It was night time and I was having dinner with my friends when I read the announcement regarding the beginning of quarantine. Honestly, my first response was to rejoice and celebrate the news because finally, I’ll have time for myself. It’s been one and a half years since college began and I need a breather from all the stress and pressure that come with it.
The next day, I quickly arranged my stuff, left the dormitory, and rode a jeepney heading home to Dasmariñas, Cavite. As the ride went by, a stream of thoughts about what I can do to make the most of the time ahead of me came flowing in my mind. I was thrilled, excited, and nervous all at the same time! I want to read books, watch movies, finish watching La Casa De Papel, and like all college students—I wanted to sleep for eight hours straight! This was my concept of heaven and at last, it is within my reach.
The first few weeks of my quarantine life ran smoothly. I relished the sense of autonomy the time offered that I never experienced in my life before. And what other people perceived as constraint did the opposite to me—it gave me liberty, and it changed me. In the process, I started to create a better version of myself. I began to build habits like reading, exercising, meditating, and even learning French language. I am far from the stress and pressure of life, but not until my mental health took its toll on me.
The Quarantine Struggle is Real
Two months after the beginning of my so-called freedom everything turned upside down. I started to have bizarre thoughts that I didn’t encounter before, loneliness crept in taking me by surprise while my guard was off. My moment of liberty started to limit me. I don’t know how to respond because I never expected it to turn out this way. I was miserable and I reckoned to know why but I just can’t. It was that moment I realized that the pandemic got the best of me.
For almost two weeks, I tried my best to find comfort in things hoping that it can answer me. I watched inspirational videos, talked with my family and friends, and even studied a few chapters of my books trying to find the puzzle piece that perfectly fits my situation. However, I found none.
How I Unexpectedly Found Comfort
Later that week, as I was cleaning our old bookshelf, I stumbled upon a book that I bought two years ago entitled 100 Days in the Waiting Room. It was about a man who had prostate cancer and how God sustained him through such a storm in his life. Little did I know, that book was the start of my revival.
The book taught me a lot of things but above all, it opened my eyes to selfishness. I realized how self-centered I was in response to this pandemic. All I did was to think about myself and how I can get past this hurdle. Yet, I began to understand that the comfort that I am searching for is not found within me but in the lives of the people who also need help like me.
This is where love and compassion took over my storm. I had my eyes opened to the need that during these difficult times humanity longs for hope. As a response, I sought for ways that I could do in my appeal to share hope with others: the revival of joy that I experienced. And I found myself utilizing different platforms like blogging where I write to spread hope that roots from love and compassion; not for myself but for others.
I recognized how I can give hope to my loved ones by serving them in my own humble means. I am privileged to meet my cousins weekly via video call where we practice accountability and enjoy the company of one another. I also try my best to serve my parents through respect and obedience to their call.
In the midst of this pandemic, it is okay to think about yourself. It is normal to desire the best for you. But, life is not always and only about us. If we truly want to survive the challenges of this life, we need to acknowledge our need for other people to help us through by putting them ahead of ourselves. We need to respond in love and practice compassion for others. It is only then we can find genuine and lasting comfort that we are longing for.
Q&A: Question and Action
How did you found comfort in the middle of this season? How can you practice gratitude in response to it?
I would love to hear from you! Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
About the Writer:
Elijah Wayne Marin is a self-improvement blogger from the Philippines. He is a medical laboratory science student who began blogging in the midst of a pandemic. His goal is to empower young people in breaking their boundaries by providing tips, motivation and relevant information about personal development.
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