Everyone hates party poopers. But sometimes, poop arrives at the party—whether we like it or not.

First came Odette. Obviously uninvited, she came, anyway. Barreling through our communities, she destroyed homes, lives, businesses. When the trifecta of infrastructure integral to modern survival—power, water and communication was taken away from us—there was nothing else to look forward to except a slow death.

Listening to my father’s war stories, I often said that modern war would be vastly different. No ground troops. No conventional methods of torture. No shots fired. The citizenry will surrender when power, water and communication are taken away from them.

Some of us are still prisoners of war. No power. No water. No phone lines. No Internet connection. Many are ready to surrender. Just heard this, “let’s just pay.”

It’s been 38 days since Odette came to the party. And the poop remains. And yet, despite the blown-out canopies and glass shards, Omicron still chooses to come. She viciously rips through our communities like an omnipresent force seeking revenge for all that Delta could not take. Is there anyone in our phonebook who will be spared?

If you don’t know anyone infected with Omicron now, you have to be living in a cave.

Omicron, albeit uninvited, has been partying with us for some time now. But long before we got wind of Odette’s intention to gate-crash our party before Christmas, we already knew of Omicron’s global gate-crashing. We knew Omicron was coming and dangerously without an estimated date and time of arrival.

But did we prepare for this gate-crasher? No might. No need to prepare for a fight. Or so we thought. If it were my party, I’d still beef up security.

Mild for most people, yes. But still life-threatening for some. And when an infection spreads like wildfire, it’s bound to disrupt lives. Less lethal perhaps but not any less debilitating for when workforces across industries are paralyzed, life can still crumble.

But did we choose to party with caution and consideration or did we do so with deep denial? Did we calibrate our actions? Or did we throw tantrums? It’s been 22 months. Have we learned anything?

It should not fall only upon government to carry the burden of containing this pandemic. It should fall upon each of us. We have the power to regulate our actions and mitigate harm to ourselves and our communities. But are we doing this?

Life goes on. Yes. But change is crucial. We cannot live as we did before. Adaptation is the key to survival.

Devastated by Odette. Defeated by Omicron. This will not be the story of our lives. We will overcome. But not without humility, forbearance and wisdom.

Everyone hates party poopers. But poop is part of life. And party poopers know how to handle poop.