Skulls and roses, the heart and the mind, Thoughts and emotions, butterflies and bones; each are alike, yet each seems to oppose. * Through rise and fall, of celestial orbs; Through the constant tick and tock of mechanical clocks; Through doubts and indecision, suddenly, a magical moment found. * Years passed, caged in an enchanted sleep; Yet in this magical night, and the splendor of words, ignites the sleeping beast
The notebook in the photo was what I once called as my perfect notebook the moment I laid my eyes on it. I can’t seem to find the courage to start writing on it since it was given to me as a gift. I hold it with so much reverie that I think that my thoughts and my emotions aren’t worthy enough for the blank pages it beholds. In fact, I even searched and bought for a new one. Yet, just only last night, this magical moment happened, and I was finally able to gather up the confidence that I need to start devouring the pages and fill it with my own wonder.
I stare at the keys, taunting me illuminating blue light, dark thoughts it’s crazy how these feelings do. Raw, unfiltered, unmasked letting it all go in heavy, little presses. Where to start, how to continue? Ten thousand more hours I need, to make little pieces that count. Trying times, jaded mind, the white canvas, blank lines my bunker underneath this mess. A scream of plea, a cry for help, created a world to keep me safe.
By now you’ve probably seen tons of photos, articles and blog post that are all related to this pandemic. What can we do? This has been monumental for everyone of us – like it or not, we’re all affected by the rapid spread of this virus and it is such a game changer. We were all forced to take a pause from our daily routine, our sense of normalcy disrupted and have since been adapting to our new normal. But as social beings stuck in this world of capitalism, we still found ways to create new fads.
It started when Dalgona coffee took the internet by storm. This easy to make beverage is everywhere on the first few weeks of quarantine – you name it, it’s all over your face each day. The fact that it is easy to make, its ingredients readily available (for a fair price too), highly aesthetic and actually tastes good got the most of us whipping our hearts out. Then came the basque burnt cheesecakes and other pastries. By now, some of your friends have probably opened their own homemade bakeshops that you’ve already tried (#supportlocal). And let’s not forget the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons that everyone (including the celebrities we follow. Hi Elijah Wood and Brie Larson ♥) jumped on the hype train and went gaga over the deserted island life simulation game that even Nintendo was surprised by the sales not just of the game, but the consoles too. But I think, one of the most common guilty pleasure we all share right now is online shopping. It’s convenient, it’s hassle-free, and yes, it’s plain old “retail therapy”.
Again, what can we do? We all have our own coping mechanisms and online shopping can boost our mood or at least gets us something to look forward to. Careful though, it’s a slippery slope to going broke. I myself am a culprit of spending some hard earned cash during this pandemic period to help me get by and let me share with you some of the stuff I loved:
Animal Crossing: New Horizons I am guilty of being completely crazy over this game for the first two months since its release. I was playing (more like grinding) this simulation like game which helped me escape from the clutches of reality during the first few weeks of the quarantine. Check out my thoughts on this game here.
Kindle Paperwhite Late last year, I broke my Kobo (another ebook reader) and has been meaning to replace it ever since but only got around to it during this quarantine period when I stayed with my grandmother. All my books were at home and it also didn’t help that I slept in the same room as to keep tabs on her and therefore could not continue with my late night reading. For those reasons and the sale on Lazada (the leading online shopping platform in Southeast Asia) got me eye-ing this new version of the Paperwhite, I haven’t been disappointed by this since I was able to get my hands on it!
UVC Sterilizer Even before the virus outbreak, I already have a small bottle of alcohol with me inside my purse or my pocket. I bring it with me when stepping out for lunch or while drinking with friends. When traveling, I see to it that I buy some sanitary wipes and alcohol on the first or nearest convenience store that I could find. So when this pandemic hit the Philippines, I was one of those people who are a bit more careful – spraying alcohol everywhere, getting my hands clean all the time, wearing mask even inside the car, and now, carrying with me a UVC sterilizer too. I just had to up my disinfection game! The efficacy of this product is debatable especially when dealing with the corona virus, but I did my research on the dos and don’ts, and also looked for a reputable brand that I believe in.
Aside from these three and the local food businesses that I support, the best purchase during this period is actually this: yes, this blog. engrvwrites.com. I was a bit hesitant at first because this is my hard earned money that I’d be spending to fund this little passion project of mine but then I realized that if I’m not gonna believe that I’m worth it, then probably nobody else will. I took a bet on myself, and it has not been the same since then.
How about you? What are your favorite purchases this quarantine period? 🙂
How are you feeling today? What is the root of that emotion?
1 Page At A Time by Adam J. Kurtz
It’s the 125th day of the quarantine here in the Philippines. Since last March, I’ve been working from home and about two weeks ago it was announced that as a part of our organization’s business continuity plan, we’ll continue with this work from home arrangement until the end of the year. It gave me a sense of relief given that I won’t have to face the risk of going outside to carry on with my job unlike most Filipinos struggling in this situation.
Had someone told me that I’ll be working from home six months ago, I probably would have entertained that news with glee. But now, being holed up in in my room for more than four months, I feel the psychological impact of this set-up, and it doesn’t help with the burnout that’s been looming over me for quite some time now. You might be reading this and feeling the same way or maybe just stumbled upon this post without having been affected by this global pandemic, anyway, let me share with you a little tip I got from a self-help book: your feelings are valid, and when you get to the bottom of it, it gets easier to ride the wave.
