By Lindy Earl
How many of us have ever lived alone? I know people who truly have never lived by themselves in their entire lifetime. They were born into a family, moved to a dorm or shared an apartment, married and had kids, and moved to a Senior Center, never having lived by themselves in their entire life.
As an introvert, I love my alone time because that’s when I recharge. Living alone, though – how would that feel? Like the others described above, I was born into a full house. I am one of six children. I did the dorm thing and loved every minute. I did live alone in DC after school and, again, loved every minute of it.
But it was weird! For one, when I left food in the refrigerator, it was still there when I returned, even the good stuff, not just the vegetables! So I do know the joy of living alone.
Post divorce, I still had one child at home with me. If you think it’s odd to live with just your youngest child, please know, it’s wonderful! I’ve spoken with other parents about having just their youngest at home, both intact couples and divorced singles, and everyone agrees, raising an only child again is fun. It’s easier to go out to dinner, schedules are simple. Life is good.
Once my youngest left, a roommate came into my life just through circumstances. He needed a place to live, I have a house far too large for one person, so it made sense. He’s a great roommate and our schedules are such that we rarely see one another. But even with a roommate, you can tell that you don’t live alone.
We’ve picked up another roommate, so we’re all very careful. We all have plenty of privacy so that’s never an issue. We’re careful about things like keeping to our own shelves in the refrigerator. We’re careful about doing laundry on our appointed day so we don’t have a bottle neck in the laundry room. It’s all good.
Recently, however, both roommates were out of town simultaneously. Would it be odd to be alone? It was definitely different.
First, I found myself listening for them about the time they usually come home. I had to remind myself that they’re both out of town and the house was mine for the entire evening and night. I did find myself spending more time in the family room but can’t really say why. It’s always available, but when you’re alone in the house, an empty room just seems more welcoming.
The one thing I definitely appreciated about solo living was not having a dress code! Because we are mixed gender, we have unspoken rules about being covered, even if you go downstairs in the middle of the night. Not this week! I don’t know why it really mattered, but it was nice to walk outside my bedroom without a robe. It’s not a big deal to put on a robe now that my roommates have returned, but I enjoyed it for the moment, and life is made of moments.
Food was a big one. First, while we all tend to eat separately, there are times we share food or at least eat together. It was so freeing to be the only person in the house when it came to eating! Norms went out the window and I found myself eating what I wanted, when I wanted, with nobody watching so no self-imposed guilt for eating ice cream for supper. Yes, I do that sometimes. Other times I choose to be healthy and have popcorn for supper.
No roommates meant if I left a cup in the sink, nobody saw it but me. My habits kicked in and I naturally put dishes in the dishwasher – that’s why it’s there, to hide dirty dishes for a day. If, however, I left something out, no remorse. It was just me. Nice.
Solo living also meant, however, that there was nobody to split a pizza. Several times that week I told myself I was going to treat myself after work, but not once did it happen. Every time I reminded myself that there was food at home and with only me, there was sure to be enough to make a meal.
Solo living, truly being on your own, can be lonely. Now, I work a lot and I love to work. Still, I can see that some company at the end of the day might be nice. I suppose I could increase my social life or make a point of being out more if this were a regular thing. You know how much time you need alone and with others, so you can gauge it.
Since my solo time was temporary, I savored every evening by myself. The physical aspects of solo life are obvious – laundry, meals, dishes, etc. What I really enjoyed was the emotional aloneness. The projects I could work on uninterrupted. Not that interruptions are bad, but it was nice to be all alone! They say that psychologically aloneness is a negative thing, but when it’s for a set amount of time, it’s joyful!
I have to wonder if it would be as enjoyable to be solo somewhere other than my own home. Could I go to a cabin for a weekend, or the beach, and enjoy solitude as much? I think being at home was part of the joy.
There are advantages to roommates and relationships and children. There are also advantages to living alone that go beyond the obvious, physical experiences of playing music loudly at any time of day.
Wherever you are in life, for a day or the unforeseeable future, enjoy what you have. It could change anytime, so glory in where you are today.
Lindy is a Speaker, Columnist, Author, and Consultant. Contact her at LMEarl@EarlMarketing.com to speak to your organization, church, or company, or find and like her page on Face Book, and join her FB support group, Single Again: From Devastation to Dating.