02AAA: 2022 Day One

Doggie Planters

Metro Manila Community Quarantine - Day 658

We began 2022 in the company with friends, but also with a heck of a lot of nervousness and worry. Despite the rising case numbers, we still went to O Bar after the fireworks and remained determined to have a good time as it's very likely we won't be able to go out like this for a while. Plus we had arranged to meet up again with some friends whom we hadn't seen in a while, so it felt like a worthwhile venture. Plus O Bar has always been pretty diligent about really taking the time to gather contact information and verify the vaccination records of all patrons before allowing entry. It's not a guarantee of safety, but it's pretty much as could be possibly done to help make the bar experience as safe as possible. 

Not gonna lie - I definitely felt extra paranoid throughout the night. I kept my mask on a LOT more than in previous O Bar nights and mainly limited it to those moments I'd eat or drink. Before I'd feel a bit more relaxed and not rush to put it back on, but last night I felt like a Fremen on the open desert guarding against moisture loss from mouth exhalation. Mask discipline is key! But we still had a lot of fun, although I could feel emotions were a little high for various reasons.

The transition from one year to another is always a time of reflection for many as the beginning of a new calendar year feels like a blank slate to write our dreams upon. but given about two years of living under pandemic conditions with various degrees of quarantine, self-isolating, and other restrictions, it hasn't exactly been an easy time. And there's a lot of negative stuff that naturally floats to the surface when one looks back at how 2021 has been like.

It's hard to keep hope that this year will be significantly better, especially while we remain under the same administration implementation generally the same pandemic response measures as when this all started in 2020. We're still practically guessing how to properly manage contract tracing efforts for those who may have come in contact with someone infected with COVID-19 and our national vaccination numbers are still below 50%. We're lucky that places like Metro Manila have greater vaccine penetration, but there is still a heck of a lot of people who remain without the protection and support of any of the approved vaccines out there. And as long as there are more vulnerable members of the population, then we're all at a greater risk of infection. 

And all this got me tweeting about still hoping for the best. I've had too many heavily emotional/sad conversations over the course of the last two years and I know we're all feeling the weight of this pandemic and all that it has taken from us in terms of our freedoms, our sense of security, and people we love. And the fact that we're starting a whole new year with the same fears and trepidations feels terribly unfair. We deserve a much better life than that of people mostly staying in their hopes and severely limiting all trips outside like people foraging in a nuclear winter-style environment. 

We can only do so much to make things better within our sphere of influence and control, but I know we're really going to try at the very least. There is more to life than the crumminess that we've been enduring over this entire pandemic. And we just have to keep fighting.

But man, I really want to still be able to meet up with friend someone. Maybe we need to bring back small game nights with 1 or 2 friends at a time just so we avoid going out more. But it really gets tricky figuring out who would be safe enough to invite and willing to take some risks with us. 

2022 has to be better somehow. We just have to get creative in thinking of ways of achieving this while also still trying to stay safe.