COVID-19: Quarantine Contemplations – Valuing what truly matters

Staying at home

COVID-19 forced us to stay at home. As of this writing, it is already the second week of the quarantine period and it somewhat useful for us to contemplate about what we truly value. Immobilized by the global pandemic, we had been that forced to stay home. We are neither able to go out to work, nor enjoy our social lives due to this new norm of social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus. This event forced us to stay at home for quite some time as we battle this invisible enemy. It’s not too bad at all. Here’s why:

COVID-19 Quarantine Period teaches us how to PAUSE

During the days that we are at work, being sleep deprive to our day to day tasks in the office or school, what we wanted was rest. As human beings we have grown into a culture wherein we are ought to accomplish life’s demands as soon as it hits us. The development of hustle culture, pursuing the American dream of owning a house, driving a luxury car, and achieving financial independence so that we can retire early. We are plague with so much noise in our lives that dictates that we are ought to study hard, work hard, so we can play hard. 
When you asked an average person “How are you?” the common response today is “I’m fine. Just busy.” As the author Essentialism, Greg McKeown, said “If people are too busy to think, then they are too busy.”

When was the last time we sat down to think? You may start asking difficult questions towards your life. “Why do I work?” “What would I like to achieve?” “Am I really happy with what I am doing?” “Why I do things what I do now?” “Will my future me, thank me for what I am doing today?”
Work is a blessing, but during this quarantine period, I have realized how overworked I am.

I am working as a teacher, taking my masters, and serving in a ministry at our local church. I love what I do, but I know that I am somewhat sleep deprived. My regular Tuesdays and Thursdays were my most difficult days of the week as I have to teach straight for 6 hours, then 30 minutes break to drive going to my graduate school and study for another 3-4 hours. Often ends my day on Thursdays with a meeting. I somewhat learned to live through it by managing some sort of self-care routines on M-W-F’s but I know, it’s not a license to justify beating myself up so much. 

COVID-19 Quarantine Period shows us what is truly essential

“What is essential is invisible to the eye.” – The Little Prince
Since regular work was disrupted, we are locked up on our homes. During days of work, how many times within the day we have desired to go home. We even want to go home even as we start our day of work and just simply jump back to our beds and sleep a little bit more. Maybe we wanted to just spend a little more time with our family and skip our regular work schedule. Well, how many times have we exchange our time to work, and truly spend time at home with our families? If we find it a little bit fewer, then now is the time to do it. 

Relationships and Family

I repeat what I said, “We are ought to STAY HOME.” 
I learned early in my life the difference between a HOME and a HOUSE. HOME in Filipino is called “tahanan” which came from the word “tahan” (tahan means ’stop crying’). Do you have a HOME or do you own a HOUSE? Most of us work so hard to pursue a dream to buy a house so we can have something we call our own. It is a nice thing indeed, but what matters is that how can we make our house into a home?

Building a house costs money, but building a home costs you time.

Hustling so much so we can earn much to buy what we desired but sometimes we end up in ruin because we think, we are doing it for our family, but sadly, it’s too late when we realize that we already lost the time breaking our backs into working instead of building our home. 

Money is Cheap

“And this, too, is a very serious problem. People leave this world no better off than when they came. All their hard work is for nothing—like working for the wind.Throughout their lives, they live under a cloud—frustrated, discouraged, and angry.”Ecclesiastes 5:16-17 (NLT)

We all came to this world having nothing and we cannot even take our riches when we die. We get too entangled with life’s riches and sometimes we forgot the reality that resources is not the only means for us to achieve joy. Senator Manny Pacquiao made a good statement about this:

Value of money
Photo taken from GMA News

(“Money has no value as of now, right? Even if you have a lot of money, you cannot buy because stores are closed. You might have a nice car, but you cannot go anywhere. You can wear LV or Gucci, yet you are just at home anyway. In this time of crisis, you’ll appreciate more all your memories and quality time with your families and friends.That’s all we have right now.”) 

Indeed, our present situation serves as a wake-up call that riches cannot even do anything to save us from this pandemic. The target of this sickness is everyone.  

Well, this quarantine period due to COVID-19 is still unpredictable. We have no idea what’s gonna happen next. Our economy took a great hit and even business owners suffer. Our jobs may be at risk. I suppose we have learned somehow how to cope up with this kind of “new normal” with all the likes of “physical distancing” and working from home. All news are filled with terrible information that oftentimes cause us to be more anxious. Yet, I hope we would still be able to utilize this situation to our own advantage. Take a pause. Take a deep breath. Start your own introspection about your own life.

How about you? What are your learnings and reflections in this quarantine period?