When I got a divorce some years back, it was the first time in my life I was embarking upon living alone. I had basically gone from living at my parents house to roommates to getting married. I had mixed feelings about this — and was kind of a scardy cat and when my husband would travel for business I would try to get a friend to sleepover or at least come over for dinner and then check the locks 12 times before I went to bed.
When I got a divorce I was looking forward and hopeful to be living on my own — well to clarify, I had my kids 50% of the time. But I loved not having to answer to someone else in decorating or where to place a picture or the couch. I could fall asleep with the tv on and control the thermostat AND the remote control — it was exhilarating! I did notice that when the kids were at their dads for long weekends, I would pack my time up with so many plans or even go away for the weekend so as to not really notice the empty spaces and time. I realized what I was doing and made a commitment to and have a 24 hour date with myself once a month and not make plans and just save the time for meals alone (in or out), long walks, cleaning out closets, watching a movie . . .it taught me how to be peaceful and still with myself. Something I never learned as an extrovert.
I just listened to this podcast from Death, Sex & Money about living alone (you can find it here) and it was interesting to hear other people’s perspectives and their stories about living alone. I’m contemplating now another stage of living alone. My kids are off to college and I am faced with a decision again because I’m in a relationship and we are at that stage where we are faced with the question — is it time to live together? Is it coincidence that the timing of the prospect of cohabitation is at the same time as my kids are going off to college? I’m not sure and I’m confused as to what is the right thing to do. Should I “force” myself to live alone, am I ready to make the compromises in living with another person, is this an opportunity for me to flourish on my own or will I flourish within this relationship? I go back and forth each day and have been delaying the decision by hanging onto a temporary living arrangement for now. I’ve also been really working on “letting go” of having to have a plan and just embracing the non-permanence of my life right now. (By the way, storage units are great for this as a temporary place to hold your stuff & have a PO Box when you aren’t sure where or when your “home” will be set up.)
Living alone during Covid also has additional and unique challenges and much has been written about it. Here are a couple of articles I found helpful in Self Magazine and another one in Very Well Mind.
More adults than ever before are living alone now, whether it’s a choice or not. Would love to hear your thoughts and your feelings about this. I’m finding it helpful to create a community of others who are sharing in the same circumstances.