Looking on the bright side of things has never really been my strong suit. The times I called myself “optimistic” were also times when I was either assured of success, or arrogant enough to believe that the outlook would be good no matter what. As I grew older, I fell more and more into the understanding that if something should go wrong, it will probably be my ass on the chopping block. I’m the person least likely to fit in anyway, so it shouldn’t matter. This has happened to me enough times for me to see the world as a place I just was not welcome. But it’s weird now how the whole world is scared of going out and anxious about being around people, and I’m feeling like this is the situation where I’m most comfortable in. I like it when people are in crisis, because what is normally described as “aloof and cold” in normal situations is seen as “calm and levelheaded”. I appreciate that people are scared and anxious and I don’t relish the fact that they have to feel such things, but it’s actually comforting that everyone now had a certain grasp of what it means to live a life of self-imposed solitude and exile. I feel deeply for all the people who are at home and going stir-crazy, for the freelancers and artists who are worrying about paying their next bill, for the teachers who have no means to reach those who desperately want to learn. I don’t like seeing people and feeling people in a desperate mode of life. But I do like how things just seem to be a natural sort of purging process for the earth and society at large. Our consumer habits are being forcefully curbed. Our limits are being tested. We now can spend all the time with our kids that we want. We have time to write again for ourselves, not just for a paycheck. We have time to take a step back, breathe in, and realize that we couldn’t be luckier right now.

I’ve been meaning to share this for a few days, and I haven’t, as I’m anxious that it will come off like I’m smug and gloating and not sensitive to the feelings of those in the service industry — but I cannot tell you how much it seems like divine providence that I was fired from my job in Palawan just before the COVID started. Not only am I far FAR away from people who would rather protect someone who would threaten a coworker with a knife than do the right thing and investigate properly, but I’m with my son and my family, in a place where there are hospitals and drugstores and electricity 24 hours a day. I saw that the whole town is locking down and will not be allowing social gatherings. For someone in marketing, and someone as invested as me as growing that brand, this health situation would have probably sent me over the edge. I’m so happy I’m back with people who love me, who see the value I bring to the table, and actually like being around me and hearing what I have to say. There’s nothing that compares to being around people who accept you.

So, in addition to washing your hands during these trying times, spare a talent for an old ex leper: look on the bright side of things when you can. You’re here.