07 Jan Staying Home Brought Me Closer to Family and Art
With more time at home during the pandemic, Juan Mendoza has created artworks such as this one “to detach from the world” and give him something he “was happy to look at,” he writes. (Illustration by Juan C. Mendoza)
By Juan C. Mendoza
Staying home hasn’t been the most enjoyable part of this pandemic, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for growth and new beginnings. I remember talking to one of my good friends, Hugo, the day after the first stay-home order was reported on the news.
“How long do you think it’s going to last?” asked Hugo.
“I don’t know, but I hope it isn’t that long,” I said, not yet knowing how long this pandemic would play out or that it would last the rest of the year.
Through the months of staying inside my house and once-in-a-while visits to loved ones, I’ve learned it’s not all that bad being confined to my room after relearning how to go about my time.
I was accustomed to a routine of waking up, going to work, doing schoolwork and going to sleep. I was going through the motions of life, and I had little time for moments of enjoyment. When COVID flooded Contra Costa County and staying home was enforced by the governor, I felt a mix of emotions and had thoughts racing through my head.
Suddenly, I had to stay at home; I had to pass the time by doing something out of my routine. I had to rekindle my interests in old hobbies and gain new ones. My original routine didn’t let me play guitar as much as I wanted, but quarantine allowed me to dive back in and create sounds that ignited my passion for music again. I also found myself drawing and sketching to detach from the world and create a figure I was happy to look at. I even got into plants and have a whole bunch scattered around my room. Something about caring for plants allowed me to find a calmness within myself, and I learned about responsibility and caring for another being.
Through learning about myself and what I enjoyed again, I found myself around my family a lot more. It wasn’t just saying goodbye as I walked out the front door anymore. Instead, I’m saying good morning to my mom and asking my sister how online schooling was going for her as I too was taking online classes. I had never really felt too close to my family members. I felt detached, but quarantine forced me to spend more time with them, and I’m so thankful. I love them, and I’m glad I’m stuck in a house with them. I love seeing my mom in the morning, and she’s smiling even though we’re going through hard times. Seeing my sister coming out of her room for the first time in the middle of the day and looking for food. Saying what’s up to my brother when he gets home from work.
Watching the news and seeing the cases rise every single day also made me want to stay inside. I began to look at quarantine from an objective viewpoint, to stop the rising of cases, like the CDC said. At one point, I found myself wanting to go out so bad and almost making plans with my friends just because I was bored. But I told myself, “What was the point of the previous months of quarantining, if I was just going to go out now?” I thought about those who lost their lives and those who lost loved ones to the coronavirus and saw that quarantine is doing good for others. Staying at home is actually the best thing to do if you care about other people’s well-being.
As we continue through the pandemic, I hope to find more within myself and I hope for a better tomorrow. I hope that others find the positive aspects of being stuck at home like I have. This isn’t just about me or any one single person. This takes a community to ensure a good future for us all. It’s hard seeing small family-owned businesses fall out and the hurt this pandemic has brought, but I’m also sad seeing how many lives we’re losing because some people don’t take this as seriously as they should. I fear for my family even more than before, but I know finding things I enjoy to get me through this pandemic has helped me substantially.