Letters From Home: 'I'm 24 Years Old And I Am Finally Watching the Sunset'
WOSU's Letters from Home collects stories about day-to-day lives during the coronavirus pandemic. This week, we're continuing to answer the question: What has been the most surprising challenge you've faced from physical distancing?
See what your fellow Ohioans have answered below.
Eryn Reynolds from Columbus
I am 24 years old and I have never watched the sunset. Don’t get me wrong, I have seen the sun rise and fall many times in my lifetime, but I’ve never actually taken the time to truly experience it. I never felt it was important enough compared to the other million and a half things I needed to do during the golden hour.
As an entertainer, I am typically working in the evenings, setting up for a gig, putting a face on, the hustle and bustle that goes on backstage before the show. It’s all so fast paced, all the time.
It’s 7:45 p.m. The crispness of the air and the calmness of the colorful clouds soothes that part of me that desperately needed to slow down. I can finally figure out who I am, or at least who I want to be without the distraction of others telling me what I should be. I’m no longer comparing myself to others because there’s no one around to compare myself to. I don’t have anyone telling me how fast my progress should be because we don’t know when that progress is going to be put into practice. It’s exhilarating.
I’m 24 years old and I am finally watching the sunset. I finally understand what all the hype is about in all those sappy rom-com movies. This is an experience I will never take for granted again.
Lia Eastep from Columbus
I was laid off from my full-time job in May of 2019. While the country was experiencing one of its most robust economies in history, I couldn't find work. Then, in February of 2020, I had a burst of interviews. On March 13, I was made a tentative offer (it was to be a permanent position, but the new uncertainty shifted the offer to full-time contract for the first couple of months). The following week, I went into an empty office to pick up a laptop and have been working from home ever since.
I have only met my co-workers once, during the interview.
Joshua from Westerville
Biggest challenge? Not getting to see my friends.
Anonymous from Columbus
I live with my partner, but as he often travels for work and I work and do a lot of activities in the evenings, we're not used to spending this much time together. The first couple weeks of stay-at-home orders were really hard—being around each other all the time. It came to a head after two weeks, when we had a huge fight that I thought might end our relationship.
The fight shed light on aspects of our relationship that were problematic, but that we had swept under the rug when we were both busy. Working through that this past month has been really hard, personally, because I have had to confront some of my own bad habits and characteristics. I’ve had to do this alone, because it's harder to get together with friends and family.
Ren Leaflight from Columbus
My first impulse when people are suffering is to help. Physical distancing limits what we can do for each other. I have put myself on a list at the Wexner Medical Center to volunteer non-specialist help if they need it.
I mowed the lawn of a neighbor who is unable to get out, delivered food to my "quarantine buddy," donated to the food bank, and I will donate my stimulus check. Still, I feel it is so little in the face of great need.
Judith Crane from Columbus
While sheltering at home, I am finishing a quilt I have had for 10 years. It is my mother-in-law's last quilt she made (of over 50). She was unable to finish this last one as she aged. She passed away at age 85.
Now, it is as if we are still quilting together.
George Marshall Jr. from Dublin, Ohio
We have a blended family, so being away from my oldest daughter (7) has been very difficult. I just started a divorce as the precautions for COVID-19 were being introduced, so it has been difficult to go through a contested divorce having to be shelter-in-place together.
Abby Kidd from New Albany, Ohio
I have deeply enjoyed the quality family time we've had, having Zoom happy hours with old friends and family... doing some new things like family workouts from home and getting to work with my 6-year-old on his kindergarten distance learning. That said, I noticed that even though I feel fine most of the time, I cry ANY and ALL times that I see anything emotionally touching on TV. All of the "We are in this together" commercials, news stories of lives lost, people who are our everyday heroes—they all make me tear up.
I've noticed a dramatic spike in my 4-year-old's meltdowns too. I see these episodes as her way of relieving the tension she is feeling inside as well. So, I'm trying to stay patient and show our children empathy and understanding.
Doing this day in and day out while being under the global uncertainty and stress that comes from a lack of control just gets to be a lot sometimes. It just makes me so very tired some days.
Anonymous from Columbus
Very quickly, I discovered my older parents were suffering emotionally because I chose not to return home to Tennessee in February when they first pleaded with me to do so. At the time, I couldn't justify quitting my job to shelter on their farm. I believed my personal good health meant I was low risk and obligated to carry on. I was soon sent to work from home, however, and quickly after informed that two people in my workplace had been confirmed COVID19 cases.
My family was relieved to know I was able to work from home, and again pressed me to return to Tennessee. I cannot in good faith go home due to my potential exposure to the virus as well as living with a partner who is still going into their workplace.
I struggle with having built a barrier of excuses and lies between myself and my family that keeps me both physically separate and precludes the much-needed emotional closeness of being totally honest.
Megan Green from Bexley, Ohio
Having time to stay home with our younger children is an experience that I hope we look back on with fond memories, instead of what feels like daily bouts of anxiety—fights of brother against sister, and the nagging of chores and online learning. We've added daily walks into our routine and take turns with evening activities, making sure everyone gets a chance to share in someone else's interests. We do our best to eat around the dinner table, join online learning-based exercises as a family, while still celebrating birthdays and milestones.
As a creative, I'm also filled with hope by the ingenuity, inspiration and the DIY attitude that artists continue to share. As a parent, I'm filled with fear. As a person, I'm overwhelmed.
Join the conversation! This week's prompt features the question, What accomplishment are you most proud of lately?
Answer this question using the form below, and try to keep below 1,000 words. Your response may be edited for length and clarity.