Life on Lockdown: All the Things I Miss Pre-Pandemic

How many days has it been since Metro Manila went on lockdown? It's been two months and counting. We're set to have a longer lockdown than what was initially imposed on Wuhan, China where it all started. We've been moved to a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) - to re-open our economy. Not because the virus' spread has been contained. This means some businesses, non-essential ones, will be allowed to operate again. 

My work is part of the non-essential businesses that can operate again under this new status. See, I work in PR and digital marketing. No, my work didn't stop when the lockdown was set in place. We just moved our work from the office to our homes. It will stay that way for awhile according to our management even when the government announces that Metro Manila can now be placed under general community quarantine. 

But while I am safe sheltering in place, I sometimes think of the days when there was no pandemic and all the things I miss doing. 

1. I miss dressing up to go out

I used to dress up for work 5 days a week. I put on my makeup and I rock the high heels especially when there's a client. On weekends, I dress a little more casually for the mall or for the gym but with that "gotta look cute. Gotta look pretty" mindset still because hello! People will see me. My friends and my crush will see me. 

I obviously am not dressing up right now because I am just home. Nope, not putting on make up as well. Though there are days now where I toy with the idea of at least casually dressing up on work days - put on a bit of make up, fix my hair and maybe do #OOTD.   

2. I miss going to the mall 

I'm a mall rat. 

I used to spend a lot of days at the mall. My friends and I would go to Timezone to play a few arcade games and do videoke. Sometimes, I would go to the mall to catch a cinema. The last movie I saw was Bad Boys for Life at Robinson's Place, Manila. I watched it alone but I had fun. 

I also miss shopping at the mall. Whether it's at Watson's where I'm supposed to just buy essentials and come out with more items that are not part of my shopping list or buying something from a clothing store and spotting an outfit on display that caught my eye or just browsing for the next items I want to buy, it gave me such great pleasure. 

These days, the shopping I do are mostly online because again we need physical distancing. And since most shopping I do is online, I also try to get some cash backs from that by using Shopback which has a lot of partner merchants! If you're signing up, sign up here with my referral code please so we can both get cashback!    

For two months since the lockdown started, the malls in Metro Manila were forced to close. Now that we've moved to MECQ, the malls have started operating again. But I'm not going to the mall just yet. The threat of COVID-19 is very real still and I don't want to catch it or pass it on to my family just because I gave in to my desire to go out strolling in the mall. The mall will just have to wait.

3. I miss hang outs with my friends

We're all physically distancing so all the interaction I have with my friends these days are done online. We chat or we video call. I know, thank God for technology because this is possible. But it's still a  different feeling seeing and talking to them face to face. 

I always loved seeing my friends at the office, at the mall or at the gym. I miss going out with them for lunch, dinner or simply coffee. I miss working out with them as well. Before we went on lockdown, that night the President announced that we were going to be put under what they call community quarantine (which was later on escalated to enhanced community quarantine), I was at the gym working out with friends and we even went out for a drink afterwards at the nearby bar.  

4. I miss earning what I used to earn

No I wasn't earning a six figure salary. I wish! But I was earning a good enough amount for me to afford spending for my whims and needs alike. Since the pandemic started, my company had to impose a 30% pay cut to keep the business afloat. Therefore, I need to further tighten my belt and not spend for frivolous things here and there even though shopping can bring me such joy. I had to say goodbye for now to the expensive serum I had my eye on as well as the Kerastase hair products I would have normally replenished by now by swiping my credit card. I hope that in due time, like a couple of months down the road, our business can recover so my salary will! 

But seriously. It's a big cut and I am lowkey wondering how I'm gonna help support my mom as well through these trying times while paying for all my bills. 

5. I miss working out at the gym

Since I signed up for the gym a couple of years back, working out at the gym has become a key part of my lifestyle. I used to go as often as I could - before work, after work, weekends and even some holidays. I miss attending group classes such as FGT and Body Jam. Oh Body Jam. Who would have thought I would miss it the way I do now? I  didn't attend the class as religiously as I do now a couple of years back since I'm not very good at dancing and it's also not my cup of tea. But I have made a lot of friends from attending the class and now I just want to say I miss it sooooo much! 

