On every fire crew, there is usually that one person who you can't send to sit up on a high point for the day and watch out for the rest of us. It's not that this person is incapable of recording weather observations and reporting back to the crew on the fire status and any hazards they might see. No, it's because they can't be by themselves that long.
These are the same people who think I'm crazy for wanting to work in a fire lookout. "I could never do that!" they say. "I'd get bored. Wouldn't you get lonely?"
Here's the thing, people. Alone is not a synonym for lonely!
I lived with other people for years, including an ex-husband for 14 years (some of which was spent in a 400 square foot apartment). I had several roommates. Some were great and some not so great (the one who got involuntarily committed to a psych ward, the one who stole from me, the couple who fought incessantly, driving me to put my tent up in the campground for the summer). Now I live with a couple of cats, and I think it's the best thing ever. Here's why:
I do whatever I want. Eat the same thing every night for a week? No problem. Never ever have to watch football again? Check. I can get up or go to sleep when I want without disturbing anyone. My cats can hang out on the counter, and nobody gets upset. I put my stuff where it makes sense to me. If I want excitement, I can go out and look for it, or invite it over. If I want to stay home and eat cookies, that's ok too.
The bathroom. It's all mine. Need I say more?
Finances? Not sharing them. That means I can buy this without consulting anyone:
I can make my own plans (or not). I can get up and decide to go on a hike, or to Antarctica. Or just stay home.
I have to be more self-sufficient. Those nursery trees aren't going to plant themselves! On the other hand, I've learned who I can count on when I need help with my cats or have a big hole in my roof during a rainstorm. Those people aren't obligated to help; they want to.
For those of you reading who are saying, but I live with my husband/wife/significant other/friend and I can do all those things (because I know some of you are!), that's great. That hasn't been my experience.
What living alone really means to me is that finally I have peace. I might not have another human in my space, but I'm rarely lonely, and if I am, my people are out there. I get to be with them, and then go home to my refuge. It's the best of both worlds.