Sunday, November 23, 2014

In praise of living alone

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.





11 comments:

  1. I like this...you have worked out what's best for you....specially the eat, sleep and plan...AND bathroom!

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  2. I get you...and it's awesome. When I was traveling alone in London this past fall, I felt alive for the 1st time in years. I will def be vacationing alone at least once a year. I crave that feeling and think everyone who has other commitments should do it too. It's so freeing, even if just for a short while:-)

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    1. I think it's important to have some time alone too, even if you're really happy with your co-habitator.

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  3. I love living alone! One thing I don't miss is sharing a washing machine - my flatmates used to leave their washing in their (after a cycle), until mould and mildew developed. I didn't want to move their things, but I was running out of clean underwear (after 2 weeks) and I had to put it on an empty cycle to clean it, before washing my things! I think living alone is definitely underrated; as is travelling alone or going to the cinema alone! I don't know why the latter is so stigmatised; I often receive odd looks when I sit down alone at a movie...

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    1. Yes! I really want to go see Gone Girl but my friends have either seen it or wouldn't want to. I should just go.

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  4. I love my hubby, but when he's out of town for work, I really enjoy having the house to myself. Just me and the dog.

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    1. "House to myself" is a favorite term in our house. No matter how much you love them, having space and time alone sometimes is good!

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  5. This reminds me of a post I did a few years ago on the difference between being alone & being lonely. I LOVE living alone and I'm worried how I'm going to adjust to living with someone starting next week now that I've been on my own for 2 years!

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  6. Go to the movies! Once when I was alone at the movies in Lansing, a woman said to me, "Aren't you scared to be out at night by yourself?" Ah...no, mam, I'm not. Grown woman can manage a movie and many other things on her own, and be just fine. Happy Thanksgiving, Knees. Love you!

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