Reflections During a Pandemic

This year has been a wild ride. I’m STILL reeling from everything that’s happened – to me personally and on a wider grand scale of the world. Of course, staying inside allows for plenty of reflections during a pandemic.

Reflections During a Pandemic - Enjoying the beach before they closed in Hawaii

Furloughed (for the first time)

For months, my nonprofit organization had discussed possible furloughs and lay-offs that may occur. In the beginning, we lasted a bit longer because of the PPP loan that bailed out many businesses and organizations so we lasted a little longer than expected. Unfortunately, in the second wave of furloughs, my position was eliminated and I had a few weeks to transition out.

This was the first time that I was ever furloughed in my career and while I was frightened and unsure about the next, I wasn’t really surprised. When I made the transition from technology into nonprofit, I knew it came at great risk since nonprofit rode on the economy so much. Being risk-averse, I discussed Plan B (and C and D) with my significant other about what we would do if my career was ever negatively impacted. Suffice it to say, we weren’t terribly shocked or unprepared (thank goodness) when the inevitable happened.

Lesson Learned: Planning ahead is a very good thing and planning for all possibilities. Expect the worst, hope for the best was my motto and that helped a lot.

Did getting furlough suck?

Absolutely. As much as we tried to be optimistic and hopeful, I was saddened and secretly felt terrible that my position could be eliminated or I as a person, wasn’t seen as important enough to save. Don’t get me wrong, I understand, “it’s not personal, it’s business” but to say I didn’t feel some type of way would be lying. Not to mention that I had just made a major career transition and six months later, I was made obsolete? Talk about poor decision-making on my part (just kidding)!

When I told my father about my situation, he said, “I know the phrase when life gives you lemons, make lemonade? Well screw that, you’re making lemon meringue pie.”

And I did.

The day I received notice of my impending furlough, I got to work. Pulling out my relatively fresh resume, I updated it again and began the job hunt. Many people suggested enjoying the time off, go to the beach, go hiking, or just relax but it was SO hard to relax with the “not knowing” of my future.

Unlike many who seek a job out of desperation, I was seeking a role at an organization that aligned with my values and interests more. This was a chance for me to take a step back and allow the universe to align with my soul. When you allow the universe to take control, it bestows gifts on you.

I found an amazing opportunity that focuses on improving literacy. Who knew that my love for books and reading as a child would come out of all this?

I Had COVID-19 (and beat it!)

We attempted to “flatten the curve” in Hawaii and had small success in the beginning. However, it’s summer time and the number of cases has been rising. Unfortunately, I came down with it not too long ago.

My symptoms were typical – a low-grade fever, headache, body aches, chills, and a slight cough although, that resolved itself much more quickly than I anticipated. I rested as much as possible and recovered more rapidly than I thought. The fatigue and “COVID fog” was probably the hardest thing about getting it because I would try to work and it was soo difficult to focus. Did having asthma predispose me to get COVID-19? I’m not sure but I’m just utterly grateful that I had a relatively mild case.

As for how I got it – I’m not sure. We did not attend any parties or gatherings and always wore masks when we left the house. Pre-COVID, I was a germaphobe who always had hand sanitizer with me too. It just goes to show that no matter what, even if you “do everything right,” you can’t always escape it. I’m learning that it’s not a matter of, “if you get COVID” but “when you get COVID.”

The one thing I learned when I got sick? That family and friends matter. Even though I am 5000 miles away, my family and friends on the mainland constantly checked on us. It only made me more grateful to have such a support system.

Finances

During the (multiple) stay-at-home orders, it was a great chance to sit at home, save, and re-evaluate how we spend money. Our budget was revised with plans on how to spend less, save more, and pay off the debt that is hanging over our heads. Saving money is now a competitive sport for us!

I think there’s always room to improve our retirement plans and our emergency funds as well as funds to purchase a home and spruce up our current one and for travel (when we can again)!

Activism

Being quarantined and/or stuck inside due to the orders, I found myself activating and organizing. While we had a few in-person activities, there are many things you can do to organize and stay inside. Personally, there was no better time to activate and organize since the Hawaii Primary was around the same time as restrictions were getting tighter and now, we’re rolling right into the November elections.

If you’re stuck at home, activate and encourage voters of color to register or re-register (after they were de-registered). You can do this by joining Reclaim Our Vote or Vote Forward AND by participating, you can continue to support the USPS with buying stamps since the shit show of a government right now is trying to end them.

Reflections During a Pandemic - Activism with Reclaim Our Vote

The pandemic isn’t over by far and I think the best thing to do is to take it day by day, continue to stay active, healthy (in every way), and use the opportunity to get closer to your goals.