Ever since I can remember, as a kid I was obsessed with the idea of living alone. I guess it was a fantasy I had from playing house and taking it a little too seriously. This resulted in becoming a fiercely independent child that turned teen adolescent to now grown woman. It progressively got to be a little strange and concerning for some that I had no qualms with being alone and the mere slightest hint of unnecessary socialization would freak me out and feel ultimately, claustrophobic and smothering. I used to ask myself in a hopeful non-conceited way, ‘Ugh, why are these people so obsessed with me?’ Of course they probably weren’t obsessed with me, they were just legitimately wanting to hang out like regular people do.
Now, cometh the day when I am suitably independent and (semi) socially acquired, living alone has proven to be a redefined concept. Where liberated independent female meets anxious neurotic child.
In my short preliminary period of living alone I have noticed several things that provides the summation that living alone has not exactly shaped up to what I had in my fantasies whilst at the same time has completely exceeded my ideas of living alone.
The main thing about this ‘living alone experiment’ is that you cannot have it both ways.
(I say experiment because I don’t intend on this being a final thing, I do believe in cohabitation eventually in life… willing of course said ‘cohabiter’ is appropriately hygienic, doesn’t like the smell or taste of sausages, prefers pulpy orange juice rather than not and has a strong aversion to toilet lids and seats being left up and the list goes so on and so forth, then yeah we’re good.)
1. You cannot expect to be alone and have all the space and ‘alone time’ that you want and require whilst conveniently not feeling lonely.
2. Going all out on a grocery-shopping spree with an innumerable selection of fresh vegetables and delicatessen goods might seem like a great idea at the time of purchase however having them stay fresh and consumed within the appropriate period of time before they go to waste is the biggest challenge.
3. No one will help you carry said grocery shopping spree from your car to your door.
4. Mastering portion control and cooking ratios for one is really difficult. You get to choose and cook whatever you want without other people’s dietary requirements but eating alone sometimes just isn’t the business.
5. A lot of my issues with living alone stem from my kitchen, primarily because I love eating, I love grocery shopping, I love cooking, I love good food and most importantly the elements food have to bring people together for good company and good conversation which obviously isn’t conducive for the lone wolf.
6. I personally don’t believe in leftovers that are over a day old. So I believe in eating them the day after they’ve been cooked and stored but any day after. No go. Where does that leave you if you don’t know how to cook portions for one person?
7. You will never have a fresh new bottle of wine at your disposal unless you are a developing/developed alcoholic or god forbid a ruthless bottle disposer.
8. Elevator rides with a cute stranger can never be assumed to be your potential next romantic conquest, within daydream or real life. As more or less than likely this assumed hypothetical lover will turn out to be part of the proliferate couple population in your apartment building.
9. Laundry loads are a pain. They are never large enough of the categories of whites, delicates, blacks, colors and towels to start an acceptable environmentally friendly wash cycle.
10. Laughing alone at something really funny is also really awkward when alone.
11. You always have to be switched on, you can’t just booby-trap yourself into your demise or worse -- your death.
Earlier in the week, I placed some cans of tuna into a high cupboard, where it precariously leaned a little too close to the edge that when the cupboard closed it would just hold the cans in. But if you were to open the cupboard doors they would most likely topple out. In that moment I had a premonition of "death by tuna cans" where one rushed morning I would open the cupboards and a whole shelf of tuna cans and other assorted goods would fall on top of my head and give me such a severe concussion that I would pass out and not be found by anyone till who knows when. As to avoid "death by tuna cans" I opened the cupboard with my body in an appropriate safety clearance space as I pre-empted its fall to the ground and not my head. Safe. Check.
12. Critters, foreign animals, crawling creatures, and unknown undistinguishable items that may or may not be an insect or any of the above…in this situation there is no hope for a person like me.
13. When you’re cooking with some slinky soul like Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald or Al Green in the background and you’re sipping on your glass of wine you realize how peaceful and relaxing it is, you also realize how much soul you have until you also realize how depressing it is. (I’m kidding, this is actually one of my favorite things, it’s only sometimes depressing.)
14. You are always on high alert especially when there are unknown sounds that happen in the midst of the night.
15. You can never watch scary movies, or scary anything for that matter. And if you so happen to accidentally watch a scary episode of one of your favorite TV shows well then it’s just over.
16. No one glorifies you for the wonderful meal that you just made.
17. When you reveal your plans to friends that your Friday night consists of watching re-runs of Sex & The City, you get the ‘Oh.’ Response. And not the excitable ‘OH! How fun I loveeee SATC can I come over and watch it with you and eat ice cream whilst we dream of our lives as the girls in New York City.’ (No one talks like this by the way.) You get the ‘Oh…’ – You’re a loser, I'm going out to get crunk or I’m going to have a date night with my boyfriend, you poor lonely person, you should probably get yourself a cat. Thank you very much, non-friend, I’m happily alone without a feline companion that is bitchier than any woman on their monthly cycle.
The thing about living alone is the gratification, the independence and liberation. Those invisible air fist pumps that you imagine or perform when you believe you are a proficient female being – without being the damsel in distress and falling under the category of ‘you are such a girl.’ Let’s explore this statement for a second. Why is that sentence always said with such derogatory connotations? What is wrong with being a girl? And more importantly why do I feel all of a sudden so repulsed and have strong afflictions to being called a ‘girl’? Society sometimes can be really cruel.
If there is one thing that living alone has proven, is that- in terms of self-discovery, it has successfully clarified my gender and definitely stapled that in fact I am – a girl.
On the flip, where the grass is greener living alone has a bright side filled with wonders that every non-living alone resident surely aspires for such as things like:
1. Not feeling conscious about walking around naked and other people’s feelings of discomfort with your liberated forms of nudity.
2. The toilet seat will never be left up for all its festering microbes to come and infiltrate the bathrooms breathing space.
3. Singular dance breakouts and booty popping to Aretha Franklin’s ‘Respect’ will never be looked down upon.
4. There are no limitations of what you want to eat, what you want to cook and when you want to eat it.
5. There are no distractions when you need to get things done.
6. Usually when you say that you are living alone, people are generally impressed with your independence, which is good for your ego that clearly needs caressing from being alone.
7. You can unashamedly indulge in guilty pleasures like listening to Justin Bieber without people judging you.
8. You can be as outrageous and emotional as you want to be without self-restraint.
10. You no longer have to lip synch to your favorite songs, you can actually belt it out with everything you have inside without the fear of people’s eardrums becoming damaged.
11. You can choose the scent of your abode without opposition.
12. When you are a writer and tend to talk to yourself and read back out loud over and over again, there isn’t the issue of an irritated over- hearer.
13. When you do something embarrassing like dribble or spill food all over your shirt it’s really not that shameful.
14. It’s true; distance makes the heart grow fonder. You realize that without your family in there day in and day out, you don’t take for granted the time spent with them and at the same time you get reminded as often as everyone should be how wonderful they are.
15. When your coupled off friends tell you horror stories of living with their partners and tell you how lucky you are that you don’t have to deal with it you feel internally good about yourself.
16. The ability of living in solitude is actually something that is to be very proud of because a lot of people cannot do it, competently.
17. Luxury grocery shopping trips can be filed under ‘necessity’ as there is no one to tell you otherwise and if it gives you a little sunshine why not.
18. YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU WANT WHENEVER YOU WANT. FREEDOM
Now off to practice my portion control and cook my dinner for one…!
Reprinted with permission from Thought Catalog Want more?