The past few weeks, we have followed the pandemic stories of my friends on the West Coast, East Coast, and Midwest. Now we will travel around the globe to the Philippines—virtually of course—and hear from one of my relatives in Manila.
Since COVID-19 has grown across the world, there has been much discussion on defining who and what is essential: essential workers, essential businesses, and essential services.
In clarifying what is essential, we have to define what is extra too.
In today’s profile, my cousin (or de facto cousin) shares what is extra for her.
What is extra in your life?
This Q&A has been edited for clarity.
Tell me about yourself.
I am a homemaker, almost a senior citizen, and separated/divorced with one daughter, who is 23 years old and working.
I do not work except for some acting projects and project-based consultancy.
I was born and raised in Manila, went to graduate school in California, lived in the US for 16 years, and relocated back to Manila in 2002.
What was your life like before the pandemic?
I had a regimented schedule: take my daughter to work, do groceries/marketing, and cook for the home.
My other activities included working out in the gym and going to the salon to pamper myself. I got together with my friends on certain occasions and traveled with them, but not often. I traveled a lot both domestic and international.
What is your life like now during the pandemic?
I would say this is just a level down from pre-pandemic days.
I have been out maybe four times to do grocery shopping or marketing, but am relying on Viber marketplace groups for deliveries and that is very okay with me.
I work out from home so that is not an issue.
I do miss going to the salon and having my dogs groomed, but those things are just extras I can do without and can DIY.
Obviously, I cannot travel.
What have you learned through this experience?
I have learned that we can do without a lot of extras in life. Life is more peaceful when it is simpler.
I have learned that there is still humanity in this world when seeing and participating in fundraisers for frontliners and those who are marginalized. People extend assistance even if they do not have much.
I have learned that we need this time to reflect and refresh. It is very inconvenient, but very doable.
I have learned that truly, we are not in control.
To what extent does this clarify or confuse what you want from life?
This pandemic has given me time to reflect what I would like in life. That I can do without the “extras” in life. The important things in life—God, family, and friends—matter more than anything else.
What do you hope to experience in the future?
I hope when it is safe to travel, I can do that again—most especially regular trips to the beaches on other islands.
I long for that time I can freely move about by choice without fear of catching COVID.
I have other goals on my bucket list and hope I can achieve them.
What action steps do you think you can take now?
For me this is a time to rest, refresh, and meditate. I can do all the planning I want, but I am not in control and I am accepting of that.