By: Bill Mamba
I remember waking up every morning with a new idea running through my head of what goal I planned to pursue within the day. I would take a shower, put on some clothes, and head to school, maybe even leave the car right in front of Petron to run across the footbridge just to avoid being late, and having a good laugh about it when I beat the 7:30 AM clock-in. After school, I would accompany some of my friends and talk over a burger or two, and after that, maybe even hit the gym. Everything was okay.
Now, it’s different. Who knew that everything would change in a day? Those moments that did not shine brightly when they happened. They were just there. Who would have thought face masks would now be for everyone? Who could have known that your soul jumps out of your body when someone in your general vicinity sneezes or that you will be locked in your room for days that turn into weeks. Who would have known that even Netflix and gaming would eventually be too much at some point?
It is an understatement to say we’ve taken for granted the freedom we had at our fingertips before the pandemic hit. Hugging family members, taking slow walks in UP Town, seeing a friend in real life–we knew those moments were valuable, but didn’t realize how much it was until it was all taken away. This may span from even the biggest accomplishment of the year to a simple every day activity such as that 30 minute jog you used to have every other day, or maybe those movies you used to attend with your family, the coffee dates you used to plan with all your friends, or even the blessing of having a stable wifi connection to support your everyday needs. You never actually realize the value of certain things unless they’re gone.
It has been almost eight months approaching, and nine since I left the big city to live in the province, way up north due to the complications as a result of the spread of COVID. As everything changed, in merely an instant, the life we once all knew as chaotic but balanced, has turned itself inside out. The whole world had to adapt due to a single factor that affects humanity as a whole. It really has been wild ride as living outside of the city; you go through certain experiences that you are going to remember the rest of your life, from simply standing on top of balconies and even the rooftops to get signal to pass a philosophy paper, or maybe walking back and forth inside the house to see which spot has the best signal, or even doing some laundry while making an AICT infographic at the same time. I must say though that the smell of fresh air is amazing.
In all honesty, the perks of living outside the city has its ups and downs, but overall it has been fun. As these experiences that you go through everyday also advocate toward the notion of personal growth as you begin to learn through an empirical point of view, and you gather concrete knowledge and essential life skills you need in order to survive in the 21st century. It may not be about business or saving money, or writing essays, or even creating portfolios. These experiences become a structure of knowledge already implanted within me, in which I bring wherever I go.
However, as I look back and reflect on certain points in my life that I have come to value, I begin to develop this urge of going back or “missing” , as I recall a time where everything was okay, where you did not have a care in the world about your surroundings, and going outside wasn’t the biggest obstacle of the day, and someone touching you wouldn’t give you a shock that would put you into a downward spiral. Times are changing, and while we weren’t ready for it, the world has to go on and so do we. Together, we adapt to the newness this change has brought us in, like a pair of shoes we never could quite imagine wearing, our toes awkwardly latching on the soles as we take one apprehensive step after the other.
This pandemic has brought many lessons we thought we already learned, but the world is revealing to us more of its secrets. Mankind is brought down to its knees by an enemy no larger than a droplet and with this we learn that we are parts of a system, a whole that each one of us contributes to. The old world, the one with the freedom we crave for, where the most interaction we have with the outside world is through a screen and a bunch of cables. We cannot go back to that. The world needs rebuilding, needs happiness, and most of all, kindness. We may have lost our sense of self as our life is ripped away from us for these past few months, but we are all products of several thousand ancestors who made it possible to be alive in this very moment. We continue to endure, to adapt, and perhaps reshape the world into what it should have been all along.