A new avenue of work.

The virus that hit the world brought so much sadness and misfortune to a majority of the people affected by it. But there are those who found their calling and hit the jackpot in this pandemic we are all in. One of those people is studioa friend of mine. She lost her job middle of last year. She was devastated when the company she was working for the past couple of years closed shop. Bankruptcy. She immediately looked for a new job but since a lot of people lost their jobs, too, competition was really stiff. After a month of job hunting, she was forced to accept the fact that a new source of income was needed.

She started baking cakes for birthdays. Cupcakes and pastries, too. She, also, started an arts and crafts studio, heated floors for winter, where she wraps gifts beautifully for others. It was the start of her online shop which now includes seasonal decors as well as distressed tables and chairs. She recently joined Etsy where she sells majority of her products and services. Income is not as steady as when she has a nine to five job but it’s more than enough to cover her bills and then some.

More than a decade ago, I found myself in a dilemma. I wanted to concentrate on my online work but I was afraid of letting go of my job. I was earning so much online but I think being an employee, earning every 15th and end of the month, is easier than to risk it and focus on going freelance. It took me a year before I finally decided to go freelance and concentrate on online work. It was scary in the beginning but when income started pouring in steadily, I gained confidence in my decision. I stayed freelance for about a decade before I decided to go back to the corporate world.

I think that each of us has this survival instinct embedded in our psyche. When we are thrust into a difficult situation our instincts will naturally kick in. We find ways in order to survive just like what happened to my friend. Especially if there are love ones who rely on us, we’d be quicker to find a new avenue of work in order to replace the one that we lost.

In my case, when I felt that online work was not giving me the same amount of income as when I started, I slowly disengaged from it. I picked up where I left off in my corporate life and, luckily for me, it was not as hard as I thought it would be.

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On mental health and fun times at home.

This pandemic is taking a toll on our mental health. You may not notice it because you may be working the same number of hours, doing household chores like before. The restlessness, the feeling of being stuck in a rut, the cabin fever… it’s all there and we’re pushing it to the side so we don’t deal with it right now. But what we don’t know is that those negative emotions are attacking us from the inside. We don’t want to find ourselves struggling mentally, emotionally, psychologically, in the brink of a breakdown. Right?

We can take care of our mental health through simple activities. Did you know that a simple competitive game at home, enjoyed by members of the family, can have a huge impact on our mental well-being? Physical or virtual ones, it doesn’t really matter as long as we are playing with family members. And as long as we are enjoying ourselves! It will lessen anxiety and stress. And I am speaking from experience here.

Let me share here two games that we play at home: one game is for the older ones while the other is for kids and the not-so-young at hearts.

Solitaire

Solitaire

Obviously, this card game is for the older ones in the family. Solitaire. I believe most of us know what this game is. Right? You can choose to use physical cards or, like us at home, we love playing online. Seven cards will be dealt to you and from there you will complete the line up of each type of cards in a deck, regardless of color. All four suits (clubs, hearts, spades, diamonds) should be lined up in one column from King to 2. Aces should be lined up on top of the tableau where each card type will go from 2 to King this time.

It’s fairly easy to play, believe me. It’s actually a no-brainer considering all you will do is line up the cards and deal. If you really just want to pass the time, relaxing, just having fun, this Solitaire card game is for you. Take turns playing it. What my sisters and I do when we play is that we take turns, listing down scores of each one. We do three rounds. Whoever scores the highest is the winner. The loser always have to do a household chore that nobody wants to do.

I should warn you, though, that Solitaire is so much fun to play that it is addictive! I can play this all day long all by myself. And it is what I usually do when I don’t feel like tackling any chore or work task.

Another fun game that I want to learn is mahjong. The older members of the family, uncles and aunts, are experts on this game. I’d like to learn, too, so I can play with them.

at-homeAside from online games, another fun activity that you can do with the family at home, with or without any occasion, is videoke singing. Yes, the one where you will get a score in the end. We do this with the kids because they also know some songs and they are so happy when they beat the older ones.

Our mental well-being is very important. I speak from experience because I had a recent bout with depression. It really affected my over-all health. This pandemic is taking a toll on all of us, young and old, and we need to be able to find something, a tool, in order to fight the side effects of this situation we are all in.

Whatever makes you happy these days, take advantage of it!

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In tip-top shape

car-breakdownOne of the things that my father taught us was to always make sure our vehicles are in tip-top shape. Make sure it is functioning properly. The battery is good, parts are in good condition, the car itself is clean and ready to go when needed. Of there are services like Best Buy Auto Equipment‘s 2 post car lifts but my father believed that learning the basic in troubleshooting is best. What happens if you are in the middle of nowhere, your car broke down, and you can’t call for help?

