This post is inspired by the following article:
When I ‘moved out’ for the first time, it was to a house for (Anglican) girls coming to uni in the ‘city’. It was great, but I was naughty (which, then, I most certainly was not!), and so when I reapplied to live there in second year, I was told they were looking for a different mix of people. I then moved onto uni housing – 8 bedroom purpose built apartments, with 3.5 bathrooms and a double kitchen. And to single rooms in French ‘Cite U’s’. But it wasn’t until I bought my own place did I really have the sense that I was ‘living alone’.
When I was looking to buy, I consider living somewhere more ‘affordable’ so I could buy something with two bedrooms, and have a flatmate. Then it was a balance – would I pay more, knowing I’d have a flatmate? Would I stretch my loan that much further, but then be obliged to live with someone? And then I recalled mum’s horror that I re-categorised the pantry. Or when I wanted less in some cupboards. I started to think about having someone in ‘MY’ space! And then it became simple.
If I was OK to live alone, I could live wherever, as I was fortunate to be able to afford (and accept living in) ‘small’. And I didn’t want more than small – bigger than small needs more stuff. And one thing I don’t want to get sucked into is more stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I have stuff, but feeling the need to ‘fill’ a space with stuff… makes my stomach churn at the waste of money and resources… For my little body can only sit in one chair at once… or be in one room at once!
I do feel proud that I can and have lived alone. That I can balance the budget, feed myself, truly live without relying on someone else. I luckily live so close to some wonderful friends, who have stuff… like power drills and spirit levels and hard disc drives full of TV shows to starve out the demons that intrude my home when I have a long weekend and no firm plans. Because, living alone is 90% lovely, and 10% crazylonely. It’s lonely when you imagine that everyone else is having a grand time – with someone, doing the banal things in life. You never actually imagine houseshares or couples fighting… or the piles of dishes that no one washes… even though that’s more like the reality. It’s crazy ’cause it’s not truth that you imagine, but this fairytale fiction of what it would be like to live with someone.
It’s nice to come home to as clean (or dirty…!) a house as I left it. But, man, it’s oh so lovely to get home when a friend’s been staying, and play ‘spot the difference’. Love to my friend who emptied the seldom used dishwasher and put everything away. Thank you housesitter for new toliet paper, washing powder and wool wash (and oh so sorry for not replenishing those, and for me thinking that you’d need more plain flour and sugar… cause surely she’ll bake?!)
Living alone is great, when you live so close to your community. And connected enough to get out when you need to – to spend time with people. I’m lucky to have a few nearby buses, and a train station that’s an oversized block or two from my place. And I’m lucky that just one stop on an express train (15 minutes) I can be at the station closest to my parents and brothers’ place.
None of this is to say that living alone is something that’s so good I’d never consider anything otherwise, just that I am thankful for what I’ve got in the here and now!