Understanding Uncertainty Through The Toughest of Times: A Year-End Review

Finally, we're on the final stretch of a crazy year! How things going on so far? 

If I would coin a phrase to describe this year in my journal memento, it would be "A year of living in a masked world". It's just fitting. Apart from the constant fear of catching COVID-19, I wore facemask everyday since January like it's the new-age accessory of survival.

The past nine months really tested our strength, mental toughness, faith and endurance. It was a tough ride of life. An uphill climb.

It's as though nothing happened in the year in terms of personal goals. As if we just went to bed in March then woke up one day to realize it's December. Like we gone to sleep for the longest period and woke up in a different time.

I would not say, time just went by in a snap. It really did not. It was the longest sluggishness. For I felt every ticking of the clock, every passing moment, every pain of the world. 

It's indeed a tough year of experiencing discomfort in breathing. But I don't have to complain. If my angst is just about difficulty in breathing for wearing both facemask and face shield each time I step outside, just imagine the heart-wrenching ordeal people with COVID-19 have to endure for not being able to breath comfortably because they are intubated.

Thus, 2020 is a year we have learned so many things about humanity, about living in extreme hardships and severe illnesses, about understanding discomfort and appreciating sacrifices because suddenly our survival hangs by a thread. 

The wisdom of our time

I remember the memorable dialogue between Gandalf and Frodo in the Lord of the Ring: 

Frodo: "I wish none of this happened in my lifetime".

Grandalf: "So do all who lived to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time given to us"

Yes, we don't know how much time we have left. We might never have enough. This year we have faced death as though it's the closest thing to war.

We might have wished this event, this pandemic should not have happened in our lifetime. We might have wished we have not experienced this hardship, this discomfort, this feeling of being trapped, and all the inconveniences of this year.

But according to the wisdom of J.R.R Tolkien, even the past generation in the time of World Wars, Great Depression and famine, did not wish they were born in those eras and experienced such terrible fate.

But it happened. Because things are bound to happen no matter how much we would try to avoid it. So this year of discomfort and uncertainties are meant to happen in our time.

It's not our job to wish it did not happen. Our action plan is decide what to do with the time given to us right now. This chance to live again. This opportunity of surviving the disease when many had perished.

What are we going to do with the time left? Let's view this pandemic as the wisdom of our time. The tickler of this generation to ponder on the chance given. We should not squander this opportunity to experience the wonders of life again.

The year we have took lightly

I have not expected the year 2020 to be a period where the world would be brought down to its knees.. I remember being so hopeful at the beginning of the year. 

I thought this would be the year I would accomplish incredible things in my bucketlist. Japan and South Korea travels, beach adventures here and there, solo trip somewhere.

But all of it crashed when the pandemic shut off the world, killing all hopes for a free-life in 2020. Travel industry being the first casualty.

By April, the pandemic nailed us deeper into the pit of uncertainty, but it was my birth month and I want to celebrate it like any normal days because I rarely celebrate my birthday. I am not really the type to mark it elaborately. 

So this year I thought it should be celebrated memorably because it's pandemic and reaching another year is such an enormous blessing. 

Birthday in the time of pandemic

Days rolled into weeks. Until the feeling of home isolation gradually becoming more wearisome as Metro Manila was placed in ECQ, like, forever. 

The thought of not being able to get back to work and other worries began to fog in my brain. It sucks. I was just saved by my positive disposition, my writings, and our cats, for being so forlorn and morose.

In those months of home quarantine, I kept on holding on, I kept on believing that someday, things will change and I will see a better, vibrant world again.

I poured my attention to writing and blogging and experimenting recipes to get rid of boredom and misery. I just kept thinking that somewhere in this world, someone is struggling hard and fighting for life to survive.

My misery is nothing compared to their struggle.

The year of quitting job dangerously

On a personal level, it was a bad timing of transition. I could only hope I was born in another time, in another circumstance, in another era where making terrible decisions would not coincide with the greatest global health crisis that halted mobility.

When the lockdown began in March, I quit my job in BPO to transition to school, confident the virus that originated in China would be abated in a short period of time and would not spread across the globe like a wild fire.

But the world plunged deeper into the pandemic at spring time and the Philippines implemented a stricter rule in lockdown. Work has stopped to some. 

