Why I Chose to Spend the Pandemic at Home

For spring break my mom and I went to Santa Barbara; this was before the big outbreak and social distancing precautions. But as the news started rising, things began canceling, like Joan Jett concerts, physical online college courses, and jobs. With all major ties to my Salt Lake home gone, I saw it as no rush to get back. But since this loosely-made decision 2 ½ weeks ago I have become clear on a plethora of subjects ranging from my personal self to the coronavirus and to the world as a whole. 

When I initially made the decision to stay in my childhood home with my parents, I saw it as a process I had been avoiding; cleaning out my old emotional baggage. From the young age of 13, I knew I wanted to get out of Utah, especially Saint George. My reasoning all those years was that there wasn’t enough here for me. Diversity is low (but slowly rising), biases stay the same, and opportunities are limited for wild-minded people like myself. I was so caught up getting out of this town that I forgot to deal with my emotional turmoil; I guess I thought it would go away when I did. But low and behold, here I am at 22-years-old still being haunted by my younger self, as if my new Salt Lake identity is staring at my Saint George identity. It is with these split personalities that my Salt Lake persona is mad at my Saint George persona, like, "Come on, Emma, I thought you grew from this!” 

I knew this virus would bring me the perfect chance to evaluate why I am the way I am, both good and bad. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

  1. I constantly don’t forgive myself as easily as I do others. 

  2. It’s a lot easier for me to speak my truth with 3 people compared to my whole family. Therefore it’s good practice so that I eventually can speak up with my entire family. 

  3. I am becoming more like my mom in regard to how I spend my day, even though personality-wise I have always been told I’m like my dad. A prime example of this in regards to why I chose to stay here for the pandemic, because, “Why be in a basement isolated by herself when she has free food, dogs, red rocks, and company here?” This is why we get and love each other. 

  4. It is much easier for me to romanticize love in Saint George than in Salt Lake and I think this is because I see Salt Lake as a place of work and school, therefore, I am focused and grinding. Whereas in Saint George, I’m not in my more normal habits, as hard as I try, therefore, I lose focus. 

  5. Lastly, I did not embrace the warm sun well enough as a kid when I lived in Saint George, and now I'm embracing every moment I can. Hiking, picnicking, coloring outside (shout out to my mom for buying me a coloring book), playing with my dogs, and not being freezing when I step out of the hot tub.

woman sitting on a brown sofa in front of a neon sign that says Via Daniel Monteiro on Unsplash

It is through these realizations that have helped me blend my two personas together a little bit. Now, let me tell you why you care (in case you didn’t before): Our society is having a hard time right now, being enclosed in our homes and all, but perhaps it doesn’t need to be so troublesome in regard to our personal being and sanity. While we should look forward to a clear future, we must also live in the present and grow through what we go through. So take it from someone who didn’t focus on things for a bit because I thought they would blow over, they likely won’t and that is okay! Someone once told me that if something keeps coming back to your forefront, it needs your attention and care, so work on it; now is especially the time. 

It’s a hard process if you keep fighting what you need to learn. That is why I encourage you to ponder and sit with it; then it won’t be an emotional rollercoaster, it will be more like a kiddie ride. After all, you deserve to know your whole self because there is likely something in there that is amazing, that keeps you moving. Perhaps that thing has been undiscovered, so go searching for it. 

a woman sits on the edge of a deck overlooking the forest Chris Ainsworth | Unsplash