Navigating another year of a pandemic can be difficult, but realizations and hopeful messages can help pull us through.
Our lives have drastically changed since the pandemic and even months into the outbreak, we are still navigating through the changes. Beyond lessons and realizations, we are holding on to the hope we will get through this crisis. We talked to Millennials about their recent realizations, goals, and wishes for this year. As we navigate through another year amid the pandemic, the words of these young individuals can inspire our lives.
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Since the country was placed under a long lockdown, more Filipinos earned more time for themselves as they stayed indoors. PJ reflects on how it affected him, “It took most of my attention away from the outside world and redirected it into self-reflection. With all this time I had, I wanted to answer a simple question: how do I become a better person?”
With social distancing measures in place, it may seem impossible to reach out to people and better connect with them. This is what PJ initially thought, but after mulling over it, he realized he can find a way amid these limitations. “I realized love equals joy because they go hand in hand. So, in 2021, I recognized that I want to learn how to love myself more but also give love and appreciation to people and things, whether big or small, in life,” he shares.
Despite all the challenges and suffering, PJ remains hopeful, “I see a stronger sense of unity throughout the world… I believe we will succeed, prosper, and thrive even more once this is over. COVID-19 is a huge setback, but I see the world bouncing back.” As the pandemic exposed deep-seated social issues, PJ is glad more people have started to engage and raise awareness towards pressing matters. On social media alone, people, especially the youth, have been active in calling out for accountability and demanding responsibility. He shares seeing this empathy and participation will heighten after the pandemic.
“On the other hand, I also see more family-oriented people who balance time with themselves as well.” With limitations around, people learned to treasure their time with loved ones. PJ ends his reflection, “I see and hope for a collectively more uplifting society with better, moral people.”
Among the overarching realizations during the pandemic is treasuring what people have right now. Kyla echoes a similar sentiment, “I realized that one can be happy with so little and although the circle of people in our lives has grown smaller, it’s enough to make me happy.” The pandemic revealed what is essential in people’s lives, and how it is all about cherishing the people we love in these difficult times.
“I hope for humans to be kinder to each other and our environment,” Kyla says. The pandemic has impacted everyone in differing degrees, and so people are attempting to find their footing with all the difficult changes. “The refresh that was the lockdown has hopefully taught us to live in a more minimalist world where we give more importance to human experiences and sustainability rather than material things,” she concludes.
During the early days of the lockdown in the country, people had more time for themselves. Many took this period to focus on caring for their wellbeing and their loved ones. For Kerry, binge-watching and staying on social media for hours made her feel she wasn’t using her time wisely. Thus, she made a commitment to be more productive. “Towards the end of last year, I was barely looking at social media, except to communicate with friends, and I plan to keep that up. I am also focusing on expanding and expounding on my interests, as well as on becoming a better informed and more knowledgeable person beyond just the headlines by reading more non-fiction literature,” she elaborates. Yet she doesn’t forget to indulge on shows that bring her happiness—currently, she is deep into Netflix’s Bling Empire.
“I hope for greater government transparency and accountability, particularly in the Philippines,” Kerry says, pointing out what she wants to change amid the pandemic. She talks about the cracks in the system that have always been present but the pandemic further exposed. “From the anomalies and controversies regarding PhilHealth to the [Department of Health’s] delay in procuring vaccines,” more pressing issues are surfacing.
Thus, Kerry expresses disappointment with how leaders are handling these, “Meanwhile, some demagogic public officials still tend to focus on party politics over actual governance to address the pandemic, and the Filipino continues to suffer,” she observes. There is much to change in the present system but for now, as Kerry and many other young people are doing, being vocal about social issues is a good start.
As the lockdowns and travel bans persist, people learned to value their overall wellbeing. Looking out for one’s health is no longer limited to diet and physical fitness, but to mental wellness as well. Such a realization came upon Vin last year. Thus, he shares, “I want to exercise being more kind to myself and to prioritize my mental health as much as I prioritize my physical well-being.”
What he hopes for the world to change amid the pandemic is for people to have empathy. “Not everyone has the same privilege we experience,” Vin says, “So we should be more sensitive and think about what we say before we speak.”