Apart from the travel and food industries, schools were the most affected. Classes were conducted online and offices had skeletal workforce reporting only. 

 I left in the abyss of uncertainty. The school's HR could not provide me with an accurate timeframe when new hires will be advised to report to work. I was told to wait until further notice in a month.

Oh God! πŸ™„

The waiting period felt like forever. The prognosis of my employment sounded like the anxiety felt by the world in chaos. Dark and cold.

By July, as uncertainty looms in my stranded job, I decided to look for another work, because for heaven's sake, I need to survive. I need to feed myself. I cannot just wait for eternity when to get notified while the world is bleeding in stress and unemployment.

Luckily, I got accepted in a Makati-based office. 

I struggled a bit in terms of commuting everyday. The situation of transportation in Metro Manila has not yet back to normal and traveling back and forth everyday was a chaotic ordeal. And there's  a constant threat of catching the virus. 

Add to my misery is the long walk I had to endure everyday since bus trips are not yet fully operational. But I just keep reminding myself that I am lucky to have a job in the time of pandemic. 

That's enough to be grateful.

But there's no such thing as a perfect workplace. We always find flaw in everything no matter how we assured ourselves that next job will be the last.

The adventure continues. 

For life is an adventure itself. It is a journey, it is a quest. Stopping from where we are means stopping from living, refusing from welcoming change and great possibilities and giving up on our dreams and aspirations.

By December, things are fogging in my brain as I am confronted again with making crucial decisions.

The period of fear and anxiety

The year 2020 has given us so much more than we could bear. So difficult the past months felt like a walk through a scaffold of death and we're tiptoeing never to stumble on the pit. 

The pandemic pushed us to the edge of our limits, we have been tossed and flipped and turned, like riding a shaky boat in the stormy seas, we have to constantly grip at the rudder to find balance against the rolling of the angry waves. 

But with careful maneuvering and resilience, we have reached the harbor, safe and sound. It's just that the ordeal traumatized us and stripped some of our vigor. 

However, despite this difficult time, not even once I ever felt depressed. Sad and anxious, yes, but never depressed with the circumstances. In fact, during lockdown I was in my most calmest most of the day. 

Full of Optimism 

I guess it's all about emotional maturity. It's all about optimism and sunny disposition. I am lucky that this most difficult moment of our generation came at a time when I am already at the peak of my maturity in adulthood.

I have processed my insecurities and figured out why things need to happen the way we never expected, and why I should not fret too much on the things out of my control. 

I would feel sad but never broke. I should not cry over things that already slipped away. if there was anything about sadness, it's a circumstance where I missed reassessing the possibility of failing. But it's okay, I can easily pick up myself and getting on with life again.

I've long been unloaded the baggage of insecurities I used to carry heavily since I was a child. I realized it would not take me anywhere. I learned to accept my flaws and recognized my individuality that this is me and the society cannot force me to live a life they expected from me.

This newfound confidence, emotional stability and sense of optimism helped me get through the toughest of times during this difficult period of the pandemic.

I still have not reached the point of self-actualization but I understand the concept of self-belongingness. I know what I want and where I should drag my feet to highlight my value.

I can now balance my perception. My views towards everything already undergone a massive makeover and I am now less confrontational with a slight mishap. 

I just realized that contentment lies on a balanced judgment, calm demeanor and accomplishment of small things, recognizing that life is a work-in-progress, things might not run the way we have always planned. 

I can now understand why things need to happen. Why there's misery. Why there's failures. And all the negative patterns of emotions. I stopped dwelling too much on negativity and things beyond my control.

Surviving the toughest of times means clinging into dear life but we must remember that survival relies on one's ability to overcome adversities.

Dealing with Uncertainty

One thing I have learned during this difficult time is the art of dealing with uncertainties and facing the unknown.

Much about life is uncertain at the moment. 

Uncertainty is all around us. It's all too present in our life and society even without the pandemic. The current global health crisis only intensified its effect on us.

People have different coping mechanism over a personal crisis. Some can tolerate an overwhelming personal struggle while others easily yield to its pressure. We differ on how much pressure we can only tolerate and endure.

I've realized that worry over uncertainties stem from the fact that people always need an assurance and sense of purpose. 

Uncertainty means everything in our environment seems directionless and vague. Economy, job, income, relationships. It sabotages our plans, our sense of optimism, our sense of direction, that's why we become disillusioned, we become disappointed.

