In February of this year, my friends and I decided to spend a weekend at the beach. It was around the time when the coronavirus was just breaking out. At the time, the virus was not enough of a threat to hinder movements or necessitate any social distancing measures of any kind. So we had a fabulous time throughout. It was a great way to start the year.

Soon after we came back from our hangout, the earth seemed to be tipping over on its axis. It seemed as though every terrible thing that could possibly happen was happening at the same time. I have often thought that that hangout we had in February might have been our last chance in the world at ever having any kind of outdoor fun activity that was not restrained in any way. Thankfully, some semblance of normalcy is gradually returning to the world and so we were able to hang out again, this time at an Airbnb.

It was a long-needed rest. I’m proud to say I didn’t do any work throughout. I don’t remember even thinking about work. As a software engineer, I often find that any time not spent working is time spent thinking about work, even if only subconsciously; and this is quite taxing. It is difficult to take a break when your work is very much integrated into your life. Sometimes it is necessary to change the environment altogether.

The neighborhood of the Airbnb was serene. The apartment was spacious and the furnishings were elegant. The kitchen was bigger than my room. We gisted while preparing meals and played games and watched movies every one of the three nights we spent there. On Saturday we went to the beach for some relaxation and took pictures and played volleyball and ate grilled fish.

The previous hangout took place at the end of February — the second month of this year. This recent one took place at the end of November — the second to the last month of the same year. I like how it happened around the same time at both ends of the year. It is my hope that in the same way that our first hangout gave way to a period of great turmoil and devastation, this last hangout will mark a conclusion of that period. I know it is a naive hope especially when you consider the weird logic on which it rests. But it is hope nonetheless and I will draw from it the optimism with which to face the future.

Thank you for reading. Happy new month!