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  • Writer's picture By Diana G. Mendoza

Surviving the end of the world

Manila— The year 2020 was the end of the world, or so I thought. But as I kept reading happy essays listing the best places to live in and move to in 2021, or pieces suggesting points on how to thrive as the calendar turned a new page, clearly that was not yet it. There’s more and there’s plenty, only that it’s a continuing wild ride that looks like another unpredictable ending to a year that started with a whimper.

To begin with, 2021 unfolded with an even more dangerously altering virus that continues to cause illness and death. As a reluctant news observer in my country, I checked the tally at half a million cases and with no clear and immediate government vaccination plan as of this writing.

While the world fights back, the concerns of the societies we live in become bigger than us, but in our constantly shifting world, there is this more troubling anxiety of dealing with our own. Our wounds may be healing but our realities will be the same, our struggles tough and tricky. But definitely, we will have our joys, hopefully not intermittent.

One of the fun things I did since I was younger was to share with friends the predictions about what will happen to us in the year ahead. There is nothing as absurdly whimsical as looking to what the universe has to tell us through its celestial, cosmic galaxies, however fantastic they are, and especially because the annual Lunar New Year falls on this month.

When I checked mine at the start of the year, one of the forecasts stated, “You’re taking back your power this year, which means that you aren’t letting anyone or anything stand in your way of success.” I chuckled a “Wow!” to that.

Apart from the forecast, I saw gemstones of advice: “Before you write, think. Before you criticize, wait. Before you quit, try. Before you retire, save. Before you die, give.”


Whatever newfound strength I probably have to regain what I have lost and be able to muddle through this foretelling and vision of my life ahead, I might be as lucky as the lucky colors and numbers of this year. Maybe, I will be able to harmonize; there would be no need for feng shui.

If I would think about it, one of the most important things that happened in 2020 is that in the year of physical and social distancing, I gained new friends and strengthened my connections with the existing ones, the ones I nurture. I will continue living this way.

I will also do my best to build on old wishes and dreams and see if I can realize them this time. Of course, there’s always that possibility of discovering one day that I haven’t, but that’s the beauty of it.

Someone said there is no time like the present. I would concur to that by saying that the here and now are the reasons we can make things possible again by not holding on to the bad things that happened to us. We can use the power of our imagination to create new challenges to embrace and new spurs for occasional smiles and laughter.

So when I think that it’s the end of the world, I think again. I think of the plans and journeys to adjust and to let the year chart its own course. I stare at my coffee that has turned cold and the still life of lemons and bananas by my pantry, because there will always be wonder and sunlit raptures while the world burns.

Diana Mendoza is a journalist based in Manila. Send feedback to

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