At the start of New Year 2021, I am grateful to 2020 in many ways.
With plenty of time in my hands, courtesy of this long and winding pandemic, I was able to:
Focus on family matters. All four of us are practically together 24/7. The two kids are working from home, so we get to see them all the time in various states, at rest, at work, at sleep, during gaming, while chatting.
Enjoy family meals together. Pre-pandemic, it was uncommon to have all four of us in one table for breakfast, lunch or dinner every day. The long, long lockdown has allowed us to chat and update one another more comfortably as we ate, thanks to their more relaxed schedules and Cecile’s all-around ways and expertise in the kitchen.
Discover little known skills. I am happiest that my daughter, Isabella, has honed her cooking. On New Year’s Eve, she surprised us with an apple pie that she made from scratch. Before that, she had been preparing for us Korean-style Samgyeopsal.
Thankful that our son, Jao, has been most helpful around the house, on top of being kind and generous. He cooks, washes dishes, vacuums floors, drives for us on errands. On a good evening, we can count on him for a little back massage as well. What else can we ask for?
Organize my files. I just realized that when jumbled up, the word files has life in it. These past many months have helped me put things, papers, books, documents—my life— in order. I have decluttered, simplified, cleared cabinets. I donated things I don’t anymore need or use, and it felt so good.
Get back to gardening. My mother said being June-born, I had a green thumb. Having grown up on a farm, I am familiar with planting and caring for plants. My front yard now has the look of a mini-forest, which is how I prefer my garden motif.
Write some more. I am grateful that my mornings are made fruitful by the fact that I can devote my time to writing. It has kept me busy, making me feel good that I am able to accomplish something every day. Guess what, I am writing a new book and contemplating another!
Walk some more. Since day one of this pandemic, I have taken it upon myself to do a bit of exercise to keep myself fit. I wake up early enough to pound the roads around my house. I put in a 40-minute easy walk, just right to catch sunlight vitamin D. I sweat it up, which to me is enough justification for a heavy breakfast. I realize that dressing up for my morning walk has given me the feeling that I’m not stranded in lockdown for good.
To provide for family. I use my morning walk to buy fruits and vegetables for home use. I am thankful that a corner section of our barangay has been opened to cariton vendors. We should buy from them instead of in supermarkets to help society’s poor.
To pray and pray. Finally, 2020 has made us more prayerful, more constant in our communication with God. I have retrieved my missing book, Prayers for Busy People, now resting on my working table. I read, or browse through it at every turn, when I’m down and troubled, or at a loss for words. Praying calms me, puts me back on track, more grateful than ever for having been blessed with a wonderful life, warts, pandemic, pandemonium, and all.
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