In a non-Covid world, I would be squeezing on the MRT as I make my way to the CBD during peak hour – like many office workers caught in the daily grind.
In a non-Covid world, I would be packing my luggage and eagerly anticipating our two-week holiday my husband and I have planned at the end of April.
In a non-Covid world, my husband and I would be so deluged by appointments that we would be struggling to find time to visit family (the new circuit-breaker law takes that choice away from us).
Who could imagine that the world we are living in today would be so different?
We are in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. The numbers of people infected and dying from Covid-19 worldwide continue to jump by the thousands every day.
Covid-19 has left an indelible mark on our lives whether you are a struggling business owner, an exhausted healthcare worker or a parent juggling work and kids at home.
In this unprecedented time, how can we find normalcy amidst these drastic changes? How can we make sense of all that is happening around us?
As I sit on my sofa watching day turn to night outside my window, I realise I don’t have the answers.
But perhaps, changing the lens through which we see the world can help us to appreciate life’s simple pleasures and find the silver lining amidst the dark clouds of Covid-19.
Since the Government advised us to avoid meeting extended family and friends (before the circuit breaker was implemented on 7 Apr), I have been spending more time with immediate family, taking them out for meals when possible.
This period has also given me the opportunity to show concern to my family, especially my mother – with simple acts like offering to buy groceries so she doesn’t have to battle crowds in supermarkets or video calling her to find out how she is doing (and secretly checking if she is staying home as agreed!).
Likewise, my mother had been supplying us with Vitamin C supplements, as well as easy-to-prepare foods, knowing we are not avid cooks. She had also been preparing my favourite home-cooked dishes which I greatly miss now that we can’t meet.
My husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary on the second day of the circuit breaker. While we could not dine out, we enjoyed a quiet dinner at home. It was no different from any other day, but I thought, shouldn’t marriage be celebrated every day instead of just one special day in the year?
Shouldn’t we also be thankful for having family to go through this trying time together, even though being stuck at home with them can be frustrating at times?
The closure of entertainment venues and other indoor attractions motivated me to visit Singapore’s parks and green spaces during the weekends. It has brought me closer to nature and given me a revived appreciation for the outdoors.
I have to admit, I was sorely disappointed when I found out that our overseas trip was cancelled. So, with no idea when travel can resume, and to satisfy my wanderlust, I started searching for places to explore on our own sunny island.
In the past month, we have walked along lalang fields in Jurong Lake Gardens, saw long-tailed macaques hiking up MacRitchie TreeTop Walk and got bitten by mosquitos in Chestnut Nature Park.
Though I found it physically challenging, I enjoyed taking in the sights and sounds of nature that I never appreciated as much before. The exercise also helped keep my mind and body active, a refreshing change from being cooped up at home.
Through these encounters, I realised you don’t need to board a plane to look for fun elsewhere. It is possible to find adventure right in the ordinary.
While I don’t mean to make light of those around the world affected by Covid-19, I have come to cherish the quiet and rest that this period has given me.
In today’s fast-paced society, with competing priorities and multiple commitments, we often do not have time for ourselves.
Take this time to recharge. Use this time for self-discovery and self-improvement to stay motivated and healthy.
Do something you’ve always wanted to do but have been putting off. Read a book. Start a new hobby. Try a new recipe. Look for pockets of joy in little, everyday things.
Most importantly, as I reflect on Covid-19 (yes, still sitting on the same sofa looking out the same window), things start to shift into perspective.
I am blessed with the privilege of working from home and privilege to practise safe distancing. I am thankful to be in a position of giving. By realigning my priorities, I can spend more time and energy on things that matter.
We may not be able to change our external circumstances, but we can change the way we view the situation and make the best of it.
Remember that this, too, shall pass.
When Covid-19 is over, I hope that we can look back and remember it not as “that time we all worked from home” or “that time we didn’t need to go to school”, but as a time characterised by quiet resilience, hopeful optimism, and a gentle appreciation of the people and world around us.