Reading over Jessica Burde’s post on personal space, I’m reminded of another important thing that came out during our room redesign and redecoration. Clearly, Lora is a person who needs her personal space, and it needs to involve a door that can be shut to block out the world. I didn’t realize that I had a need for personal space that also had to be private until I came to terms with how much I hated the spare bedroom, and how I didn’t want to spend any personal time in there. I felt like I didn’t have a place to go when I needed complete privacy. As our apartment does have a few rooms, it is possible for me, Jon, and Lora to all be in separate rooms if we all need personal time. But even with that available, I’ve realized that sometimes I do also want a room that I can shut the door on to block everybody out for awhile – and so does Jon.
Lora is the only one of the three of us who has both a room (and a desk) dedicated to doing things. This is in part because she’s still in school, and needs a dedicated desk to do her schoolwork at. Jon and I both tend to migrate around the apartment with our laptops and set up shop in different parts of the apartment as needed. If I want to watch a movie in the living room and Jon needs to do work, then he’ll set his laptop up at the kitchen table. But what if Jon or me wants some of that “closed door” alone time? In our previous bedroom design, we were pretty shit out of luck. The spare bedroom didn’t have a desk and was not configured in a way that make it conducive to being a restful alone space (given my dislike of the room, I’d allowed it to become horribly messy). The communal bedroom was doubling as Lora’s private room. As all the other rooms need to be walked through to get elsewhere in the apartment, there is no way to get true privacy except in the bedrooms.
Now that Lora is in the spare bedroom (and has moved her desk into it), Jon tentatively broached the idea that he would like to have a desk in the communal bedroom. He also wants have a private hideaway when he needs one. He asked so hesitantly that it took me a few moments to parse that it was actually an important request. He wasn’t sure if there was enough room and was afraid to make it sound too important, since he would rather the room felt good to all of us than feel too crowded if putting a desk in it was too much.
We’re not yet done working on the bedrooms, but I gave a resounded yes to the desk. Jonathan asks for things infrequently enough that I want to give him what he wants unless the request is so enormously difficult or impractical that implementing it would cause other problems. In this case, the room will be a little more crowded, but I think that’s well worth it for him to have his own little nook. Other furniture can be discarded or repurposed in another room if needed.
So where does that leave me when I need private space? I think that Jon and I will need to share the communal bedroom as a private space place. I haven’t spoken to him yet, but given that our needs for a totally private space are fairly infrequent, I think it’s quite likely that one of us could say to the other “I really need some private alone time, so I’m going to go into the communal bedroom and close the door for a few hours. Is that OK?” and it would be fine. If I was looking for completely private space, I wouldn’t want to sit at a desk – but I would want to curl up on the bed with a book and some hot cocoa. The communal bedroom will work well for that. And now we have another potential problem taken care of.