I think there are two types of people: one who loves being in the constant company of people and people who find solitude when alone. The alone but never lonely kind of people. As weird as it sounds, they do exist.
Recently, I lived alone in our two bedroom apartment in Dubai for a few weeks – the husband was away for work and the kids were at my parents’ house in the Philippines to spend the rest of their summer vacation. It’s a little lonely without the little humans in our home but I know they are better off there than be cooped up indoors here in Dubai because outside is hotter than hell.
Anyway, the last time I lived alone was in 2003, when I was single and working in Japan. To say that I’ve forgotten how to live alone would be an understatement. It’s only a few weeks, but here are some things I’ve realized from living alone again, after a long time:
1. You will find out if you are an introvert or an extrovert.
As if I needed further confirmation aside from getting an INFJ personality as a result of my Briggs Myers personality test, living alone made me realize how I can be alone at home and not feel lonely. Ok, at times I do get lonely but not dying of loneliness kind of lonely.
Maybe it’s the thought that I know this is only temporary or the fact that my life had been non-stop crazy chaotic since getting married and having a baby thirteen years ago that I find this little break kind of invigorating. I go to work, go home and on weekends, I only go out when most required (when I run out of food!). The weekend would pass where I don’t see a soul but I’ve never felt more refreshed.
P.S. I can’t believe I am totally ok with just staying at home sitting on long stretches of time writing blog posts like this. Pajamas all day. Boom.
2. More time but it doesn’t necessarily equate to doing more things
When I thought living alone without my husband and kids would give me more time to do the things I wish I had more time for, like blogging, reading or redecorating, the joke’s on me.
True, I’ve done this before, living in Japan for 7 years alone but I’ve forgotten how it is to be the captain of your ship without any crew – from doing the laundry, to cooking, to washing dishes, ironing and all the other chores. By the time I am done with everything after work, including taking out the trash at night, it’s already 9:30 pm and I don’t have any more energy left.
And when I finally find a chunk of time, I sometimes fall into the deep , bottomless abyss called the internet.
3. Preparing a meal for one is more difficult
I first knew the struggle of cooking for one when I arrived in Japan in 1996 and lived in a dormitory inside the school having my own room. Prior to that, I used to cook for 8 back home. I’ve almost forgotten that struggle till late when I had to do it again.
I end up eating the same type of dish for days…
4. Routines sometimes fly out the window
When the kids were here, we aim to follow certain routines, most importantly fixed times for eating meals and sleeping. We aim to be in bed by 8:30 pm during school/work days and we have been following that with great success.
Being alone makes you do anything you please and that could mean irregular meal times, skipping main meals because you have stuffed yourself on Doritos (I want to convince myself this is just PMS), watching reruns of a favorite old tv series, overdosing on social media and doing all kinds of distractions known to man.
Long story short, I can therefore conclude that the study saying married people live longer than single people could be true.
Unless the marriage is unhealthy, unhappy, and it contributes significantly to stress, emotional strain…then that can be lethal to your health and emotional well-being and you’re well off staying single.
For me though, I personally think, I’d live longer with my family around.
5. THIS: The constant fear of something or someone in your house is sometimes irrational and dramatic, but so real.
Every break in the steady silence, the slightest creak and squeak makes you imagine a thousand and one possibilities of what it really is. Once I heard something fall in the kitchen but I never bothered to check what it is. When I woke up the next morning, there was nothing on the kitchen floor…
It’s also frightening to look up at the mirror after rinsing the foam out of my face when washing. My eyes are closed till I grab the towel and turn my back from the mirror and run back towards the other room!
BONUS: Your smartphone can become your room mate. And it’s not good or healthy.
Whenever I can’t sleep or get up in the middle of the night, I just stay in bed and reach for my smartphone to scroll through social feeds, send messages to sleeping people living on the other side of the globe, read news and self-help articles to soothe me back to sleep (who am I kidding??). Before I knew it, I had blown hours of “alone time” and the sun is already peeking through the curtain. Then I’d feel guilty being too connected to the screen and completely disconnected with myself.
Morning comes and I’d murmur,
Way to go, self. Another groggy time in the office today.
So, enough about me and my realizations on living alone. How about you? Are you living alone? If not, when was the last time you lived alone?
Top photo for illustration purposes only, taken from Google images. That’s not me or my house.