What Does Home Mean to You in a Pandemic? How Will That Change?

What Does Home Mean To You?

Like most people, I’m at home, sheltering in place, and thinking about what is going on in the world. A lot has changed quickly during this Pandemic, and I suspect some things will never be the same after this. 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.

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 correct as to much 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.

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.” Working from home now, is very 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 change 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.

Please share with me in the comments: what is home for you in this Pandemic? what do you love about your home? and what you would like to change, given your new experiences sheltering in place?

~ Aloha

Connect With Yvonne Jaramillo Ahearn, Esq. (B)


Hawaii life and Christie's Luxury Real Estate Yvonne Ahearn

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Susan Harden

April 17, 2020

I love this article! It brings up the things I have been feeling since this shelter in place has begun. I am realizing all of the things about my home that matter to me. Safety, calm, soothing colors and textures.

Tiffany Joy

April 17, 2020

My health and happiness is really predicated on my home surroundings. It is very important to keep my home free of clutter, tidy and full of inspirational art and furniture that brings me joy. What cocooning has taught me is that I need fewer things than I thought I did and I dedicating the time to clearing out what no longer is serving me.

Yvonne Ahearn

April 17, 2020

I agree Sue, that soothing colors are important. I hadn’t thought of that, but colors really create a mood. Right now, it is important to be calm and feel safe. The right colors can help enhance those feelings.

Tiffany, you bring up a great point about reducing clutter. I need that myself, more than ever now. Makes me crazy to have too much stuff around.

LOVE both your comments ❤️! ~ Aloha


April 17, 2020

Good things:
I’ve been able to get a lot of organizing projects done. I thought being at home with my daughter would be more of a challenge. It has, in fact, been a blessing. There is less stress for her when it comes to school, and she is still making good grades.

Not so good things: Cabin fever. Can’t travel. Having to wash and disinfect all grocery items. Not being able to work or she friends.


April 18, 2020

Hello, it’s me again. I would like to add to my previous comment.

Good article! Thank you for your personal and professional insight. With these trying times, it’s difficult to put feelings into words.

It’s important to feel connected during this crisis so we don’t all feel so alone.

Home is where the heart is. Thank you for making me feel at home.


Yvonne Ahearn

April 18, 2020

HI Courtney – The pandemic is hard on everyone isn’t it? But I’m glad that it’s bringing you and your daughter closer together, and that she is still doing well in school. Wishing you all the best. When it’s all over, hope to see you here in Hawaii. ~ Aloha

John Posen

April 19, 2020

Very thoughtful article on “cocooning.”
I view my home as my refuge and temple, following the adage: Cleanliness is next to Godliness…And it’s for good
reason Home Depot, hardware stores etc., are deemed essential services.

Yvonne Ahearn

April 19, 2020

Aloha John – Hope you are doing well right now! I agree completely about cleanliness. Makes cocooning so much more pleasant. And also about Home Depot and those type of stores. Maintaining our homes is super-important during this lockdown. Take care and stay safe!

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