My blogger friend Ann talked about the idea of open concept living space the other day.  You know, the thing commonly seen on HGTV, where all walls are eliminated, and costly beams are placed in the ceiling to support a wall less structure.  I commented that I read recently that people are taking to their basements to gain privacy.  I guess what people failed to realize is, everyone one needs a little time to oneself.

Now you all know that I live in a very small apartment.  Middle class New Yorkers are know to utter “Our apartments are our bedrooms, and the city is our living room.”  That’s how we console ourselves by living in tiny places- we talk about how we are always out and about, doing all sorts of wacky things.  But trust me, though you all know I love doing all the things the city has to offer, sometimes I need some time, and space to myself.

I don’t have a large bedroom- it true New Yorker fashion, we split our living room in half – one half living room and one half bedroom.  I don’t have a sanctuary, I have a bed, two nightstands, a vanity and a shelf.  I spend almost no time in my bedroom.  It just isn’t big enough.  My entire apartment has 3 closets.  3.  These closets store clothes for 3 people and vacuums, brooms and all the assorted household items one might need.  We have a storage locker in our communal basement to house luggage, skis, holiday decorations and extra toilet paper and paper towels.  We literally do not have room for these things within our apartment proper.  We have one bathroom- we literally schedule bathroom time.  I promised Cynthia that I would do a post on my very tiny kitchen, so I’ll talk about that separately.  I don’t have an office- I have a small desk tucked into a corner of the living room.  I usually bring my laptop to my dining table to write, because I have enough space on that to hold a cup of tea or glass of water.

This is my reality and I’m OK with that.  This is how I choose to live, even though most don’t understand it.

But, while I’ve adjusted to minimal square footage, I have never really adjusted to having no time to myself.  We obviously have no space for a she cave or anything like that.  Spending time alone is my biggest challenge.  Let me rephrase that, having time alone when I am not doing something practical is my biggest challenge.

Now, my Husband was supposed to go on a business trip this week- a convention in Nashville.  I was looking forward to this.  Oh, how I was looking forward to this.  For the most part, my teenage daughter is not needy- she is fairly self sufficient.  Husband…not so much.  He requires attention.  I’m usually OK with giving attention, but sometimes……

So, when Husband’s trip got cancelled the other day (pressing work issues precipitated by changes that were not forecast) I was the one that was the most upset.  I was lookin forward to 4 days of not having him around.

I know- some of you think I’m horrible.  But really, I planned on writing a lot.  I planned on going through my shoes- I know I have shoes I really don’t wear anymore and i’d rather give them away to someone who might make better use of them.  I wanted to reorganize one of my kitchen cabinets.  These are things that take a lot of thought- when you have small spaces and limited cabinets, you must completely empty more than one area, you must regroup and consider each items worth- you ask, do I really need this?  When did I last use it?  Is it difficult or costly to replace?  Trust me, New Yorkers have been asking these questions long before Marie Kondo.  This takes awhile.  It also means there are a lot of things hanging out in yoru living room.  A living room that is tiny to begin with.

I also planned on sitting on the couch and watching some Hallmark mystery channel movies that I DVR’ed a few months ago.  Ones that I just haven’t had a two hour block in which to watch.  Because we only have 1 TV and I can’t/won’t watch on my computer.

I also wanted an hour to just stare at the wall.

So I was a bit deflated, knowing that I would not have a little time to myself.  I still need to figure out how to recharge my very depleted internal battery.

This time of year is busy.  I always joke that I have a HUGE social life from September 1 to January 2, and from April 1 to June 30.  For me, it seems like its all or nothing.  But during the “all” times, I know I have to schedule some down time.  I am no different from a toddler that requires a time out.  I need a time out.  I would like a really comfy chair in the corner to just sit in and stare at the wall, and not have anyone bother me for at least 12 minutes.  (FYI- my husband went to the gym the other day- he joint texted my daughter and I and told us he couldn’t get the gym wifi to work on his phone at the gym- he couldn’t get Spotify.  Because you know, I’m the person to call if the gym’s wifi is not working.  Fearing he was going to ask me to sing into the phone so he could run, I suggested he turn off his phone and turn it on again- reboot- what a concept)  But you get what I mean- I’m never safe from questions.

And now I know it will be full throttle from now till New Years.  But I need a break.  I may lock myself in one of my three closets and hide from the family.  Or maybe I will bring a comfy chair down to the storage locker.

Right now- I need a little space.

59 thoughts on “Closed Concept

  1. I feel your pain! I am so lucky to live in a house that is now too big for us, so in theory have lots of me time- but somehow, to remain undisturbed by phones, husbands (he’s just come in to talk again) that I end up in the coffee shop to write.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I understand how you feel. When I work a Saturday at the library I have Friday off. I really enjoy the time alone on those Friday mornings(even though a lot of it is spent cleaning bathrooms). The last 2 Fridays off I had, my wife tele-worked. So I not only lost my time alone, but also had to listen to her business calls all day. My next Friday off is our travel day to NYC. It might be mid-December before I get one alone again.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This touches on so many thoughts . . . mostly, it made me think of my brother who has lived in NYC for over 30 years. When he was in college, he had one of those apartments down by A Street where the bathtub was in the kitchen and also served as the kitchen sink; when a piece of plywood was put over it, it became the kitchen counter. You could hardly turn around in the water closet. Boys. But I so get your need for space! And now, with the holidays, we all need that even more. I hope you can find it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes yes and all this. I love alone time. I’ll have 2 hours this afternoon while my husband is at work and my adult child goes to the doctor.
    “Fearing he was going to ask me to sing into the phone so he could run,” really cracked me up because I know exactly this husband. I’m married to him too.

