Everywhere on social media, one sees posts, videos, quotes saying how the current pandemic has opened their eyes to what is really essential in life—family, health, and the grace of God.

I do not disagree with these.

But something gnaws deep inside me, telling me that these are not enough. What is lacking, though, I do not know. 

That is my present mantra. The only thing I do know right now, is that—I do not know.

Before the pandemic, I was a graduating teen from outside Metro Manila looking forward to going to college somewhere far away. It was going to be a whole new world for me, striking on my own, away from my family.

Enter COVID-19.

Boom!

There went my senior prom (not that I wanted to attend it, anyway), my graduation ceremony (was not too excited about it, to be honest), and our planned family trip to celebrate my graduation, my brother’s sweet 16, my birthday, and my sister’s debut. It was a trip the whole family was looking forward to.

Suddenly, we were all housebound. Worse, I found myself stuck in online classes, which was not really how I envisioned my college life to be, to say the least. With that, my motivation to do well in school, or to do anything for that matter, just went pfft. 

My mother calls it the “Pajama Syndrome”—how staying in your pajamas all day will make you physically sluggish. Which will, in turn, slow down your mental faculties and bring you emotionally down. It seems like you just woke up but, before you know it, it is nighttime once more. It’s time to put on your pajamas again—but wait, you’re already wearing it, so going to sleep is the most logical thing to do. 

What I do not know, at the moment, is when I would return to normal, or what my normal would ever be.

I disagreed with my mother on this. But only with respect to the pajama portion, as I am not wearing pajamas. Though, I must concede, Pajama Syndrome sounds better than “Pambahay T-shirt at Shorts Syndrome.” 

Pajamas or otherwise, there seems to be no motivation to do anything, except to eat, sleep, check internet, and repeat. Note that cutting my now long, unkempt hair is not part of the equation.

At the onset of the pandemic, I would take our dog on nightly 30-minute walks around the neighborhood. I would also crochet, as I promised my parents and siblings that I would make them bonnets (to be used during a family vacation in a really cold place sometime in December). With my siblings and cousins, I would also bake—sometimes a culinary success, sometimes not.

Eventually, though, my interest in these activities waned. 

What I like doing, though, are my younger siblings’ modules. Take note, their modules, not mine. I even participated in the dance video requirement of one cousin, and coached my other cousin in his grade school diagnostic test, helping him garner a perfect score.

When it came to myself, though, I was not interested in anything. Procrastination became my best friend.

Procrastination and I know each other well. But it is only now that I’ve come to know procrastination really well—with a capital P, italicized, underlined, and in bold print. That I procrastinate is not an overstatement. It is my life’s present statement. 

All is not lost, however—or so everyone would like to think. Hopefully, someday, this optimism will rub off on me, and I will eventually have that attitude of gratitude.

I know that things will eventually return to normal. After all, even the 1918 Spanish flu ended, and so did the two world wars. 

What I do not know, at the moment, is when I would return to normal, or what my normal would ever be.

Meanwhile, like a slug, I will slug it out (pun intended).

As is often said, “This, too, shall pass.” With my family, relatives, and dogs, I am looking forward to the pandemic’s end. After all, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. 

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