On the wee hours of March 13, two days before the Luzon lockdown, my father fetched me in my place in QC through a car he rented. He did this to 1.) make sure I will spend the lockdown at home and 2.) that I won’t catch the virus while trying to do so.

On our way home, I could only feel bad for the many people also scurrying in bus terminals to go home. Upon spending the first few weeks at home (esp after my self-quarantine), I have seen much clearer the huge disparity between people in different social status. The rich can afford to haul supplies, the middle-class can buy what’s necessary, but the poor had to wait for government’s support or a random stranger’s kind gesture of giving out a small amount to fend for themselves. In our town, some mothers were begging already to feed their children, while some call for help for the people who lives in makeshift homes made of old iron sheets, sack or cartons and worn out tires.

It breaks my heart to witness this disparity, all the more the audacity of those in position to take advantage of the situation or worse, rob the poor further. This is where I realized that I really need to be frugal in order to give more. Even before Covid, I resolved to myself to be thrifty, but this situation roars at me to take frugality seriously.

One evening during the lockdown, I asked my mother if we can repack rice for the people closest to us – delivery boys, garbage collector, etc. The next day, my intention swelled when my sister abroad expressed the same thoughts. Together, we extended a little help. We are not rich, but we felt we ought to do something for someone.

“I have always believed that there is enough for everyone, if we can all share.”

Going back to my road to frugality, I searched on saving hacks and minimalism on nights I can’t sleep (which are a lot by the way, esp at the start of the lockdown). As I list down the most common things that apparently, we can live without or can do away with just one or two of it, I cringe as memories of my unwise spending of the past came to mind. How many times did I buy something because everyone else did? How many times did I buy take-away food because I was too lazy to cook on weekends? How many clothes I bought that I got to wear only once? (but hey, my cousins are wearing them now) I am not wasteful, materialistic or a hoarder, but given my circumstance, I know I still can forego other purchases.

My resolve to save increased. I continued planning all my expenses (been doing it since I started working, haha! Adulting is real) and looked for more ways to earn extra (sa mga nagpapa-edit ng articles/photo/video, maniningil na po ako. Hahaha).

The closest to the ideal thing I had in my mind? – the life of St. Francis of Assisi. Francis gave up his lavish lifestyle and even his father’s thriving business to be with the poor. He slept in the open and begged garbage to eat. I felt that to help the poor, I must be poor. It actually worked for Francis because his new found lifestyle of serving God paved the way for the founding of a religious order. But a huge part of me knows that I need not to be poor to help the poor. I know I can support charities and people here and there. The bottom line then and again was to save more money to give. Hahaha!

“A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.” – St. Francis

So okay, I’ll only spend on essentials, I said to myself in the middle of the lockdown. However, the quarantine keeps on being extended. I suddenly found myself looking for more of the things I love to do. Number 1, I looked for new books as I’m down to the last 40% of the last book I’ve got from Big Bad Wolf of February 2020. Second, I’d want to write down Bible verses with watercolor again but I left my paint and brushes in QC. Third, I’d want to restart caring for my hair again the CGM way (curly girl method) but I’m running out of CGM-approved products.

I kept asking myself, are these essentials? I think I can do away with them. But they are essential at least to keep my sanity. So here’s a downright confession – I bought books, watercolor brushes and hair conditioner online. Hihihi.

I guess I can never be Francis overnight. Well, I would never be like Francis, but maybe, little by little, I can be that person who fulfills my dream of serving and loving a hundred.

So far, what was your best take away/ resolution/ realization from this quarantine? Share below or maybe, PM? 😊 I’d wait!

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