Your own space? Luxury or necessity? Discuss.

It’s hard, in a house that is full and busy, to find a space that is private. Our house is a reasonable size but we use every bit of it every day. There is no guest room or dining room that gets occasional use but can be purloined for another purpose the rest of the time.

Over the years, I have regularly daydreamed about a room of my own. In my mind’s eye I have selected tasteful decor and furnishings and know exactly to what uses it will be put. However, back on Planet Earth I know that only when a child has finally and irreversibly left home is this likely to happen and who knows when that might be, so I don’t indulge myself with that particular fantasy very often.

But having a space was becoming a genuine requirement. I have had a job for almost a year which requires me to work from home. And now I have my course too. To date, I have always set myself up in the kitchen with laptop, files, papers, coffee and gentle Elizabethan music playing in the background. This is just about satisfactory during the school day or in the evening when the kitchen is no longer required but hopeless the rest of the time. I decided I needed a desk which was for my exclusive use and where I could leave papers out without fear of coffee or worse being spilled on them. Where I could drop in and out of tasks as time or children allowed without having to pack it all away every time something pulled me back into the rest of my life.

So I wasted the best part of a morning wandering around the house with a tape measure trying to find a space that would suit. Not easy. In the end I found one square metre that I could claim as long as I had a reorganisation of the rest of the room. And so I bought myself a tiny but extendable table and some shelves and awaited delivery.

Four weeks on I am not quite there. The shelves aren’t up and I have yet to find a desk lamp that I like yet but I feel at home. And suddenly I realise how important it is to have a space dedicated to a particular task. Already when I sit at my table I feel my mind clearing, shunting to its edges the day to day details that usually fill it. I slip into the role of real solicitor or student, depending which cap I am wearing, rather than someone who is playing at it in her spare time. It gives me a sense of purpose and belonging that was lacking before. It may only be a stolen corner of a room used for other purposes but it is all mine.

The children are under strict instructions that they must treat my table as if it has a forcefield around it and that touching it or anything on it will be punishable by instant death! Over time I will work out what I really need around me, space being clearly at a premium and will create my own cocoon from which, hopefully, great things will be produced. I can’t wait.