January 5


An Open Letter To The Year Ahead

By Odyssa

January 5, 2021

Over 83 million infected worldwide. This comes with an unknown number of daughters, husbands, friends mourning the loss of a loved one. In most cases, they all had to die with no family beside them.

In the Philippines, over 400,000 succumbed to the disease. It’s inexplicable suffering.

As of September 2020, over 700 private schools closed in my country. It affected over 40,000 learners who needed to re-enroll somewhere else, adjust to a new study environment, and lose face-to-face interaction with their teachers and classmates.

There’s no rulebook to a pandemic in the 21st century. According to science journalist and writer Tara Haelle, “the destruction is, for most people, invisible and ongoing. So many systems aren’t working as they normally do right now, which means radical shifts in work, school, and home life that almost none of us have experience with.”

Our surge capacity is depleted, and we’ve run out of good juju.

‘Stuff’ happened to my quiet, insignificant life as well. It gave me and my family a new reality. Suddenly, we were receiving handouts from the government, as most families were. I was a crippled writer with nothing to say. My relationship plans came to a halt. But these are nothing compared to losing family members to a deadly virus.

The tragedies of that year were of unexpected proportions. Thank goodness for the past tense.

What gives me confidence is seeing others getting what most would call the silver lining. I know some couples who got married, a few friends became parents for the first time, my favorite baker opened a bakeshop, and we received a new puppy. These are insignificant compared to the invaluable work of front liners.

In one of his newsletters, author Ryan Holiday says there’s no such thing as normal. Events go astray. That’s life, he says.

Heraclitus said, ‘the only thing constant in life is change’ so this shouldn’t startle us. But it did, big time.

How do you openly accept death if it happened in front of you? How do you keep believing your government if corruption exists everywhere?

We silently wish for the same thing.

2021 - don’t go crazy. You’ve outdone yourself and we got the message. Be gentle. Be ordinary. That’s all that we ask of you.


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About the author

Odyssa is a writer from the Philippines. She is the author of Like A New Sun Rising: A Collection of Poems on Love. When not working or writing at home, she's out walking their dogs. She enjoys traveling, practices yoga, gets lost in books and Korean drama. To her, making time for a daily practice or ritual is the best gift to one's self.

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