The year 2020 seems to be such a long year. In just the first month, reports of volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and ashfall have already taken place. The second month introduced the severity of an outbreak that later turned into a pandemic.
While all these are happening, I keenly observed the outside world from the comfort of my home. I may be quiet all by myself in my home office but my mind is a loud room.
Since the outbreak, I wake up at 6:30 (or earlier) in the morning for work. My colleagues and I spend more than 12-hours of processing information and publishing content. I’m no stranger to working from home, but times like this triples our workload (since I am in the online media and news category).
We post more than 40 news stories per day. The subjects vary but at a time like this, most news is just disturbing. The other day, I posted a piece about a mother forcing her 3 children to perform sexual acts in front of a webcam so she could profit from it. The thought disgusted me. There was also another story about a retired soldier, who was mentally incapable due to trauma from war, that was shot dead by police defenseless. Plenty of stories like this every day.
We usually wrap up at 8 in the evening. My head feels heavy, my eyes are dry, and my wrists are tired but some exchanges in the group chat don’t end. And when I choose to respond the next day, the same message is sent to my personal account. Then there’s Viber, Telegram, Whatsapp, and my mobile, too.
I’m grateful for the job, but I hope to take a break from being pushed to overdo it.
Over the three years that I’ve worked from home, I fought hard to keep the discipline with regard to time. But now there is no boundary to personal time and work time. Everybody is online and wants an answer instantly. “Reacts” in the Messenger app have become an energy-saving way for me to acknowledge a message without sending another thought that would elongate the discussion.
When does “me” begin and when does “me” end? What is all this for? Why does it feel like the world still wants more from me even after giving it my best? Some thoughts I need to surrender.
I am at the point where I conserve the little strength that’s left in me after a consuming day. I have no more passion for blogging, reading, or even watching. When I log back into my personal social media account, I’m glad when no new unread messages await my attention. (Sadly, even those from friends and loved ones.) Life currently doesn’t seem like reality to me at all, even when there’s a voice or video call to supposedly fix that.
You see, I yearn for real conversations. Ones that are face to face, in the flesh, candid. Talks that require physical and emotional presence. I want to hear warm waves of laughter, to hug real persons, to look at friends in the eye without them knowing, to observe the clothes they wore that day, to unconsciously smell their scent, to find out if they prefer milk tea over coffee, to share a meal with them, to think of a movie and remember how big fanatics they are of it.
Maybe I’m a big “spur of the moment” kind of person.
It’s a blessing that I got locked up at the house with my parents. We weren’t on speaking terms before the home quarantine was imposed, but thank God for getting me isolated with them. My relationship with them was restored and friendship was established.
Of all the bad things that have happened, there is one thing that always sets my day on a happy note — God.
I’m extremely proud of God’s power in my life. Some days are just rough but I always find rest in talking to Him. Not only I am growing spiritually, but even my friends who study the Word with me and join fellowships online also get to know God deeper. This pandemic may have locked us down in our homes but our faith journey continues.
I got to start a new project called #WonderEveryday where I share inspirational images to encourage others during this difficult time. It’s not much, but I pray that the few whose souls are lifted may build up others as well.
Small prayers like asking God to give me great sleep, to give me good dreams, to wake me up at a relaxed state, are granted to me graciously by God. Thankful for everyday.
In the early weeks of this lockdown, I set up a nook at home to help me keep my mind off the busyness and heaviness — apart from spending time watching series on Netflix and quiet time with God. It’s not much but I was able to declutter a few things. I moved some furniture pieces in the living area and eventually designed a nook at home. This is one of the things I normally don’t have the time for. Glad to find a way to destress amid the pandemic.
Still holding onto hope. God is doing something great and all these things will not be in vain.