Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone*, and it wasn’t until I penned these words in a recent blog: “I will appreciate my third spaces: the coffeeshop and libraries I drop in to write, to meet a friend, and the resulting greatly missed face-to-face deep conversations,” that I realized how much I enjoy experiencing the different scents, vibes, and colorful backdrops of others as they go about life.

Third spaces became popular in the early 2000’s as more people began telecommuting and traveling for occupations. These destinations provide a stop between home and office, with the ability to work between appointments and to convene a meeting…while enjoying a hot cup of Joe, steaming out-of-the-oven bagels or chocolate chip cookies. Even libraries are a hit. Talking to people is still a no-no, but you can escape to a different era or destination by flipping through magazines of beautiful glossy pictures!

As additional weeks of social distancing are checked-off my calendar, I’ve gotten creative with where to spend my time and co-existing with three others as we “shelter in place”. Regardless of your home’s square footage, there are areas you can repurpose too. Take a walk around and look at your spaces from a new vantage point:

  • Clear an attic space and put down a colorful throw rug – voilà, instant artist loft!
  • Pop up an outdoor table in a sunny hallway – start the garden you’ve wanted to plant.
  • Do you have a fancy, museum room that gets walked by, but rarely sat in? How can you make it more comfortable for a puzzle table, afternoon reading, a nap, even a wood working shop!

Had you stopped over a few weeks ago, you would have found me quietly drafting this blog in our 1928 wood-paneled dining room, at the table that has hosted countless characters and dinner parties, over the four generations it has been with my family. As I wrote, I could almost hear the voices of the past owners and guests debating the current events and economy. (If only walls and tables could talk!).

The other night, as all four of us “needed alone space,” I ventured outside to a wrought iron lounge chair to read while watching the sunset. The view of the western sky is unblocked, with the exception of a few tree tops and the roofline of a barn-home. It’s the quintessential moment of peace and tranquility, and it’s out my side door, yet I can’t tell you the last time I’ve enjoyed it.

And because the yoga studio is closed, I’m not out the door for a 6am candle-lit class. I’m reclaiming some alone-time, nestled against pillows in bed, with my notebook and coffee, while listening to the birds wake up. My journal entries are getting longer and deeper as I navigate these new adventures or difficulties, depending on which side of the bed I woke up on.

It’s true, I really miss my friends and our face-to-face interactions. But one of the silver linings found in these past weeks of isolations has given me an appreciation for rethinking spaces…including a phone nook! I’ve challenged my kids and myself to reach out and have a conversation by calling or Facetiming one friend daily. My calls used to be while alone in the driver’s seat, now they are from a cushy window seat!

I’d love to hear how you’re creatively rethinking function in your home.

*lyrics: Big Yellow Taxi – various performers.