I’m blessed to have my son and his fiancé living with me for a while during the COVID-19 pandemic. The way that all came to be is yet another blog, but for today, let me say the three of us are finding ways to merge our lives so as to have space at home to work, play, and relax.
One afternoon while Ben and I were working on a patio project, I saw Julia head up under a tall pine tree at the back of our yard, a book and coffee mug in hand. She sat down in the un-mowed grass, crossed her legs, and tucked her toes under her jeans. She had found a place to have some time to herself. She looked like the epitome of calm and serenity.
Less is More
Quite a while ago, I was reading The Not So Big House, by Minneapolis architect, Sarah Susanka. Sarah helps folks find beauty and well-being in smaller spaces, not larger ones. I was immediately struck by an acronym she named–a POYO. A Place of Your Own.
She believes everyone needs a space to call their own. A place they can hang out, store their private things, rejuvenate, shed tears, or call a friend. It can be for personal reflection and relaxation, creativity and vision, or grieving and connecting with God.
Better Late Than Never
As I pondered this idea more, I realized I never had a place to call my own. I always shared spaces with someone else. First, with my twin sister, where our bedroom was forever a compromise between what she and I wanted. Then, I had roommates in college. Soon after graduation, I married Mark and shared all my spaces with him.
When I first connected with this concept, I was many years into a recovery journey. My three children had already left home, leaving behind rooms yet to be remodeled from their childhood bedroom spaces. The wallpapers portrayed the special interests of each child—kittens, baseball players, and tennis racquets.
While I didn’t know it at the time, Mark and I had worked at creating POYOs for our kids, loving the idea of having special places for each one of them (We were blessed to have a house that allowed for that). But now was the perfect time to claim a space for myself—or as Mark would have said, several spaces!
Ready For Me
So I got to work, turning one room into an office and transforming another space into my “writing room.” I bought new furniture, painted the walls my favorite color (a soft teal), and searched for meaningful treasures representing creativity, vision, and inspiration. I also filled the room with my favorite books, soft pillows, and scented candles. It was ready for… I didn’t know what, exactly, but it was ready for me! It was my POYO.
Julia came walking back to the house after some time in the sun. She looked refreshed after a long day of work at her computer. She asked me if she could put a chair out under the tree so she could relax out there. I immediately said, Of course! Why don’t we look for something special for you and we’ll make it your POYO.
As creating a POYO often goes, creativity flowed from all of us. From my photo, you can see this space has turned into a luxurious outdoor haven of peace and tranquility. It’s Julia’s POYO.
Where’s your place?
I want to invite you to think about a POYO for yourself. Even in the smallest of homes or busiest of families, you can find a spot for yourself. Some cleared out a closet, others found a niche in the unfinished basement, some turn a corner of the garage into their own (space heater and all), others claim a corner in a quieter room with a basket for their books, journal, or other special things.
Some, like Julia, found a place in the garden or under a tree. Others, like Mark, may have a special chair that everyone knows is his —don’t sit there without permission! Even after he died, we were all reluctant to sit in Mark’s chair. We knew it belonged to him. We wanted to honor that. What place is calling your name?
We all need a spot to call our own—husbands, wives, and children. During a time of sheltering at home and spending enormous time with family members, everyone can benefit from having a POYO.
Enjoy brainstorming with your family about how to find these special places. And then, remember to respect each other’s POYO by coming in only by invitation. A POYO is a gift to yourself. And you will be a happier person when you have one, so it is a gift to others, too