Navigating My New Normal

Covid-19 is here and it looks like it will be sticking around for the foreseeable future. We can rail all we want against the government's less than stellar management of the crisis, but at the end of the day, we have no choice but to adjust and adapt to our current situation. But don't you worry because we can make our unhappiness felt the most in about two years time, when national elections roll in, so if you're qualified to vote, please go to your nearest COMELEC office to register.

Now where was I? Oh yes, adapting to the new normal.

When the country was placed under lockdown, I never had to worry about being able to feed my family because I continued to draw a salary and the grocery stores remained open, so my husband went out for supplies every week and a half. My main issues then were taking care of my kids and making sure the laundry didn't pile up because I could only handwash about 20 pieces of clothing every other day. I was tired all the time and anxious about what was happening but humbled at the privileges I enjoyed, so I did my best to soldier on and not add to the problem.

Now that we're in the second month of General Community Quarantine, I continue to be humbled and grateful for the privileges that I'm enjoying.

My workplace has instituted rotating attendance to ensure physical distancing and to limit outside exposure. For now, we physically report to the office for 4 days in a week and then work from home for the next 10 days, this way if we become symptomatic, we can isolate ourselves and prevent a possible spread of infection. I think the rest of the Supreme Court offices and chambers of other justices also practice a similar system to prevent infection or the spreading of infection.

I would also like to flex the Supreme Court's disinfection chambers at the two Faura gates. They look like phonebooths that you pass through, then it takes your temperature through a screen, dispenses hand sanitizer and when you get out, you're treated to a delightful mist of, hopefully not so toxic, disinfectant. It's very cool and I was floored when I first saw it. First world vibes y'all! 


My work commute also underwent a big change. Pre-pandemic, I used to take a UV Express to and from work, spending only Php70/day. Now I take a car and park about a kilometer away, thereby increasing my daily commuting costs to Php264 (for parking and toll) excluding gasoline. But considering the lack of public transportation from Sucat to Manila, this really is my only option for now, as well as being the safest. 

The PITX-Sucat route looks promising but I rarely see an UBE bus along Sucat, maybe there aren't a lot of buses deployed for now? There's also a PITX-Lawton route plied by modern jeepneys so I'll try using those to get to work one of these days, in fact I already bought a beep card and signed up for a QR code in anticipation of trying out this route. 



When it comes to working from home, I find that what currently works best for me is hiding from my toddler so that I can get some work done. It's a good thing that our yaya is back so she has taken over childcare and I no longer have to schedule work around my toddler's nap time.

To prepare for my week of working at home, I schedule the cases I'll be working on for that week and then photocopy the necessary pleadings or get the soft copies, if they're available. And when it's time to work from home, I avoid my toddler like he's the coronavirus. It's a good thing that we have laptops now, I can't imagine working from home with a PC because I'll be stuck in one place and he'll always find me.

Grappling with constant anxiety has also become part of my new normal. 2020 doesn't seem to be finished in dishing out the bad news and our own government isn't a slacker in that department either. My usual optimistic streak is finding it harder and harder to make its presence known and I've deliberately shut out the barrage of bad news and binged on Koreanovelas just to manage my nerves.

I've never felt so helpless like I do now and I always end up wondering if sticking it out in the Philippines is the best decision for myself and my family. Am I doing my children a disservice by staying here? So many questions swirl through my mind every single day and while I'd like to say that I've figured out what to do, that's far from the truth. For now, I just aim to do the next right thing and trust that a better day is on the horizon.



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Comments

  1. I can so relate. No one is spared from this mess, I guess. I agree with you, one thing at a time, one day at a time. Having children (a baby in our case!) makes it doubly hard for parents as we tend to get anxious/paranoid about their health and future. My constant prayer is we remain Covid-free for as long as possible (even when there is a vaccine already). Let's keep going, Jill! :)

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    1. Hugs Edel! One day at a time lang talaga and never stop doing the next right thing (like what Ana said in Frozen 2 :)

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  2. I feel your frustration Jill with everything going on right now. Madami din napapag-isip mag migrate. Sadly. Kaso I'll probably be stuck here in the Philippines because family. Also mahirap din ata ang abogado mag migrate? Hehe. . Ingat and stay safe!

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    1. Hi George! Actually madali lang mag-migrate, it's the once you're there in a new country that's challenging :p

      As a lawyer, don't expect to be able to practice in your new country and if you do want to practice, new round of schooling and bar exams na naman.

      But madami namang trabaho if you're not picky and just want to survive in a new country. Leave your yabang and preconceived self-worth muna in the meantime while you're building a new life abroad.

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