By Assunta Ng
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
To men, it might not be a big deal whether a woman wears earrings. To us women, earrings are part of our femininity, if not identity. I have spent more time deciding what earrings to wear than my outfit. It has been months since I wore earrings and attractive clothes. What happened to a ritual that I fondly enjoyed in the past! Why bother to make ourselves look nice when we don’t meet with friends, don’t go anywhere, and isolate ourselves during COVID! And wearing a mask does not make us feel charming at all.
I realized I have been wearing the same few sets of clothes every day last year. My ear piercings almost closed. COVID has stolen my desire for vanity, pleasures, audacity, and adventures!
When friends asked me out to lunch, it was a wake-up call to put my life back together. I decided to start wearing my jewelry again, including a pretty pair of earrings. How much we had neglected ourselves during the virus! And how many of you had skipped your dental and physical check-ups?
Our lives have been halted in a pandemic. It’s time we take care of serious business after vaccination.
Honoring the dead
I wish I could have been present at the services of a couple of friends who died from different causes, and console their families. Yet, funerals were impossible during COVID. COVID has killed many loved ones, and many families and loved ones were unable to give them a full service. Now that many of us have been vaccinated, the deceased deserve a proper and dignified celebration of life ceremony. This time, it should be held in an outdoor venue, due to COVID, with food, possibly a picnic or lunch. In Chinese culture, it is important to have a meal after the service.
The program is about a positive celebration of someone’s life, so it should be filled with animated (and not sad) stories. What can we learn from our dear ones who died so suddenly and tragically!
If the deceased was a Buddhist, go with a Buddhist ceremony to guide his/her soul towards reincarnation. If you are Catholic, perhaps, a mass. It’s better late than never. If you can’t do any of the above, go visit his/her grave and bring flowers or a letter for your loved ones to say your final goodbyes.
Turn a new page in your life
COVID has prompted many of us to make unforeseen changes in our life. Someone said, “If I have to go back to work in the office, I will look for a new job (for remote work).” Or, “Time for us to have a baby,” said a couple who thought they didn’t want to have kids before the pandemic. Or, “I want to retire.” Or, “This is the land on my bucket list to visit.”
Perhaps, “I want to move” to another city or state. It’s time to move on to a new chapter of our lives for new challenges or environments. Do it before you regret that you have not made it happen.
Dental care and life expectancy
It’s bad to postpone your teeth cleaning. In several surveys, dentists said there was an increase in broken teeth and dental emergencies during the pandemic.
According to the Oral Health Foundation, a study on tooth loss and mortality has shown the number of teeth we have is significantly correlated to our life expectancy. Results found that those with 20 teeth or more at the age of 70 had a considerably higher chance of living longer than those with fewer than 20 teeth.
A friend of mine said she has her teeth cleaned and checked thrice a year. Because of the pandemic, she skipped her dental appointment, and tried to take care of her own teeth by brushing after every meal.
Over brushing your teeth can wear off your teeth’s enamel protection. I didn’t miss any of my regular dental appointments last year. My dentist’s office is clean and safe. She follows all the safety precautions and state guidelines. At the entrance, my temperature was checked and I had to gargle off with her disinfectant before she proceeded. I was comfortable during the whole procedure. Go see your dentist.
If you have skipped your annual physical check-up in 2020, it’s time to do one this year. But I did miss my eye checkup for more than a year, and I need to do it soon.
I was lucky that I had my physical check-up before the lockdown. Recently, I had another check-up. Early detection of any disease, including cancer, is critical for cure.
A couple of routine check-ups include getting your urine and blood sample to detect any type of illness. It’s not the most pleasant thing to be poked with a needle to get your blood drawn. I am always amazed at what science can tell about your health from a tiny drop of blood. It reveals your cholesterol level, iron level, vitamin B, and glucose. Any detection of diseases, including cancer or stroke, liver or kidney malfunction, can be shown from a lab report.
It puts your mind at ease to see your lab test results come back normal. If not, you can work to improve any issues. Awareness is a prerequisite for health.
Some friends have also been postponing mammographies. Now is the time to do it.
Lately, I also had my bone density checked. It’s efficiently done and quite safe. It took about 35 minutes from the time I arrived at the clinic to finishing the task. Schedule an appointment once a week or every other week so you don’t get too overwhelmed with all the medical procedures.
The beauty business
For a year, I didn’t wear much make-up. What for? No one can see us. No lip stick because the mask would smear it. I was not in the mood to make myself look great. Vanity gives me no joy or pride in the past months. After the vaccination, I changed my attitude. It’s not a matter of looking good, it’s part of self-love and the joy of living.
Besides changing our outfits every day, I had a revelation that much of my clothing should go to Goodwill, but I just don’t want to let go. I am working on my reckoning. As for make-up, I will not wear it as long as we have our masks on. It’s pointless. If there’s any consolation to this new habit, I am saving quite a bit of money, but it’s not good for the economy.
Activities with loved ones
Summer is coming soon. My brother is organizing a family trip with his grandkids to Alaska. It’s good to have reunions with your loved ones. Domestic travel is now a hit. Take those trips you have been postponing. Plan them with safety in mind. Rent a trailer for family fun. And be careful.
If you hold parties at home, you should organize them in your yard. The outdoors is the best venue. Forget about fancy venues for elaborate partying. A picnic or barbecue in the park or wilderness is a good choice.
We lost too much last year, including loved ones. We have too many sad memories. Let’s make it up this summer and live our precious moments.
Assunta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.