Saturday, July 19, 2014

Gratitude List: Downtime

Glenda, one of the most powerful storms to hit the the Philippines this year, has left eastern and southern Luzon in shambles. Manila, the mega city and the country's capital, was left in chaos and some areas remain powerless for several days now. We got our power back a few hours ago after four days of struggling with darkness. While I'm too happy that the power, along with all the comforts it brings our home, is back, I'm also grateful to have a bit of a lull to see a few things in a totally different light. So today, I woke up early from a fake cold night, grabbed my computer and listed some things I'm thankful for during my forced downtime. 

Preparation is key. Parts of Manila was (and some are still) in the dark. Most households I know are equipped with the usual emergency supplies but only to a certain extent. Are we prepared in the event that the blackout stretches to a week or more? With the batteries, emergency lights and candles sold out in almost all groceries in our area (only on the second day!), I guess not. Time to beef up my Doomsday Preppers vibe.

Be with an employer who genuinely cares for you. It was 3am, and I was desperately trying to do something about the banging windows and ceiling when I read the office thread over WhatsApp. It was our business unit head, tracing the whereabouts and safety of each and every employee. I know some companies, especially those whose clients are overseas, cannot suspend work because of the nature of their business. Not entirely their fault, but I'm just happy to be where I am right now where people's safety matters more than anything. 

Do not take communication for granted. I cannot stress enough how it's so hassle-free to communicate these days. You can message or call anyone with a few tap on your personal gadgets. For a digital immigrant who still remembers how my dad and uncles send voice tapes from abroad, I value how communication is now at our fingertips. Sadly, once a thing becomes too easy and too abundant, people tend to take it for granted. So when the networks went wonky, people scrambled to their phones to reach their loved ones. Do we really have to wait for a storm to reach out? 

Home is where my heart is. Power was out in our place for four days. That's almost a hundred hours of sweltering in the dark. By the second day, cabin fever sets in. In this time and age when I and most people in my circle are connected to the web 24/7, I'm sure you get where this is heading. A number of good friends who live in buildings with generators or in unaffected areas offered to host me and my family until we get our power back. But my mom is old-school and didn't want to leave the house. I was very tempted to stay at a friend's place since I needed to sleep to be able to work, but somehow, I long for my home. It's where I'm most at peace despite the lack of all the usual comforts. Aside from the sleepless nights, it still wasn't so bad. 

Makeup-less and home with the boss

Live a simple life. A friend posted about how they drove for hours to find a hotel because her kids cannot take the power-less night. They didn't find any because all hotels are fully booked, and people were actually waiting in line. She also said how she remembers that when they were kids, they managed to survive a few days without electricity and how people nowadays will die of the inconvenience rather than the typhoon. I have nothing against people, especially families with kids, who cannot survive a night without hot water and air conditioning. But personally, I want to try to keep a simple lifestyle and be less dependent on the everyday luxuries. Just in case we get doomed, I have better chances of adapting.

No sandwich maker? That's fine. I'm happy with my hot and freshly delivered taho! :)

One day at a time. In relation to living a simple life, no power means no fridge, which means we have to cook food just enough to finish in one sitting. On a broader sense, there will be days and instances when the world will ask us to slow down and not be sick and worried too much about the future and just live one day at a time. We could all use a break from paranoia. 

Sharing one of my favorite verses from the scriptures
 
Pray for resilience. In times of difficulties, we usually pray for the energy and strength to survive. In life, we aim to display courage and power. In truth, when our humanly strength and betrays us, what we need is the ability to spring back to our original form and bounce back from all the difficulties. SHRUG. IT. OFF. 

My mind is a bottomless pit of insights and life lessons the past days. I guess 96 hours of downtime did me well. Wishing everyone's safe after the storm. Take care!

Much Love,
Dang

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