Three months ago when I welcomed 2020, I knew I’d be going into unemployment soon because I’ve decided to take a career break. When March came, I excitedly started my “housewife” life, not knowing that just two weeks in, a lot of people would be staying home like (and unlike) me.
This Movement Control Order (MCO) that started in mid-March caused turbulence in everyone’s lives. No one is spared — young, old, rich, poor, healthy, unhealthy, employed, unemployed, self-employed, etc.
During this unprecedented pandemic, life can get very overwhelming. I woke up this morning to the news that prominent hotels in Malacca are closing, many private tertiary education institutions in the country are expected to close and a lot of local SMEs are struggling to sustain businesses. At the time of writing, there are 1.27mil COVID-19 cases and 69.5k related deaths worldwide. And these numbers are climbing. 😣
With so many uncertainties and so much anxieties in the air, it’s easy to start spiraling into negativity so let’s stop the downward spiral and do something that may be counterintuitive for many of us: count our blessings.
I believe that there’s always something to be thankful for if we think hard enough. Gratitude is like a muscle that you have to exercise so let’s do it.
Here are 5 things I’m thankful for during this COVID-19 pandemic and MCO.
I’m thankful that I am in the country during MCO
My original plan was to visit a friend in the United States once I finished serving my notice at work. According to that plan, I would have my visa ready by end of February and I would be in the United States the first three weeks of March. Somehow, I just kept procrastinating my visa application (since Nov 2019) and eventually called off the plan in early March when it was becoming obvious that COVID-19 could be a threat. Can’t imagine navigating through a pandemic so far away from home! In another word, I’m thankful I procrastinated! 🙈
I’m thankful that I’m prepared to have no income for a while
As mentioned, I voluntarily took a career break. I am mentally and financially prepared to be unemployed for up to six months. The MCO started right at the beginning of my career break thus caused minor disruption to my plan so far. If this MCO has happened at the end of my career break, I would be thrown off guard for sure. Of course, now I’m starting to think that it’s gonna be a challenge to get back into the workforce with the unavoidable market downturn. But I don’t want to worry about it yet because I haven’t even start applying for jobs. Let’s take it one day at a time and not get distracted unnecessarily. For now, I’m thankful to be already unemployed? 😅
I’m thankful that I left 2020 unplanned
Except one impromptu Krabi trip that I cancelled in mid-February due to COVID-19 fear, I did not buy a single flight ticket or book any holiday no matter how tempting it was (special thanks to the paranoid husband for stopping me countless times). That’s super rare. In 2017, I had holiday lined up every month of the year (post-cancer splurge). Last year, I had two family holidays to Australia, a couple of smaller trips, a wedding and a honeymoon to New Zealand. In a way, I’m thankful we spent so much last year that we’re forced to stay low in 2020? Who knew having a tight budget could be something to be thankful about? 😂
I’m thankful that I’m “quarantined” with only one other person
I’m currently “quarantined” with RK only and I’m super thankful about that despite being separated from all other family members. In fact, having everyone separated may have given me more sense of security. Don’t take it the wrong way and hear me out. During this MCO, we need to keep our bubble as small as possible. When a person leaves home, there’s chance of that person bringing the virus back to infect the rest of the household. The bigger the household, the higher the risk, especially when multiple people take turn to leave the house. Knowing that risk of cross-infection is low for everyone in my family sounds like a win in my book so I’m thankful that everyone in my family don’t have to see each other for one month or more? 🤔
I’m thankful I have zero medical appointments in March and April
I still have my chemo port in my chest so I have to go to the hospital for flushing every 3 months. My last appointment was due in mid-February and I’m glad I braved myself to the hospital amid the COVID-19 fear in early March after delaying for more than two weeks! At that time, there was history of COVID-19 case in PPUM so I was hesitant to go to the hospital. But now, PPUM is a COVID-19 hospital already! You bet it’s gonna be even tougher to drag myself to the hospital. Thinking back, I actually had an annual check up due in Apr but I brought forward to Jan so that I could claim under company medical benefit. LOL. Good that I was prudent, eh? 😲
This exercise made me realize something: gratitude is a very personal feeling. What you’re grateful for can be very different from mine because we live different lives. In fact, what I’m thankful for may be what you’re despairing about and vice versa.
The point of this exercise is to see the silver lining in our own situations and stop ourselves from downward spiraling. So let’s do ourselves a favor and be grateful for whatever “guilty little first-world” problems we have because when we take care of our own well-being, we’re doing ourselves and our loved ones a favor during this trying time.