APPROXIMATELY 1,695 kilometers from home. That's how far away I am. This pandemic has been depressing not only because of the "new normal" way of going about our days but more so because of the travel restrictions imposed by every local government unit one has to go through.

Pre-Covid would have taken only around one hour to General Santos plus one hour 30 minutes to Clark, Pampanga, and another three hours from Clark to Havilah two in La Union. That's 5.5 hours plus, give or take another three hours for the waiting, etc., then that will be something like 8.5 hours from here to the family. That means having breakfast in Mindanao and voila, you'll be having dinner with the family the same day, just like that! Now? Well, it's wait and see and hope for the best!

Living "alone" takes its toll, sometimes. When you're feeling discomfort due to illness, the homesickness grows exponentially. When your movement is hampered and restricted, it becomes worse. The thing is if the eyes are the "patient," working and living digitally becomes a real challenge. Everyone communicates through gadgets and computers nowadays and, if vision is impaired, what's the best way to cope? Remember the song "Ironic" by Alanis Morisette? That's exactly right, Manong!

Why is this happening to me? Why me? From a number of books and articles I read, the real question daw dapat is "Why not?"

Go with the flow. It's the journey, not the destination. Things will get better soon. There's a rainbow after the rain. Just a few of the "energizers" to keep me going. As my premium brothers Leo and Bonggo would say, "Everything happens for a reason!" Sige na nga...

Despite all these, there are so many things to be thankful for. I'm so grateful that Madame Doctora, Vedra, Benitow, Leleb, Little Eyebindatummy, Hapong, Tinay, Embang, Platy, Micu and Mumai are ok. I'm thankful for the new puppies of Mumaiko, I'm thankful for the nilagang baka prepared by Angkol Melvin and GD (perfect) - lami kaayo. I'm so very thankful for OneMGB12! I'm thankful for being alive and having money to buy my medications. I'm thankful for the opportunity to write this missive and the ability to keep writing, etc. Nagadu met gayam...

Whatever you are going through, keep going! It's going to be difficult, yes, but try to channel your energy and focus on the small victories that happen around you every day. You'll be surprised to find out that there are so many of these. John Calub tells us to keep a journal of the things we are thankful for. To write them down and after reading, be overwhelmed with the good and the positive all around. After just a few days of doing this, I'm probably going to run out of pages in my notebook soon.

Here alone? Not really!

Keep well and stay safe, and sane, my friends.

"If you want to be happy, learn to be alone without being lonely. Learn that being alone does not mean being unhappy. The world is full of plenty of interesting and enjoyable things to do and people who can enrich your life." -- Michael Josephson

"It is only when we silent the blaring sounds of our daily existence that we can finally hear the whispers of truth that life reveals to us, as it stands knocking on the doorsteps of our hearts." -- K.T. Jong

"Don't feel alone, because there is always someone out there who loves you more than you can imagine." -- Anurag Prakash Ray