100 days of (non)existence in the midst of 2020
In this column submission, Ivy Vania reflects on her 100th day of non-existing in the midst of 2020 and her yearning for finding the light at the end of the tunnel.
Words by Whiteboard Journal
Day 95 of being unable to work. We agreed that health is indeed our top priority for the past few months. While some already got bored of working from home for too long, some got lost and confused because they have to lose their jobs in order to stay home, like me. Days are indeed getting slower as most of my nights remain restless. I am worried, after all of these years trying to be financially independent and trying to give back to the family as best as I could, turns out I’ve been staying in limbo for the past few months.
Anxiety and depression starts crippling in. How do I feel small and insignificant in this big, colourful and chaotic world? Where people would always say that you should dream big, aim higher, be the change for a better place and so on. Some of us are lucky enough to finally be in the right path and have clear visions of themselves. While some, stay lost.
My job is not particularly something that people would be so proud of. I am working as a full time female bartender in a well known restaurant and nightlife establishment worldwide. I am grateful for where I am right now. I enjoy working behind the bar, talking to guests (mostly strangers), building trust and relationships from random conversations, guessing and serving their favourite drinks, even playing around with my colleagues. Those days are fun indeed.
Never thought that it would hit this hard when that day came, I was asked to come to work only to have everything cleaned, stored and properly wrapped as the place will be temporarily closed due to the outbreak. The official letter came, stating that all of us will remain on unpaid leave until only heaven knows when. I tried to embrace the situation, knowing that it was hard to accept.
During the acceptance process, I tried to spend more time doing workouts and reading some books to keep my mind at ease. Not to mention binge-watching habits also included on the list. But as night time comes, my mind is haunted. Knowing that I only exist, not being any useful nor helpful. Days went by, my savings are getting thin as well as my will to keep going on. I can’t go back to my family just to be another burden in the house that my father has to carry. As a full time worker and part time single mother, I really can’t afford being such a failure to my beautiful daughter and family. It is terrifying.
Not only mine, the whole world is changing. Everything is shifting. We are not who we think we were anymore. This year has pushed us harder than any year might do. Are we really ready? Or maybe we don’t have to be prepared that much anyway cause life has indeed been funny. Will all these changes turn us into a better person living in a better world? We never know, but we do hope so. There is a saying that tells us “no matter what you’re going through, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel”. Even The Smiths say so with one of their famous songs, “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out”. We can agree that the tunnel we are in right now seems pretty endless and dark. Will we ever have enough time to see that light?
If there is one thing I could remember and remind myself in the future about this weird phase in life is that I am glad I survived. Probably not as a whole, but I would be glad enough to finally get through that tunnel. To be finally free to breathe again with less worries.
I always dream of living peacefully in the countryside, to live Jill Redwood’s or Li Ziqi’s way of life, to live for what is essential and not make so much damage. Surrounded by abundant natural resources, taking only what I need while I take care of the mother earth and those around me. Having a dinner feast at the barn because I always enjoy cooking for people. Sipping those homemade craft beers while we reminisce about this year.
A little hope in this dreadful time won’t hurt, I guess.
And I always keep this mind, in order to make changes, I need to be at peace with myself. Be a better version of myself before I could ever make things better around me. Eventually, we are just trying to make ends meet while discovering ourselves. Or get lost in it.
Tomorrow is the 100th day, I am still waiting worriedly for the call that would ask me to get back to work. Meanwhile, I will just watch Studio Ghibli’s “Only Yesterday” to feed a little hope and light for dreams I have always yearned for.