In these times, it is always best to have a service like two post car lifts on standby. A car has become a necessity nowadays. Have you noticed that? I remember last year when this pandemic broke out and there was a nationwide lockdown by the government, people without cars found themselves struggling in commuting to different locations. We are lucky because we have two vehicles on standby. I remember seeing posts in social media asking for available car pool services. That was a tough time for everyone, I guess.

It’s a good thing that car companies have lowered the down payments and monthly amortizations to their offered vehicles. You can get basic sedans for even zero down payment now. My brother used to be a marketing professional in a leading automotive brand so I am updated on car offers.

Truth is that I can’t wait for this pandemic to be over. I already saved up to get our SUV tuned up. I have more than enough to pay for an auto lift. I will get it checked thoroughly. I will make sure that I will utilize that two post car lift and when I am sure that our SUV is in good shape, I will gather my siblings and nephews for a roadtrip!

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Those picture-perfect smiles!

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Growing up, it was a struggle to get all of us medical and dental treatments. Six kids, my Dad the only one working while my Mom stayed at home to take care of us all. It was always a tight budget, making ends meet, always prioritizing basic needs like food, clothing, education, shelter more than others. We made do with what we had, all of us kids. We did not complain, we were always grateful for whatever our parents could provide for us coming from their meager income.

We were happy. Dad, Mom, us kids. We grew up smiling a lot despite the hardships. We learned to smile amidst the difficulties. Our parents loved us the best way they knew how and it was more than enough for us.

One of the things that we took care of right away when life became a bit easy for the family was our dental health. It was taken for granted over more important needs like food and education so dental health took a back seat for the whole family. Yes, we went to the dentist when needed like for tooth extraction and cleaning but regular check-ups were close to none. When we started working, my siblings and I made sure that regular dental check-ups became a thing for our family. We all want those picture-perfect smiles, of course!

My siblings wore braces even when they were older. And it’s okay, I believe. As long as the dentist said that it was still applicable for them, I told them to go ahead and get it done. As for me, I want one of those secret smile aligners! I did not get braces because I felt it was too much of a hassle but these secret smile aligners are something that I consider getting as it is invisible and less of a hassle for people like me who loves to talk all the time. It is virtually invisible! It can even be worn while working and sleeping. Again, something very much to my liking.

Nowadays, we make sure that our two little ones at home, my nephews, know how important oral health is. I am regularly reminding my brother and my sister-in-law to keep a fund for braces and regular dental visits. Oral health is a priority for all of us especially now that we can afford it.

I have earmarked an amount from my savings for a project at home. We have a big wall on our second floor that is bare and in need of some hangings. I decided to get some of our photos framed and I will use that wall to showcase our family’s picture-perfect silly smiles. Oh, memories!

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Settled before thirty.

He was raised by a single mom who had to juggle two to three jobs in order to make ends meet. He has a younger sister. It was, and still is, just the three of them in life. It was probably seeing the sacrifices that his mom made that drove him to really study hard in order to get a scholarship in college. He chose to become a teacher.

accomplishedHe graduated a year early. He took the board exams and passed it. He then began teaching in his alma mater while getting his masters. Then, his doctorate degree. He passed each one with flying colors. While getting all those degrees, teaching, and even writing school textbooks, he also worked on getting a house of his own. And he did, you know. He did plus he got a car which he used for Uber, part-time.

He did all that before he turned thirty years old. Wow. To say that I am envious and extremely proud of my cousin is an understatement!

When I was in my twenties, I was struggling to make ends meet. I was sending my siblings to school while trying to work my butt off paying off bills. My mom was sick that time and my dad was focused on her hospital bills and medication. I was minding my siblings, food on the table, household bills, and even the washer repair. My mind was close to exploding during that decade of my life. I am just so glad that I was able to make it. Looking back, I knew that I became stronger because of that decade. When I am being asked about dishwasher repair, I now answer with a smile and would even help finding one online. Whereas in my twenties, if you asked me about anything related to household stuff, I would give an earful. That’s for sure. I was that stressed out and I didn’t want to hear any problems or issues or worries related to home.

