Seven days of no blogging? Geez. I had no idea it’s been that long. Being a “bread winner” is apparently taking its awful toll.

I have been meaning to blog this but never really found the time to. Last Thursday, Abe, Juned, Markku, Marc and I were talking about “personal space” and how it can affect your outlook in life. It never really occurred to me, but when you’re talking to Mr. Psych Guy Juned, you can’t help but think about it.

Gail’s cool aquarium

I grew up sharing a room with my grandma and my younger sister. My parents were busy people, and they slept really late. Good thing my grandma lived with us—my sister and I were scared of the dark (we still are, actually). She told us Bible stories and sometimes fairy tales before putting us to bed. My sister would always be the first to fall asleep, while I remember taking about an hour or two listening to my grandma snore.

I think we shared the room with her till I was about ten years old. We transferred to another of my grandma’s property not long after that. But my sister and I still shared a room in our new home. Sometimes we would stay in our parents’ room, but most of the time, it was just the two of us and the family cat (yeah, we had a cat, and all our dogs at that time were terrified of him).

Though my sister and I shared a room, we always made it a point to respect each other’s things. It was like an unwritten rule that if you’d like to borrow a toy, you should ask first regardless of the fact that it was probably just lying around (our room looked like a hurricane disaster area all the time—our parents really got their money’s worth hiring a housemaid and a nanny). This is probably one of the reasons why sometimes I still get a bit miffed when Marc suddenly decides to wear my pinky shorts without asking (well, other than the fact that I think it’s totally gay). Marc grew up in a family of five kids, where there was practically no such thing as “personal” and all your stuff are communal property. But then again, we didn’t have any pre-nuptial agreement whatsoever, so I guess I’ll just have to learn not to get pissed whenever Marc uses my things without asking (“what’s yours is mine, what’s mine is mine…” oops! Hehe).

Anyway, going back.

Although sharing a room wasn’t exactly what you’d consider as “private,” my sister and I always felt that we were “invading” the other’s privacy whenever we tried to sleep on the other’s bed. Our beds were our personal spaces. We hid our candy shares under our mattresses, strew toys all over our beds. It was like a mortal sin to touch things that weren’t yours.

It was my mom’s idea that we should have our own separate rooms. And so we did. After a lot of whining and tantrum throwing, my mom gave us our own designated places in the house. I had mine painted hot pink, my sister had hers in mint green. Our house maid breathed a sigh of relief—other than having our own rooms, we were made responsible to clean up our own areas.

Turned out, I was messier than my sister ever was. My room was perpetual wreck. My stuff was all over the place that it was hard to imagine if there even was a floor.

Even if it did highlight the fact that I’m total slob, my mom’s coercion of separating into different rooms did have an advantage—I had a place in the house I could call mine.

As Abe and Juned put it, having your own place in the house would help you become more independent. No matter how little that place is, it’s still yours. And you’re responsible for it. Even if it’s just teeny weeny aquarium—it’s still yours. If your friends come to visit, you can proudly say, “Pare, this is my aquarium. This is me in this house.”

So, what’s your aquarium?