020 when 2019 was ending, telling ourselves that this year would be our year. 

Then, the pandemic came into the picture. 

A lot of people were quick to shrug it off as a regular, non-deadly virus, but as the first quarter closed in, we all realized it wasn't a mere flu. It hit the world like thunder and to some, it might have felt like the end of the world. 

It is now almost the end of July, and the virus doesn't seem to be stopping. SO much has changed and we're all adjusting to what the world might live with for years if no vaccine is created. So, this post is to remind myself where I'm at in life currently and share insights on what's been happening, as a creative, coach, and natural potato sack (haha!).

Midyear Updates Collage

Disclaimer: These are written from my perspective and opinions. What I write won't apply to everyone, but our experiences are always unique to us, and that's what I will be conveying throughout the post.

COVID-19 Has Affected Everyone

I've deactivated on Facebook multiple times because of how toxic it's become. From insensitive strangers commenting on a page's posts (mostly about the plight of the less privileged who have gone one for months without wages or jobs and political issues) to family members shoving their opinions down my throat as if it should also be my stand, it was an environment I needed a break from.

In the end, I blocked those relatives who were making my feed incredibly toxic, and whenever I see comments that break my heart or evoke my passion to take my own stand and correct them, I breathe deeply and assess if that person is a troll or is someone who will listen to reason. 

This pandemic has brought out the best and worst in people. I have observed rude people become worse, "keyboard warriors" or trolls become more idiotic and blind to the truth, neutral folks finally speak up for what they believe in, and those who know the truth clam up and hide behind Facebook groups that are just as silent in public (but hella passionate within them).

no to abs cbn shutdown vigil
Image © Jire Carreon/Rappler

duterte cebu covid response inquirer image

It's sad that instead of properly responding to the pandemic, people in position are taking advantage of the situation to better themselves, leaving the poorer population to die off in starvation. The government has taken out billions of loans already, but why can't the people feel it's being used? There are stimulus packages for certain groups (not all), and not everyone covered has actually received the promised help. 

I've written my opinions on Facebook and haven't been silent about it, as my passion lies in justice, equality, and empathy. If we see someone being oppressed, why shouldn't we speak up?

What of the new normal?

I'm so thankful to God that I am not hugely affected by the pandemic. Before the "new normal" came to be, I already didn't go out often as I have an online job and online delivery was an option for whatever I needed. So, when we were placed under ECQ (Extended Community Quarantine), I didn't feel the change. I went out once after four months (two weeks ago) and people were pretty normal excluding the alcohol station, temp checks, and face mask requirements. 

I think the fact I changed jobs last December is a blessing. I can admit now that I had been thinking about leaving two years prior but something always stopped me, but in November last year, I really felt like it was time to go. I stayed until the last day of November and took on a different role as a relationship coach right after. While I enjoyed my previous work, I've never looked back. I'm also now a podcast manager for an Australian company, so I'm pretty much in the line of work I wanted to be in for a while now.

The world's new normal has always been my normal. I don't say that lightly, 'cause people all over the world are getting depressed or suicidal over this. They've all gotten lonelier, more anxious, negative, and fearful. All of which are valid. If I could help alleviate everyone's sour feelings and tell them personally that it's okay, I would.

Staying Creative & Productive

There were major weeks when I DID NOT want to do anything related to art. I'd get bursts of energy here and there and was able to write an original song and do other art stuff, but apart from those, motivation was low. I'd guilt myself into being productive and posting on social media, and that drained me even more.

This has also affected my podcast. At the start of the year, I had lots of plans for episodes and potential guests, but it all went out the window. I haven't uploaded an episode for maybe 2 months now, and it sucks. It's not that I didn't want to keep doing it... but again, I wasn't inspired. I did a COVID series (things to do, staying connected, etc.) but I ran out of ideas for that and, well, the hiatus happened again. Safe to say it'll take me a while longer to get back on track with it.

While the world is at war with a virus, we're also at war with ourselves - internally, emotionally, physically, spiritually. Looking for balance is tough as hell. We're all trying to look well and have everyone we talk to have the impression that we're doing fine, when in fact, it's all on the surface.

It's okay to feel stressed. It's okay to feel down. It's okay to feel lost during this time. It's okay to not always be productive. It's okay if you need a little push towards motivation or productivity. 

It's okay.

So, July has come to an end.

Time flew by SO fast and most of it was spent indoors. I can't recall the last time I went out to just shop or look at what's new at the mall because there was nothing to see. This year has been both a blessing and heartache to a lot of people and I can only hope that, moving forward, things get better soon.

August, please be kind to us?