I’m at that age where the memories of my youth are not even remotely fresh, yet there is one that is still as vivid as if it happened yesterday. It was the day I got my very own bedroom. I vacated the room I shared with my sister and took all my worldly goods (which probably fit in a couple of 2 cube boxes) and moved down the hall – to a room that was just mine.
At the time, I didn’t realize that my belongings were external place holders for my memories, relationships and travels in the bigger world. I didn’t understand that I was an introvert, and that I needed long stretches of alone time in order to recharge. I did know, however, that I had been given the right to close a door and by doing so, no one else would enter my space.
It was the same right to privacy that had always existed within the walls of my parent’s bedroom – a room that I only ever entered if invited to.
I was visiting one of my children a few years ago when my grandson first invoked his desire for privacy. He had his own bedroom already, but apparently it suddenly dawned on him that it wasn’t just a bedroom, it was his ‘boy cave’. He crayoned this request for privacy:
He added a few images to reinforce the perils that awaited anyone who crossed the threshold of his room!
At our house, the master bedroom and master bath room are ‘non-public’ spaces. The same goes for the contents of desk drawers, jewellery boxes and filing cabinets! I’ve rarely had occasions where my right to privacy was invaded, but it has happened. It is always a good reminder for me that others do not understand my needs or share my concept of boundaries. In the future, I will be sure to put up a “KeEp ouT!” sign, scrawled in crayon and illustrated with a skull and crossbones…
The Car Guy and I also understand that couples need their own space too, so we each have lairs that we can retreat to.
Let there be spaces in your togetherness. – Kahlil Gibran –
Perhaps this need for privacy increases as we try to live in a world where our privacy is so often invaded, and each day we inch closer to George Orwell’s Big Brother world in the book “1984”. For example:
– The sites we go to on the internet can leave a digital bread crumb for those who want to follow the trail and then bombard us with advertising or try to highjack our identity.
– Our credit cards, loyalty cards, memberships, ID numbers, library cards, medical history and every other piece of information with our name on it is controlled by companies who may, or may not be able to protect the data, nor guarantee our privacy.
– Surveillance cameras at intersections, toll booths, airports, bank machines and public spaces track our movements.
– Facebook, an internet social media company, has the largest biometric database in the world — and it’s been formed by people voluntarily submitting pictures of themselves and their friends and family to Facebook and then identifying who the faces belong to.
-If you use a cell phone, your phone provider knows who you phoned, for how long, and where you were at the time. If your cell phone remains turned on, your cell phone provider could also be keeping track of your location, minute by minute. Your computer or other such device can also give out an approximate location when you are connected to the internet.
– Some vehicle GPS systems, such as the OnStar service offered by GM, can collect and store information such as speed and global position.
– Google street view – I’m glad we have a row of tall trees screening our property…
The last bastion of privacy, then, is inside your home – or maybe the bathroom in your home, if you have children! How does privacy work in your home? How strongly do you feel about it?