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  5. I don’t understand people who can’t bear to be alone. How are they not insane? Unless they’re totally incompetent and useful to absolutely no-one (wonders how to channel such behaviour). I once said I felt like I was being constantly (verbally) pawed. No time for my brain to wander, no peace and quiet, only questions, requests and telling me “interesting stuff”. They looked hurt … so I never said it again, but I so do.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I have a friend like this. She hates to be alone, and not surprisingly, has to be the center of attention at all times. I love her, but in small quantities. I get overwhelmed by her constant motion and drama. She is always talking about going on vacation together (which means sharing a room of course). I just can’t do it! I love my down time too much. 🙂

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  6. I live in a smallish 2 bedroom apartment with 3 other adults and 4 cats, so I can understand your need for alone/me time…I crave it too. Especially since one of those 3 other adults is my SO, who regularly battles silence with his voice. If he’s awake and aware, he’s TALKING, and expects me to fill in those convenient gaps he leaves whenever he pauses for breath. He doesn’t understand my need for non-interactive time.

    I actively TAKE that time I need. I stick earbuds in, turn up the volume on the iPod, and walk. The music serves dual purpose – it’s noise, so it drowns out the humanity I’m putting myself in the middle of, and it’s soothing (classical, instrumentals, or some jamming things I really love). It’s also well known in my head, so it can go to the background and let my thoughts roam independent of my feet.

    Above all, when walking…I don’t answer the damn phone.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I can’t imagine how frustrating it is to never have a few moments to yourself or the space to enjoy them. I’m with James, go bundle up and hang on his terrace awhile, you owe it to yourself!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I used to crave me time when the kids were young and we were caring for my Mom. Like you, I literally had zero time to myself. The house was never empty of another human being. The drive to my office was usually the only time I had in silence. Now, the house is quiet. Too quiet. Mom has passed on, the hubs works 24 hour shifts, and the kids are grown (one is and one is almost). The silence is as deafening as the frustration of the noise used to be. Balancing this is very difficult. Maybe a long lunch or coffee bar time. A rented hotel room for the day. Turn off the cell phone. Call it an early Christmas gift to yourself. Hoping you find some internal replenishment soon.

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  9. I adore alone time. Of course, I’m an introvert so it comes with the territory. I’ve lived in small space like yours and enjoyed it, but like you said there’s lots of organizing and adjusting involved if you’re going to remain sane. I hope that you can find yourself a bit of aloneness soon. What with the holiday season approaching, crazy is lurking around every corner– and being centered is everything.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I LOVE it when my darling son goes back to his Dad’s home for a week- just me and the cat, rattling quietly around my small apartment, not speaking for a whole day… I would go BAT SHIT CRAZY if I didn’t have some quiet alone time!

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  11. Oh I love having alone time too and totally get your disappointment. I love to put my feet up on the sofa and just sit in the peace & quiet when no one is home and the best time ever is when my husband isn’t home!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We had planned on downsizing when we moved to Florida. I could picture a small two bedroom home with a small kitchen and breakfast nook. Instead, we ended up with a 3,100 sq.ft. 4 bedroom, 3 bath with formal dining room and living room along with a den and eat in kitchen. We do not need this much space, but real estate was so much cheaper here that it was difficult to turn down. It’s nice when the family is here, but there are a couple of rooms we literally never use. I call them the flyover rooms.

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  12. I totally understand your need and reading your Blog has made me feel so guilty for the space I have around me and given me a real kick up the …. to make sure I appreciate it more. I have never been a city person, I love a rural life and when we moved this year to Wales the property prices were considerably cheaper so we were able to buy a larger house with space for the family to visit and when I write and hubby paints we are in separate ends of the house, getting together again for meals and a good long walk when we can appreciate each other. How quickly we can take for granted our good fortune in life and a timely reminder to focus on gratitude never goes amiss.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. You aren’t a horrible person at all. The upside to deer season is that Sunshine is in a tree a lot, so I can tear the house apart to reorganize the kitchen cabinets and my clothes (or sit in the corner and stare at my bellybutton). I think hiding in a closet with your phone turned off isn’t a bad idea for you at this point😕

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  14. That’s a funny thing about needing and wanting space. We live in a small 2-bed bungalow that we turned into a 1-bed bungalow to get that much wanted open concept and moved the kids into the basement into rooms the size of closets (part of the reno) and now….there is no alone time. Open concept is great in theory but every single day all the time?

    I have limits.

    I look forward to Mondays (school), but especially Tuesdays and Thursdays (when he teaches out of the house and doesn’t work from home AND the kids go to school) because those days I am all alone.

    I hear you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thanks for the mention of my blog! And believe me, I understand. Until I read your post, I never realized how similar living in very small quarters is to open concept. There is no room for privacy, and for those of us who require a little “alone time,” that can be a problem.
    When I was a child, we moved from a four bedroom home to a five room apartment, and I shared a teeny bedroom with my sister. It was cozy, and I had a huge campus to run around in, but I never really liked it much. Your post has made me realize: I had nowhere in that apartment where I could get away from the rest of my family, even for a short time.
    Believe me, you have my sympathies!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. What a plan. I can imagine. I realize its not really how it is to be. You must think about future while Closed concepts formation is the title never forget. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. No, it’s not horrible. I too enjoy those times when my wife takes a trip and I can be alone. I have limited social needs and often enjoy being alone. It’s not an absolute. There can be too much of a good thing and eventually, I do want some company. But company seems easier to come by than solitude, so solitude is what I wish for more often than not.

    Liked by 1 person

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