A couple of weeks ago I read a blog I read about singles who dine out. Brave souls; although I like living alone, I haven’t taken it to that level….. yet. There was a photo featured of singles in a restaurant, all sitting at single tables so I thought was staged for the article. I commented that I could only do that with a TV table and big screen. The author wrote back that the photo was a real restaurant in Amsterdam especially for singles. It got me wondering about the menu. Usually one would pick a restaurant based on food . But I digress. This is about the growing popularity of living alone.
A few days after that, The Doc Zone did a show called Flying Solo; an hour long documentary on how living alone has become a growing trend all around the world. (I assume that means all around the rich, westernized world) Internet has changed the way we communicate; we can stay at home but not feel alone. Be a hermit but not be isolated. The internet can connect us to anybody, anywhere, anytime. We are becoming more individual and yet more connected at the same time.
All over the blog world women are declaring, “Yes, I live alone and it’s awesome!” I say women because it used to be a shame for women to admit they are alone, now it’s a badge of courage. Men were allowed to be bachelors as if it was a happier choice. But statistics show that this is just not so; its women who are happier being alone.
For hundreds of years women were taught to nurture others at the expense of their own freedom and happiness. The self-sacrificing mother was deified (and she always wore an apron). It used to be considered selfish to look after yourself. Now we are learning that denying our own needs is destructive and does not enhance the lives of the people we love. It leaves them feel guilty for looking after themselves or not looking after us in return. Now it’s OK to nurture ourselves. Don’t look for someone to ‘do it back’, do it for yourself. And we are doing it big time.
A decade or so ago I, like many others, had too many people around me making demands on my time and I didn’t even have children! Most women have a crowd of people demanding their time and attention. I used to say, “I wish everyone would just leave me alone!” Well, be careful what you ask for. My marriage broke up. I moved away from my job and volunteer work. My mother passed away and my pets died of old age. Without any kind of planning, I found myself living alone. And it’s not so bad! I don’t have any choice but to do whatever I want. Well, money is a big constraint, but in respect to looking after or pleasing others……. there just isn’t anyone to please or look after except myself. I believe this is my new life lesson; to just look after myself and not look for some other person or animal to nurture. I am pet free for the first time. I’ve lived through three dogs and countless cats. But I’m not doing it again: I’m just looking after my Self.
One thing all authors talked about and agreed on is the even when you say you like living alone you are only putting on a brave face. Many people have wondered out loud why I don’t at least get a pet… it must be so lonely. They assume living alone means being lonely.
Case in point; I went to Google images to find some interested photos for this blog. I put in ‘alone’ and it came up with pages of blue-grey, hauntingly lonely photos. Then tried “alone and happy” and saw a lot of photos of women jumping for joy.
Just this last week I’ve seen ‘6 reasons being alone is good for you’ and then ‘7 reasons being alone is good for you’ on the Huffington post; a great place for inspiring to-do lists. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/26/divorce-benefits_n_4145361.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009
The Blogs posted above give some great reasons for living alone so I won’t bother plagiarizing them. I’ll just add my own more personal and crass reasons what I like about living alone.
- Waking up naturally in peace and quiet. I wake up before dawn so there’s no need for an alarm. Just need to press the button on the coffee maker (set up the night before) and the bathroom is unoccupied. I do not like people talking or making me talk early in the morning.
- Spending quality time in the bathroom with no hurrying. I don’t just mean ‘going’, although that is much better when no one is waiting or measuring how much time it’s taking. I mean bathing, putting on make-up or face masks or plucking or….. whatever!
- Lounging in ugly clothes. I have some very soft slightly large lounge pants that I can pull over my belly; this look ages you 50 years. Its best in the winter with big slippers and ugly vests added as finishing pieces. Good time to watch What Not to Wear.
- TV; whatever and whenever I want. Never in the morning. No sports announcers drone in the background of my weekend.
- Loud music and dancing with wild abandon. Although lots of fun and great for depression; this can be trouble for an elder. Elders tend to rock earlier in the day as they age. You may not notice someone is at your door until they are pounding on it. By the time you turn down the music and rush to the door (enter #3) you’re looking pretty crazy. Especially if you only have one eyebrow on. (note to self; never get distracted while putting on your eyebrows)
- Eating a sandwich for dinner and not have anyone say “is that all?” And the chips are always still there where you left them.
I may add more to this list over time and certainly anyone is welcome to add your own thoughts or reasons.
I am not recommending living alone for everyone! I would love to have someone wonderful who thought I was equally as wonderful. But it would have to be pretty damn good before anyone’s butting into this. Until then I will just love myself.