Manila – Truths, realities, epiphanies. This coronavirus pandemic is such an unprecedented ballgame it made many of us come to certain points in our lives that we didn’t even see coming. Our truths revealed themselves; our realities emerged and we are jolted into our epiphanies – outcomes and consequences we never
When everything stopped and we went into different stages of quarantines and lockdowns, the days became unremarkable weeks that disappeared into months. In my country, it’s been seven months since life stood still, and counting.
But as the conversations continued with family, loved ones and friends, mostly virtually, I learned about plans that are no longer feasible and goals that are no longer meant to be pursued.
A friend of mine, an international aid worker, realized he isn’t happy and wants to end his tenure to move to another country where he is more comfortable. A former co-worker will no longer go back to the city and opted to stay in the countryside with her dogs, cats and dozens of nephews and nieces. A father learned how to farm and from now on, will stay in the outskirts of the city where he can breathe fresh air every day. A friend’s daughter realized she doesn’t need to rush into getting married; truth is, she thinks she’s not in love, after all.
Still, a mother learned how to bake and do a blog, so now she’s putting her thousand thoughts into words online, including baking tips. A friend self-taught on personal financing and real estate and is now a totally different person, speaking a different language. A friend of a friend finally sat down and did what she has been wanting to do since she was a kid – sketch and paint – and faced her demons while doing it. There’s this fellow who reconnected and now tells wonderful stories of people from where he is – a distant but dangerous place.
There are countless retreats and resets – from careers, marriages, life reassessments, even fitness and food. There are many tragic stories, of dreams that no longer have rainbows and unicorns in them. There are also stories of love and hope that I have a special fondness for because they are hard to come by these days. And there are stories that don’t have any direction, some that lost their trajectories because of heartbreaking episodes.
If there’s one thing that this tragedy brought us, it’s the paths we discover that may not lead us to where we want to be; the beginnings we started well and the endings that we didn’t expect. But certainly, there were journeys that can pass as good enough. But how will our stories end? How do we see the end of the line when there’s nary a shadow or a flicker of it?
My truth, reality or epiphany looks more like a rewrite, a reshape, but to be able to do this, I would need a sabbatical on top of this forced, long-drawn timeout. While some people have figured out what to do, I include myself with so many others who are in their Catch-22, in the chaos of their dilemmas while hoping for possibilities that their stories will end somehow, or will just be running stories that will end whenever they should be. Perhaps, mine can end when I come across certainties again that I have an endless capacity for hope.