When I look at my cousin, my heart swells with pride. It was also my plan to become settled early on in life. I had grand plans for when I turned thirty. Financially stable, with a good job, but also with a back-up business for a side hustle. But all that went down the drain when, first, my brother got sick with leukemia, and then, my mom got sick with a rare kidney disease. I couldn’t turn my back on my siblings. I wanted them all with a bachelor’s degree to their name. I am proud to say that even though settling is still far from sight, I was able to send my siblings to college. And, yes, they all got their bachelor’s degree, and license as well!

Soon, I will be able to settle in my own home. With enough money in the bank to support my travel plans and a good side hustle, too. I can’t wait for that day to happen. I hope, soon!

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Is this cabin fever?

What is cabin fever? I Googled it and this came back:

cab·in fe·ver
/ˈkabən ˈfēvər/

noun INFORMAL•NORTH AMERICAN

irritability, listlessness, and similar symptoms resulting from long confinement or isolation indoors during the winter

Truth is, I’ve been feeling all of those things and more. And it is not winter in this part of the world where I am in. In fact, the weather is hot and humid. But this part of the world is still very much being attacked by the virus that is making every person in the world worried and angry. Our lives are dependent on a bi-weekly announcement from the president.

Is this cabin fever?

cabin-feverI should get it out there that I am one of the lucky few who get to work from home and be with my family almost daily. I go to the office once or twice a week, only when there are absolutely necessary tasks to be done. Most days, I work from home and my schedule depends on what I need to do. Yes, I am lucky that I am earning while being able to stay indoors.

But being cooped up inside the house is getting to me. I admit it now. I feel restless, worried, anxious, and angry. I cannot stay put in one place nowadays. And the weather is aggravating my emotions. You can find me sitting on the epoxy flooring, on the stairs, on my stomach on the sofa. I cannot work as peacefully as I used to.

When the pandemic was in its first few weeks, my sister and I would go to the market every Sunday morning. It became a routine until a few sellers got infected with the virus so the market was shut down. Now, every few days I go to the grocery store to buy essentials. The number of cases are still rising so there is more anxiety in going elsewhere. I don’t. I stay put indoors unless I totally need to go somewhere. It is my way of contributing to the welfare of frontliners who are exhausted and about to give up since last year.

Maybe, I will go out very early to walk around the block. Maybe. We live near a hospital so I am not sure about the situation. I will ask around first. But I will do something about this ‘cabin fever’ because it is getting to my head. And I don’t want to start feeling sad about the situation. I can overcome this. I can find a way. We all can. We just need to find alternatives to what used to be our daily routines so we can stop feeling anxious and listless.

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Slowly easing into the new normal.

Life is slowly going back to normal now that vaccines are being administered to almost every person around the world. The “new normal”, as most call it. We go about our daily routine but with face masks on and doubly cautious of every step we take. We can still get infected with the virus, yes, but with proper care and caution, we can go out of the house like we used to. No, we can’t go to salons and spas yet. Those places are just too risky to go to right now. But we can get the services of a professional for auto body repair Woodbridge so our vehicles are in tip-top shape. We can also go to places of worship, malls, and other places we used to avoid during lockdown, but still with extra caution.

new-normal
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When the pandemic broke out, we were not prepared. We were jolted out of our existence into a period of our lives we only read about in school textbooks. All of a sudden, we were told to stay inside our homes and to avoid going out unless absolutely necessary. We were told to wear facemasks which we only see being worn by medical personnel. We were told to disinfect, use alcohols or any sanitizer effective on viruses. Tissues, paper towels, and wipes were flying out the shelves because people were anxious to stock up on anything that could fight off the virus. It was a period of chaos and we were afraid.

It is a good thing that humans are made with a built-in resiliency. Majority of us can easily bounce back from any setback. We fall down but get back up to dust our selves off. We are born to withstand whatever life throws our way. Of course, not everyone can bounce back no matter how much they want to. But we give it our best shot, fight until we can.

A woman’s parents tested positive with the virus. The Dad turned out okay but the Mom was hospitalized. She is still in the intensive care unit, fighting for her life. The virus turned out not only to be life-threatening but also a huge money pit. The medical bill is piling up, every person in the family has been contributing hugely just to cope up with all the payables. They are also now raising fund, asking friends and relatives for any amount. It is heartbreaking to see them struggling. I am sure majority of those infected by the virus and hospitalized are experiencing the same scenarios right now.

As we slowly ease into the “new normal” let us remember the lessons this pandemic has taught/still teaching us. Value the people who love you, especially your immediate family. Spend time with those who truly matter. Save! It is always best to have a fund for periods such as these.

We really don’t know what life will bring so we better be prepared, even 75% prepared, to battle it out with whatever comes along.

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