To Stay Home or Not To Stay Home

Welcome to our inaugural installment of Truthful Thursday and Day 3 of Blogmas. I’ve decided that Thursday’s are going to be the days where we tell the truth about our thoughts and feelings surrounding topics that can feel too taboo. I know that I may be opening the door to a host of reckless comments but I’m a discussion person. I truly enjoy reading comments and listening to perspectives that are different than mine even if things get a little passionate. As long as conversations remain respectful I’m all for it.

Let’s get started.

Here’s the question: In the midst of Covid-19, a Global Pandemic is it socially responsible to travel outside of your home for anything that is non-essential?

*Let me know what you think in the comments!*

In my opinion it is socially irresponsible broadly, but I have friends who have hosted birthday parties in other states, thrown large parties in their homes, celebrations in other countries, and are traveling for leisure because ticket prices are so affordable during this pandemic. I have friends for whom life has not changed at all since our initial lockdown.

And, to be honest, sometimes it irks me.

At the same time I know that if I wasn’t initially helping care for my high risk grandparents and if I wasn’t high risk myself, I might have done those exact same things in the beginning. I think that for the first few months I truly felt invincible to the virus. I felt like if it wasn’t going to affect me it didn’t matter if I travelled or hosted get togethers. I put down payments on amazing looking vacations and promised that I would go on trips with every intention of following through.

I say all of that to say. I GET IT. Lot’s of us are young, and feel invincible – there are major life events happening, travel is affordable and accessible right now, and being there for the people you love is really important.

Then, two things happened to switch my opinions and convictions.

  1. My pastor shared an excellent sermon about how important it is to be our brother’s keeper. About how it is our biblical mandate to care for the people in the margins. About how our decisions about whether or not to stay home on a daily basis should be made as if it is our most favorite elderly family member with a compromised immune system staying in our homes. Would I take this trip if I knew that it could take the life of someone I personally love and need no matter how many precautions I take? For me, on every occasion no matter how big or small – even in regards to our very own wedding day the answer was a resounding no.
  2. I started reading a book about integrity that a friend brought me. In the first chapter the author talks about integrity meaning that you stick to your convictions no matter how inconvenient they become. I realized that I couldn’t openly share every post I saw about staying safe and staying home only to get in my car or on a plane once I got tired of being in quarantine.

This year I had to say no to travel for things that I would’ve initially been at in a heartbeat, and it wasn’t easy. I’m a family person and a people pleaser at my core so there were tears, and convictions, and endless conversations with people I trust.

For me, having said no to so many things for so many months has sent me time and time again to a place where I start to resent the people who will not stay at home. I have wanted to say so many things to so many people y’all. You don’t understand. Then, I’m convicted about that. The truth is, I don’t know their circumstances, core values, or the intricacies of their lives or their families.

For one person, a visit home may be the last time they see a loved one who’s health has been in decline.

For another person this may be the only opportunity they will ever have to see their dream city before a medical condition claims their bodies.

For another person they may just have received a proposal they have dreamt of for years, and have resolved that nothing is going to prevent their celebration.

There are so many possibilities and so many considerations.

Objectively, I want to say. STAY HOME! *eye roll emoji* oh my gosh…

Then I’m reminded that it is not always that simple. Personally or systemically. It could be that simple… with some sharing of resources and some government intervention but that is a conversation for another time.

I’ve got to come to a conclusion because it’s date night.

So, my opinion is to consider your risks and the risk level of anyone you will ever be within 6 feet of either directly or indirectly. Consider yourself asymptomatic at all times. On a daily basis if you are a carrier who could be affected if you chose to travel or be closer than 6 feet to someone outside of your household could more people be infected? – If I am heading to Costco at 12:00pm on Thursday is it likely that I will be six feet from Lexington and his 4 toddlers? No, probably not. Guess I’m waking up at the crack of dawn to head to Costco, or grabbing groceries after work. Ask yourself, If I choose to do this thing could more people potentially contract this virus or become a carrier if I am an asymptomatic carrier? If the answer is yes find an alternative if possible. Get groceries delivered, carry hand sanitizer, wear gloves, stay six feet away from everyone even walking through the park. Navigate the world as if you are patient zero.

This takes critical thinking folks… in our everyday lives.

It took a collective effort to reduce the number of cases initially, and it will take a collective effort and probably a vaccine to knock the virus out completely. Also though, my opinion continues into not shaming folks who choose to handle this differently than you. You don’t know the full story most of the time. If you really want to influence people to stay home for the sake of medical professionals, people dealing with crippling mental health conditions alone, and high risk populations who would also like their lives back then share your stories and do the thing. Lead by example. Make it a big thing again. Peer pressure can either work for us or against us. Did I just encourage peer pressure? Hmmm. I’ll have to chat with myself about that later.

Okay, I really have to wrap this now but I hope that I can chat with some of you *respectfully* in the comments tomorrow!

Let me know where you stand.

A few things for the record:

I can say that if you are going to choose non essential travel or choose to be exposed to a bunch of people at an airport, party, or other event it is then really irresponsible to not quarantine for fourteen days. I think that’s a major key. Asymptomatic carriers of the virus continuing their regular routines… but that again is a whole other conversation for another time.

Also, Just for the record if you’re gonna encourage folks to stay home for the greater good just so you know…pushing collectivism in the United States is a doozy unless it has to do with nationalism so prepare yourself and your temper for those responses.

That’s all I got for tonight.

Much love to you all,

J

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