I also miss all the intense workouts I did with my fitness trainer and friend, Rej. His favorite line before was "Iyak ka na, Liz?" (Are you going to cry now, Liz?) every time he had me doing some really challenging exercises. It was exhausting but it was fun. I actually still have plenty of one on one sessions left. 

The gyms are closed right now under MECQ. I don't know if it will open once we move to modified general community quarantine and I honestly am torn if I want it to or not. Again, there is still the threat of a virus. But also because the gym would add to my expenses again and like I said, I'm already on a tight spot right now. Ah well, I guess this I will have to cross once we get there. I still have plenty of one on one training sessions left after all.

6. I miss traveling 

After the first couple of travels I had with my friends and my mom, I started travelling more often. Every year in fact, I had a travel plan. Whether it was a local travel or an international one, traveling had become part of my lifestyle and my budget. I look at 2019 and I find myself saying luckily, I made a few more travel memories before the pandemic hit which cancelled any and all travel plans we all might have had this year. Last year, I was lucky enough to scratch off something from my travel bucket list, lucky to have had another travel with my mom and lucky to have had such a blissful travel with my friends

I wonder when we can travel again? I hope we can do it again safely soon because there are still a lot of places I want to see and take my mom too! 

7. I miss dining out

While food establishments, most of them at least, have stayed open or have re-opened during this lockdown because they are an essential business and I can have them delivered at home, some food experiences are better when we dine in. I miss walking in a restaurant like Cafe Mary Grace, the go-to-resto of the Titas of Manila (Aunts of Manila) they say so I guess I'm a tita! LOL!Seriously, it's a different experience when you can walk in at Mary Grace to eat. This goes the same for Yabu for me with their unli cabbage, fruits, rice and miso soup refill for every order of their Katsu set. Can't exactly do that with take out or delivery, can I?

 8. I miss working at coffee shops 

Whenever I had a meeting that ended early and I didn't want to go back to the office, I used to bring my laptop with me and I would stay at a nearby coffee shop to work while I wait until it was time to go to the gym. 

I used to also go to the coffee shop whenever I needed to write a press release or do a campaign proposal. Nothing got me going than a good cup of coffee, soft music on the background and no one to disturb me. 

I also miss having coffee at Starbucks, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and all the other coffee shops I used to go to with my friends or alone. It's a great way to unwind - sipping coffee while chatting with friends or reading a book or when you're sitting outside, people watching. 

9. I miss doing self care activities at the salon and the spa

One of the things I wish I was able to do before the lockdown was get a hair cut because I like to keep my hair short. I prefer short hair because it's easier to manage. And while I don't often do this anymore, I miss going to nail salons to get a mani-pedi. 

Oh and how I miss going to the spa for a massage! I loved going to The Spa Wellness because it had that ambience that will instantly relax you as soon as you enter. I miss sipping their hot ginger tea too while I wait for my massage to begin. They give such wonderful massages there! 

I don't know if they will be allowed to open if Metro Manila will be moved to general community quarantine. I guess I'll just have to wait and see. 

10.  I miss... I really miss my crush

Ha! Ha! Ha!    

I'm not kidding. Such a high school thing to feel right? But I do miss seeing my crush. He's a cute and smart guy I met at the gym. Because the gym is closed and we all have to stay home, I haven't seen my crush in over two months. It's a real bummer! 

There's still Facebook to somehow keep in touch with him but it's different when you know you can actually see and talk to the person you like. But well the virus got in the way so until the infection is under control, I'll take whatever interaction I can get with him online. 

I hope that there will be a vaccine against COVID-19 that will strengthen our immunity so we won't get it. Or at least it'll end up like a common flu. I also hope that while we wait for that news to come, I hope that our government will work double time with doing mass testing and stop putting their personal gains and vendettas first! As we've seen in other countries that have been successful in curbing the spread of the virus like Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea, New Zealand and Germany, mass testing is the key to a safer re-opening of the economy. Until those days arrive, I will be here, staying at home, like most people, to help slow down the spread while I also join my fellow Filipinos in calling for mass testing from our government.  



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