'As A Fresh Grad, My Dreams Were Put On Hold And IDK How To Feel'
The year is 2020 and there’s now a meme for every feeling you can’t describe through words. Like this new one that perfectly captures what our 2020 plans look like. If you haven’t watched Parasite yet, this one might be a total spoiler. We’ll let you figure out what it means.
It’s a pretty recent meme but it’s already spreading in various versions, depending on which corner of the pop culture universe you associate yourself with. The year is 2020, we’re in the midst of pandemic, and our life goals have literally been thrown out the window. Fresh grads didn't get the ceremonies they deserve and they're entering an unstable workforce. Things don't seem to be looking good.
You might feel slightly discouraged.
Just when you were finally getting your life together or mustering up the courage to put yourself out there, you end up spending a good amount of time cooped up in your homes, because it’s unwise to literally go out there. Classes are being reconfigured to operate online. Graduation rites—the culmination of sleepless study nights with matching iyak sessions sa banyo—are not happening, at least not the way tradition dictates. Nothing is normal anymore and it might feel a little demoralizing.
You might feel bad for feeling bad.
It’s completely logical to worry about your derailed plans, but sometimes, you can’t help but think that there are much more urgent and graver concerns to worry about, like real people’s lives being put at stake every day because of the pandemic. Maybe you’re feeling a hint of guilt for how vastly different your problems are from the rest of the world, or at least those around you. But hey, this doesn’t mean your personal concerns about your goals are rendered invalid. These emotions don't immediately go away on their own, so you will have to allow yourself to process them in order to reassess your plans moving forward. We may primarily be facing a fatal disease, but recent events prove that this pandemic is not just a health crisis.
You might feel a little displaced.
No one can say for sure when or if things will go back to “normal,” but this feeling of uncertainty shouldn’t stop you from finding meaning in your life. In an article on Psychology Today, Steven C. Hayes, PhD mentions the five hurdles of staying home due to the pandemic and one of the challenges stated was that of finding meaning. Now that our routines have been shattered and our dreams have been put on hold, what defines us now? The author suggests finding alternative ways to fulfill our passions and redefining what’s truly meaningful for us.
Our goals aren’t just things to check off a list. There’s a motivation behind each of them, and looking for an alternate way to fulfill those motivations from things we can do at home might help. We set career goals because we yearn for a sense of success, but maybe we can still achieve that desire for accomplishment through fundraisers or online charity drives.
It might feel like there’s no more room to dream or chase after goals, but that’s not entirely true. You can still work your way towards your goals or set new ones little by little, day by day.
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If you know me, and know me well, I am not the biggest fan of idyllic lifestyles. With a Type A personality, I act immediately upon whatever challenge that needs to be addressed. I actually enjoy keeping my mind preoccupied: doing university work in my favourite cafe then running errands around town, grocery shopping here, updating my accounts there, photocopying documents on the way down the street - all just in time before having a glass of champagne at the bar with my friends come evening.
And so, you could imagine my bewilderment when the next challenge to be faced was an extensive self-quarantine protocol. I didn’t know what to do when my greatest responsibility in this situation was to do nothing at all. My first few attempts to combat my consternation were very much rooted in distraction and imagination. My distractions involved conducting research, writing songs, calling family and friends, filming videos, and eating chocolate! My imaginations and fantasies were centred on travelling, shopping, even clubbing (which I rarely do) for when they find a cure to COVID-19. I did anything and everything that could be considered constructive in order to pass the time, mainly hoping I could just undertake the basic human necessities to survive - that is, eat and sleep the day through - until the next day comes, until the world is closer to becoming a better place, until quarantine ends, until my flight follows through, until I see my family and friends again.