To answer the question above, I’m actually feeling frustrated right now – I always look forward to the weekend, especially when the work from home arrangement started that when Sunday afternoon hits, I end up feeling well, yeah, frustrated. How come I haven’t made the most of my free time and WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE MONDAY AGAIN?!
I sat down, grabbed my trusty notebook and the nearest pen I could get my hands on. As I scribble down my feelings, I realized that this strong negative emotion stems from the work related problems that I’ll be forced to face again tomorrow. It takes me back to the responsibilities that I am obliged to do, and the tedious tasks that I have to repeatedly do for another five days. If I’m honest with myself, hell, I may be feeling this way because of my fear of failure and that I still might not be able to provide the solutions that I’m responsible to come up with. It’s not about my weekend activities or lack thereof, because in reality, I was able to spend time with my family, watch the 2020 Hungarian Grand Prix and even the qualifying, play console games for a few hours and even see an anime film for the first time. In the end, it’s about this hard truth: my frustration stemmed from my fears.
Knowing and understanding this makes a great impact, because now I can address my feelings better and accept that there are things that I have no control of, and those that I do have, I can start working on. Instead of feeling miserable for the rest of the night, I now have the choice to refocus my thoughts on solving my problems or pushing them at bay to deal with tomorrow to take the rest of the night off peacefully reading blog posts and news.
Did you do it? Even for just like 5 seconds, maybe? You did? Nice! You didn’t? Well, I probably wouldn’t have either. But you might want to slow down for a bit and read my two cents on it.
Why am I, a stranger, being such a pushover and asking you to close your eyes or maybe take some deep breaths? Because we all we have to. At least once in a while. Living in this day and age, amidst a pandemic, in an economic dip, being bombarded with news filled of abuse, hatred, and hopelessness, things can be pretty upsetting and overwhelming. And yet, even in this “new normal” while we’re still being forced to live in quarantine life for everybody’s safety (including our own, please wear your mask), we are being expected to push ourselves to our limits for the sake of our jobs, finances, stability, hell even the comeback of the economy.
We’ve been programmed to measure our “worth” in our productivity. However, more often than not, this so called productivity is being wrongly measured as simply the amount of time you’ve worked. Which then leads people to think that in order to be productive, you have to work your ass off as much as you possibly can. This I believe has created a generation of young adults so desperate to prove their worth in this big world and has ended up with so much cases of burnout that it has now become a household term.
Burnout can come at you no matter how far you’ve risen in the ladder, how many medals you got, and how many times you’re revolved around the sun. It has gotten to me so bad. So bad that I considered quitting my job without the prospect of another opportunity, so bad that I found myself crying at 3 in the afternoon feeling miserable and unaccomplished despite of everything I’ve achieved thus far (engineering school ain’t for the weak, the board exam rattles most, getting promoted).
I am not immune to this. I simply don’t know where it all went wrong – I have a stable relationship, a career, hell even a title I don’t ever use (except for this site obviously), and yet I feel trapped in a perpetual state of exhaustion. With my fear of failure and love for challenges, I always strive to come through and do all that has been tasked to me without considering my work-life balance and in total disregard of my time. I do all that I can to meet deadlines, and deliver what has been asked of me, not even pausing to ask myself if I want to do it and why. AND THIS, THIS IS THE REASON WHY I STARTED WRITING AGAIN.
It feels like I hit rock bottom and you know what they say, there’s nowhere to go but up. But damn do they made it sound so easy. In reality, this has forced me to read on self-help books I used to shy away from. Instead of staring blankly at my laptop thinking that I’m working, I tap into resources that poses information that could possibly do me good. It also forced me to think about how I overcome all the hurdles I had to pass and how I’ve succeeded. I was forced to look back and go after my passion – what drives me to live and not just exist.
It forced me to take a break. I cannot stress how important it has been to me and this journey to getting myself back up on my feet. I know I am not there yet and I’m in no position to instruct somebody, but if anything and it helps, do not forget to let yourself get some rest.
Take a break.
Close your eyes. There is nothing to see here. That’s the point.
Let me be honest and straightforward – I am not fan of peanut butter and I totally have no idea why I created this afternoon snack. I just decided to slice up some ripe bananas and oh so generously cover my bread with a hefty amount of peanut butter and shove it inside the oven toaster – I know, in the state of the world right now, mindless snacking should be the least of my concerns.
After five minutes, the timer ran out and ceremoniously “ting-ed”. The result is a bit oily, a bit soggy, a bit crunchy peanut butter banana toast. It definitely isn’t the best I’ve had but honestly, it’s pretty decent and I don’t hate it all. What I hate is this uneasy feeling of burnout that looms over me. It keeps me feeling tired and spent – as early as I open my eyes before my alarm starts at 8:01, and even as I gobble down this greasy peanut butter banana toast. It’s the feeling of being lost and sad, and everything in between its deep dark void. That’s what I hate.
But even in this state, I know better, or at least I think I do. So I try, and I fight. I live to see another day battling all these uncertainties. Because I am a jedi equipped with my lightsaber (gifts) and the unlimited Force, even if all I get to save is my own little world. It’s not heroic, and I may not bring balance to the galaxy as it so needs right now but these everyday fights are not as easy as getting myself some peanut butter banana toast. And yet, trying to get myself back up again and maybe helping somebody on my way sure is worth trying.
I hope you find the perfect peanut butter banana toast you’re looking for.