The square footage of our lives

Josh Pitzalis
2 min readMay 5, 2022

We’re all busy beings.

Gotta do this. Gonna make that. Stuff on my plate. Things on my list.

Then there’s the stuff we want to do but can’t seem to get together.

A little more movement. Deeper sleep. Sorting that room out in the back. Putting time into the garden. Finishing that book.

All the shoulds. Languishing away.

My mother likes Islamic geometric patterns. She enjoys making them. She’s been meaning to get back into it.


Tomorrow. Next month. By the end of the year. Maybe.

When I went to visit, her desk was covered in everyone else’s problems. There was a sewing machine in the top right corner. A pile of books stacked to one side. Bits and bots neatly organized around the edges.

If I had to guess, from a distance, I would not have said she was making space for Islamic geometry in her life.

I made my point.

Gradually, she began to clear her tabletop. More than anything else, reclaiming her space was about deciding what she would not do with it.

A few months later she sent me the picture below. She’d started to draw again.

When we speak about making space for things in our lives, we think we’re talking about it figuratively.

The thing is, we’re really not.