Disappointment comes from the fact that we've been offered by a reality that contradicted our expectations.

Piling on top of it are so many fogging thoughts and unfortunate circumstances - scare of catching the virus, loss of loved ones, feeling of abandonment, confusion, and the bleak prognosis of the future due to pandemic restrictions.

These circumstances if not well deciphered by our mental sense and emotional maturity can wreck havoc in our perception towards life which often resulted to depression, add to that are the unprocessed insecurities that clouded in our system. 

During this toughest of time getting sad and depressed is all too common because we are not in a normal environment. Our mobility is controlled by outside forces, our brain seems not yet fully prepared to handle these inconveniences and pressures. 

Humans are naturally-born social creatures and being trapped at home, or not being free to go anywhere, is a strange thing that pushed us to the edge of melancholy and disillusionment.

So when we come to encounter this level of uncertainties, we easily feel threatened and worried. 

Questions like what happen to me in the long run, how can I ever survive if the situation continues to be like this, or if things can ever go back to normal, began to flow in our already tired brain. 

Uncertainty, therefore, is a threat to the concept of stability and success, it sounds like a catalyst to defeat, failures and downfall. And because we abhor everything of it, we easily yield to sadness and feeling lost.  

This is because our mindset and emotional sense are not designed to fully understand and accept uncertainties, so we easily give in to pressure when we are confronted by it. 

The time of pandemic is where all negativity in life looms, including uncertainty, which gave us so much anxiety and mental stress. 

It is through this sense that I have realized I should never be felt threatened with uncertainties. As long as my purpose is clear and my goals are in the right track and well-defined, I have nothing to fear.

A year of self-realization

This year truly provided me with a different sense of maturity and a sense of clarity, what I really want and where I am heading in life. A realization that gives me a sense of purpose and inspiration, more than fear of uncertainties.

The pandemic helped me realized so many things about me. I figured, before I could ever understand my environment, I should first understand myself - who am I, what's my purpose, what I want, why I am easily hurt, in what way I should be happy. 

This difficult period really helped me developed my mental toughness, my resilience, and wisdom how to survive through the toughest of times. After processing everything about my inner-self, getting rid of the fear of uncertainties, I can now understand the world around me.

I acknowledged the fact that elsewhere, everyone is struggling, everyone is on the brink of losing hope, everyone is suffering. The world is in so much pain.

Not only that the coronavirus devastated more than half of the globe, natural calamities also hammered every corner of the earth not to mention hunger, war and the effect of climate change.

Such a perilous age of survival for human kind. I can only pray for a better world moving forward. And peace, love, unity for all nations.

I learned a lot from this year's dark ordeal. I learned to value the people dearest to me, my parents and family. I learned to appreciate my health, my sound mind and my limits. 

I also discovered I have a strong disposition when confronted with crisis because not even once I ever yield to pressure in the past nine months, even during uncertain period of my employment. I felt anxious at times but I have not cried for despair.

Happy times of the year

However, the year 2020 is not at all about troubles, chaos and virus. There were happier times on a personal level. I am happy with these small achievements I have accomplished in the time of pandemic.

I have launched a successful royal website in June. The Royal World News. It has been the source of my inspiration in writing, my hangout during vacant days, and my source of pride. I am thankful to all readers around the world who appreciated my writing works.

Christmas eve with furry friends

I have met several great people. I am grateful my parents and siblings are in excellent health condition, and that's enough to be truly thankful this year. I felt blessed that way.

On the world stage, I am happy to know vaccines for COVID-19 are already out, and finally rolled out before the year ends, such a good news to humanity because finally we can hope for a better world again.

In this period of fear and anxiety, to lessen the dagger of uncertainty bleeding us, it's important to just look on the brighter side of life and count the things we have, rather than grieve over things we do not have nor fret on things beyond our control.

Here's to a wonderful New Year and a brighter 2021! My wish goes to the world to endure and surpass this biggest threat of our generation. I can only hope for the best, better world for 2021. Cheers!πŸΎπŸŽ‰

Offering prayers also to those who didn't make it today, may the light of the Lord be upon them and grant them eternal rest. And those who are struggling somewhere, either through hardships in life or disease, may God heal them. πŸ™ 

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