As part of my mid-life crisis I have been going to the gym on a regular basis. I used to be a “gym rat” so it’s kind of same old, same old. However, what’s really interesting is that these days, everybody (say 98%) are wearing headphones of some kind. Now, I’m not knocking listening to music or whatever while working out. It’s just that, it seems we are losing all our third spaces.

A third space is a place other than home or work where we have community. Think Cheers, where everybody knows your name. In the olden days, a work out buddy would encourage you, maybe even shout at you, even give you a hard time if you slacked off. It was more than that – we talked about life, work, family. The gym was a third space.

Today at the gym there were two guys who are obviously workout buddies. And yet, both had earphones and they barely spoke with each other. I wonder how many other third spaces are being degraded by our constant need to be plugged in?