Days in self-isolation and suspended flights turned to weeks and turned to months. By the third extension here in Spain where I study Fashion Business, I had to tell myself this shall be my new normal now, that I was blessed to be healthy, that I was tired of merely existing and missed what it was like to actually live - even if just within four walls. Little by little, I began to find significance in the simple occurrences of the day: the soft glare of the rising sun beaming golden streaks through my bedroom window upon waking up, the fragrance of freshly washed bed sheets that I had painstakingly hung to fit a relatively small clothes rack without crumpling them, the crunch and tanginess of warm toasted bread topped with raspberry marmalade, the buzzing sound of a phone call from home just waiting to be answered, to the caress of a fuzzy sweater to keep warm at night. I realised, “What pleasures to be enjoyed in the pause of slow living!” Through this continued pause, which I loathed at first, I began to appreciate each moment of the day rather than wish it would pass more swiftly, moments I had overlooked so often before the lockdown. I started to find that the challenge of self-isolation was never to pause both the regular routines of life as well as the positive emotions that came with these - as initially, I thought it meant to pause all happiness, so as to withstand a time of endurance in hopes for a better tomorrow, much like a form of delaying gratification. Life is just too fragile these days to delay gratification any further.
Life has paused, but it has not stopped. Believe that like any punctuation mark in a sentence, the pause will provide the right timing of things to take place. Till then, let us not waste our time waiting. Instead, we could be in the moment, seek substance in simplicity (that is, in what we already have), And enjoy the pleasure in pause. “Practice the Pause. When in doubt, pause. When angry, pause. When tired, pause. When stressed, pause. And when you pause, pray.”
Here's my two cents on the letter, call for help of our medical frontliners. Let’s hear what our healthcare workers have to say and try to understand it from their point of view, they have every right to criticize how this medical crisis is being handled by the government... after all, they're the experts on the topic. Though we see the frontliners as heroes in our eyes, the lack of concrete plans from the government to combat COVID-19 makes them feel otherwise. Healthcare workers are already starting to voice out how they feel as though they are being sacrificed as they follow through their sworn oath. We wouldn’t send our soldiers to war unarmed and without a concrete plan; the same should be expected for our frontliners. How can we send them to battle without proper gear? Why is there still a debate on whether mass testing is needed or not when the experts on that field continuously insist its importance in flattening the curve? Why is this still not the priority when it’s literally our lives on the line? It’s not like the medical experts demanding for mass testing are just stating their opinion about this mindlessly, they studied this laboriously. Make them feel heard so that all the sacrifices that they’re doing and all the deaths of their colleagues are not in vain. More than the words of praises, what our medical professionals truly need right now is TANGIBLE support. Here is to hoping they get that soon. @errren.22
*Minor edits have been made for clarity
Here is a photograph taken yesterday from the photo shoot I did in our house. ? I really love dressing up and being dolled up, it makes me feel great and confident of who I am ?
I was actually hesitant to post these pictures of mine. My sister eveb asked me to change my Facebook Profile Picture and it took me hours to decide if I should. But, I realized that this is me, the real me. I should be confident of my body and of who I really am.
At the end of the day, I dress up not for other people but for myself ? To all the ladies out there and even gentlemen who are taking a second to think if they should post their pictures, worried about what will others say their body, remember that we just need to be just ourselves. Be confident and let us support each other ? Let us be friends! IG: @romynaaaaaaa_
They say time heals all wounds, but it has been ages - is heartbreak exempted?
I have forgotten when was the last time we shared a smile - the last time when I saw the glow in your eyes and the last time when you whispered an I love you to me. I have forgotten when, but here I am - writing to you again.
I do not know if you will read this or you will just add this one to my proses and poems that you left unread, but you see, I am still hoping. I am mailing the pain of us to the gods out there - hoping they can take the pain away. I should have gotten over you, but instead of forgetting and accepting our ending, I am writing about us in tissue sheets, carving about us on trees, telling about us on the back of my journals, hoping that a thousand or a million write ups about us, can make me forget about what happened.
I am writing, waiting for the point where I can no longer write anymore, for I have none to tell - but when? I have nothing in me anymore, but the memories of us - and no matter how hard I try put those to its own grave, the memories grow back like lilies in the swamp - painful and beautiful at the same time.
No matter how hard I try to silence those and put it at the back of my mind, those ring back, playing like the favorite song we used to listen. They say heartbreaks turn into poetry and that is what happening to us - but poetry should be dulcet and dreamy, why does ours sound like pain and agony? They say time heals all wounds, but it has been ages - is heartbreak exempted? Darling, I guess not.