‘What do you have…’

CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - November 25, 2020 - 12:00am

While listening to one of half a dozen podcasts daily, one of the speakers asked a question that many people never seemed to have thought about but clearly got me thinking about it. After seven months under a global pandemic where many of us had to work from home or stay home, what do you “seriously” have to show for it? Did you manage to learn a new skill? Did you finally get into shape or start living a healthy lifestyle? Did you learn a new language or how to play a musical instrument or perhaps learned a craft like how to sew or paint watercolor? Did you at least become a better son, a better person, spouse or parent? Have you managed to address or solve certain problems that you have avoided or never got around to fixing? Have you started or completed that project you’ve always wanted to do, build or make?

It’s safe to say that we have all sang or recited our own “Lamentations” about how COVID-19 has affected or changed our lives forever and I’m sure that some have had it far worse than others. But the speaker I was listening to was suggesting that in spite of it all, we need to give meaning or substance to our “Pandemic Journey” and set a goal of having something to show for it. The journey will surely take away 8 to 12, maybe 16 or 24 months of our life. You can build a proper house in six to eight months, most women can have a baby in nine months, you could graduate a two-year course in 24 months and be a frontliner saving lives or improving handicapped children’s quality of life. We all want to say and wear a T-shirt declaring “I survived COVID-19” or “the VIRUS did not get me” but there has to be more or we should make it a point to get more out of these “pandemic months” than the ability to do TikTok or join Zoom meetings.

Awareness, they say, is how real journeys and change begin and that I suppose is what I want to encourage in others. Before the pandemic, I regularly weighed myself and that led to awareness that I was gaining weight. When the pandemic was declared, I committed myself to Intermittent Fasting. After three months I had a smaller waistline and 20 pounds off my body weight. Beyond looks I sharpened my skills at arc welding and home renovation or improvements.

Many Metro Manila residents became aware of the difficulty to buy stuff on the first two months of ECQ. This led them to realize they could plant their own vegetables. Like many I finally got started on my own roof top veggie patch that used to be all talk but no sweat and no produce. Today I literally installed a plumbing system that will pump up “dirty water” from my Koi pond up to our roof deck that’s 15 meters above. This way I will have “fish fertilized” water for my “PlantCito garden,” I can then replace the water in the pond on a regular basis and not waste water.

On the third month many domestic helpers decided to quit jobs and run for the hills, in a matter of speaking. Instead of howling like abandoned she-wolves, many homeowners took on the challenge and inevitability of running and maintaining their own homes, in the process they became aware that they could do a better job and have a house the way they want it. I know families that have cleared their homes of stuff if not junk that had been occupying much needed space in small homes. Now they embrace the word “Minimalist” like a biblical commandment.

Not only that, ever since homeowners took on the housekeeping chores, many of them found a lot of broken things, things that need servicing or better ways of maintenance. I discovered that instead of relying on varnish for wood floors, a weekly dab of “oil” makes your floors more beautiful and natural. I found out that what I suspected was a leak in the roof turned out to be a misplaced showerhead and helpers taking a shower without a shower curtain, thereby leaving a “false puddle.”

Many of us guys slowly but surely found better things to do with our idle time the minute we all got locked down. For many seniors like me, it has been an opportunity to get things done right; the right place for everything, the right way to do something, the right material, etc. I don’t know if this comes with age but it seems that doing a half-ass job is no longer acceptable, especially in the time of COVID where we are not in a hurry and not pressed to go anywhere.

As a senior, I have come to terms with my “Term Limit,” meaning I accept that my days are numbered by the Lord and therefore I must make the best and not just the most of my days. It’s no longer about getting a ton of work done or a dozen stuff off the to-do list. It is about being able to do important and satisfying quality work that reflects out talents and abilities from the good Lord.

Hopefully, we all get to hear the words: “You have done well, good and faithful servant. You may now enter my rest.” Good and faithful is all about excellence and quality as we do work for the Lord, not just spiritually but in day-to-day matters. I pray you can think about it: What do you have to show?

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E-mail: utalk2ctalk@gmail.com

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