Defining Space In A Pre And Post Pandemic World

How our spaces shape and define who we are.

Janice M. Flanders
ILLUMINATION
Published in
4 min readAug 21, 2021

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Photo by Ben Blennerhassett

I am highly skeptical about the concept of space. People claim to respect and treasure it. Is this just lip service? Do we pretend to value the space of others? Are we de-valuing the space we have for ourselves?

I grew up in a family of seven. I was the 5th child, to be exact. Having my own space was a precious commodity. I would go to outlandish lengths to secure this ever-illusive household prize. One of my favorite place spaces in my childhood home was underneath my grandmother’s bed.

She lived with us too, and she had this huge four-poster oak bed. It was as tall as it was wide and had sturdy, ornately carved legs. There was plenty of room underneath, and my then-child-sized body fit nicely. My grandmother usually spent her days outside in our backyard, helping my Mom tend to our garden or pruning flowers from our rose bushes or fruit trees. While she was outside, I had plenty of time to go in her room and read, play or nap. I read many a book and had daydreams galore underneath that bed.

Space can have boundaries or be boundless. Some people have no qualms about invading another’s personal space. Space invaders. Remember the pre-pandemic world? You know them, those people who always stood too close behind you in the checkout line. Even though the lines were almost empty. I’m sure the 6 feet of social distancing guidelines this past year had them seething.

Like millions of other people, I was in lockdown/shelter in place with my family. Safe, in cocoon-like spaces at home. Whether it was Zoom-ing with friends or scrolling through social media, everything was cozy, adventurous. It felt like having an extended sleepover. People were catching up on long-neglected hobbies, baking bread, day drinking, etc.

As the lockdown progressed, rumblings began to percolate, and people started growing tired of their surroundings. Many lamented they were bored by being in the spaces they were in and wanted to get out. Some said they felt cooped up and cramped. Their space had become too tight.

To be fair not everyone’s idea of space during the pandemic was idyllic. Relationship dynamics inside households were pretty good for some…

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Janice M. Flanders
ILLUMINATION

Writer/Journalist. Artist. Environmental Justice Advocate. Social Media Analyst. Friend to the Planet and it’s creatures. I love words, birds, and nerds.