Adjusting to sheltering in place

by Yvonne Ahearn –

What Does Home Mean To You?

Like most people, I’m at home, adjusting to sheltering in place, and thinking about what is going on in the rest of the world. A lot has changed quickly during this Pandemic, and I suspect some things will never be the same. Many questions and scenarios run through my mind. As a realtor, but also as a homeowner, wife, and mother, I think about my Kailua home and its value: both financial and emotional. How will that change as time passes? How will we be living in our homes in the future? Right now, my home primarily means good health and safety for my family. I’ll worry about the value later.

Learning to live with Shelter in Place
Adjusting to Sheltering in Place

Faith Popcorn & Cocooning

As my thoughts wander, I remember a blast from the past: thought leader and futurist, Faith Popcorn. If you’re a part of Gen X like I am, or a “Boomer,” you might recall that she coined the term “Cocooning.” Her book, The Popcorn Report, came out in 1991 and described a movement where humans would evolve to both living and working from home. Cocooning was not a just a fad, but a certain and constantly evolving trend. Having identified it at the start of the trend, in the ’80s, she has proven to be spot-on in the direction of where we might head. Cocooning, according to Ms. Popcorn, is:

“the impulse to go inside when it just gets too tough and scary outside. To pull a shell of safety around yourself, so you’re not at the mercy of a mean, unpredictable world – those harassments and assaults that run the gamut from rude waiters and noise pollution to crack-crime, recession and AIDS. Cocooning is about insulation and avoidance, peace and protection, coziness and control-a sort of hyper-nesting.”

Starting in the ’80s, the trend toward Cocooning was evidenced in many facets of our lives. For example, there were businesses like Blockbuster. Instead of going out to the movies, we brought them home. Take-out and fast food became even more prevalent.

Learning to live with Shelter in Place
Adjusting to Sheltering in Place

Cocooning in the ’90s and 2000s

In the ’90s, the Internet only intensified the trend toward Cocooning. We started online banking, online shopping, online dating, online everything! Thanks to the Internet, we can do almost anything now from the comfort of our homes. Also, in the ’90s, alternative work schedules and work from home evolved from “pilot programs.” Flash forward twenty years and working from home now is common.

You might remember 9/11 as, perhaps, the first time you thought about safety in even very public places. Most everyone remembers exactly where you were and what you did that day. Sadly, the move toward Cocooning continues, with increases in terroristic school, church, and movie theatre shootings, among other tragedies. While, in Hawaii, we are fairly insulated from much of this, there are many reasons people think more about the importance of their homes.

Cocooning in 2020

In 2020, Cocooning is critically important to prevailing over the Coronavirus Pandemic. This is Cocooning on steroids! We are all forced to be home, for our health. Only essential employees can venture out into the world. The rest of us either can’t work or work at home. Zoom and WebX have skyrocketed in popularity. In our community, most every school child has some video-conferencing app set up on a phone or computer. I attended a home inspection using Zoom a few days ago. We don’t know how many months this will continue and how long we will be staying at home. I suspect it will be a few months, even on Oahu, where we are doing a pretty good job with flattening the curve.

Will we continue to be home-focused when this is over? Or will we all stay out more, with our new-found freedom? My prediction is high levels of Cocooning will continue.

Will Our Vision of Home Change?

Now that I’m sheltered in place, I notice more what I really like about my home. I also notice what I do not like about my home. How will one’s vision of what their home is and what they want it to be as the Pandemic plays out? As a realtor, I ponder: What features in a home will become more important to people? What features will be less important? Home is where the heart is, they say. But now home is also where the head is, and the rest of your body too, almost ALL the time. Home is EVERYTHING during a pandemic.

How are you adjusting to sheltering in place? What do you love about your home? And conversely, what would you like to change, given your new experiences with sheltering in place?  ~ Aloha

by Yvonne Ahearn

This article was first published on hawaiilife.com. Yvonne Ahearn is a real estate broker, a licensed attorney in Hawaii on the island of Oahu and a contributing writer to Good to Know Magazine.

Yvonne Jaramillo Ahearn (RB-20262) REALTOR-BROKER
H A W A I ‘ I   L I F E
2015, 2011, 2010 WINNER Aloha ‘Aina “People’s Choice” Award
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