The New Normal: life after ECQ

By Jeanette Ipapo -Tuason April 28,2020

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After four weeks of quarantine and responsibly staying home, we have seen the upside of the world going on vacation. Clear blue skies and ocean waters clearing up are proofs that the world is healing itself.

To say that human beings have abused the earth is an understatement as we have always maintained that we are the only important inhabitants. We forgot that we are only passing by, and our stay is a privilege provided for by Mother Nature.

Now that quarantine has been extended a few more weeks, people are starting to think about what will happen after it is lifted. Would we go back to traffic jams, excessive production, and consumption?

Hopefully not. Hopefully, our leaders, movers, and shakers will start to think about how we can move forward in a better way. What will be nice to see in this new world? A new world the virus has forced us to be reborn in.

A better way to work

One of the reasons why traffic happens and worsens is just because of the sheer number of cars and people trying to go around. Now that the Work From Home (WFH) scheme was forced upon us, wouldn’t it be great if business owners and corporations can work out a scheme where 50% of the workforce is trying to go from point A to point B at a specific time frame, and the rest just stay home? Just like an odd/ even scheme, 50% of the employees in the office will go Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, while the rest work from home and vice versa.

A better way to be mobile

Having seen the turquoise water of Manila Bay even if just for a day, we realize how much our old way of life was damaging. There must be a better way. The transportation sector must push for environmentally friendly ways. It can be through electric vehicles, finding renewable energy or fuel sources, and even technologies we thought is lightyears away, such as solar-powered cars.

But another facet of this is the improvement of mass transportation. Now more than ever, the call for better regulation of buses, jeeps, and taxis. Public and private entities should now start looking at a way to collaborate to create a better and efficient public transportation with regular time schedules. This will not only help lessen pollution but also improve traffic because the drivers will be more disciplined because they don’t need to outmaneuver each other to get riders.

A better way to consume

One of the things that really makes me sad is the amount of products around from clothes, plastic toys, and everything you can think about which are all future garbage. In quarantine, you realize that you need less, and because buying items is not as convenient as before, we are forced to be creative in reusing and recycling.

A better way to live

For me, time has always been the most essential resource. In the book Set for Life by Scott Trench, he wrote that people need to rethink their logistics. We complain about the amount of time we spend in traffic and how much money we spend on commuting to our work. Maybe it’s time for us to figure out a better work option closer to your home or move closer to work. Even if you are getting more money from a job that is two hours away from your house, the amount of time and money you spend getting there is the same as you take less money to a workplace that is 30 minutes from your home. Remember the saying “time is gold,” this makes much more sense to us all now that we have had a chance to slow down. If the job is something you want, then maybe it’s time to rethink where you live.

A better focus

With just the food business allowed to continue during ECQ, we now realize that we should help make our country more self-sufficient in terms of being able to produce food for ourselves. Agriculture takes center stage, and soon local tourism should follow. For us to be able to recover from this, we need to understand that we all should focus inwards to help our local business.

A better mindset

There is this TEDTalk by Dan Gilbert, which explains the science of happiness. He explains that there is real happiness when you get what you want and fake happiness, which you create when you have to settle for something other than what was wanted. He said that humans are the only beings capable of creating fake happiness where you accept things as they are and that what you have is good.

The effects of ECQ on mental health has taken center stage. I wasn’t spared. As much as I was trying to be positive, the uncertainty and change were too much. I felt unmotivated and just had to escape to Netflix (K-Drama to be specific). When I heard this line from the movie The Only Living Boy in New York that “The only way out is through,” I became more forgiving and immersed in the experience, trying to find out what it will teach me. Thanks to “Crash Landing on You,” I learned that sometimes the happiest or best things in life don’t need to be with us for a long time and that we should be grateful to have experienced it.

So, whatever the new normal will be, as Marie Kondo would say, let us be thankful for what we had and let it go.

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