Lim: Cave life

Melanie T. Lim
·3 min read

“How do you feel about the slow vaccine rollout in the Philippines?” my sister from the United States asks. She and my brother have received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine while my niece has received two doses of Moderna’s.

“I don’t lose sleep over it,” I tell her. “I’m resigned to the reality that mass vaccination here will be a long time coming.”

Still, I hope it will be soon but if not, then, I will sit tight, sleep well, be grateful for my life, stay safe and hope for the best. After all, will worrying about the vaccine’s arrival make it come sooner for me? Not really. So, I don’t fret.

Yes. I have been inundated by frantic messages from friends and relatives about vaccine procurement. No. I don’t have secret super powers or connections that will allow me to jump the line. My turn will come when it comes.

In the meantime, I carry on with my life as in the past year. No socials. Only essentials.

Some people think me so “extra” avoiding people like the plague. It’s not that I don’t want to see people or that I don’t want to go out. But is it worth the risk? Not for me.

I do have a high threshold for cave life. But I also have a 96-year-old father with comorbidities that I need to protect with my life. I can’t imagine how riddled with anxiety I would have been if we lived apart. I’m so lucky I live with him.

I know I come from a place of privilege. I live quite comfortably. I’m able to work from home. And I could never feel claustrophobic in my cave.

I do not, in any way, deride anyone who cannot shelter as much as they would like to because of work. Obviously, work is an essential activity. But I do frown upon those who feel they must socialize and hold grand, super-spreader events due to FOMO (fear of missing out).

So sad that in this age of social media, FOMO now seems to threaten mental health.

Well, for my own sanity, I focus on what truly matters — my health and safety and that of my family.

I started 2021 subscribing to the mantra of doing something new each year. In January, I ran my first virtual 15K — my longest ever one-time run. Well, I started another new thing this year — not worrying about things I cannot control.

Mass vaccination will likely be snail-paced in our country. A safer world, microbe-wise will probably be a long time coming. But I don’t fret that I cannot fly, see friends, eat out. I’m prepared to be cave-bound for another 24 months.

Should I have signed up for Mars? Seriously, I look to the sacrifices of my forebears and see this as minuscule compared to what they had to do to survive and secure the future.

I’m grateful to be healthy, safe and alive. I hope to stay strong, sane and sensible. I pray I survive and thrive. I believe in miracles, but I am prepared for long-term cave life.