On Living Alone–Part Two

I was pointed to an interesting article yesterday. The original article, from the New York Times, was modestly titled “One is the Quirkiest Number – The freedom, and perils, of living alone.” Of course, Gawker got right to the point, declaring “NYT reports that living alone makes you behave like an insane person.” Now, a couple months back, I wrote a post about my experience living alone for the first time, which has truly been an overall positive experience. After reading the NYT article, a friend suggested I write a counter-piece – so here we go.

First, to Gawker’s point, “insane” is a bit much. Here are the examples they give from the NYT article. None are terribly insane. A little odd maybe. And some are downright normal.

  • Running in place during TV commercials (a bit strange, but if I had an elliptical in front of my TV, I’d totally do that. Well, I’d say I did anyway. But would probably just hang my bra on it (see below))
  • Talking in conversational French to themselves (I’ve been known to talk to myself in Spanish. Just because I can)
  • Talking to their cats (Ok, here’s the thing. Cats have ears. That means they can hear. Which means talking to them is not strange. It is perfectly normal to talk to anything with ears. Now, you start talking to your sofa, then we have problems)
  • Using their dryers as dressers (I can’t judge. I’ve had my laundry basket full of clean clothes in my living room for a week. I’ve pulled all my undies from it this week – no clean ones in the drawers. You may call this lazy. I say to you with roommates/significant others: you’re just jealous!)
  • Leaving their bras on the kitchen counter (Hmm… I don’t clean my counters enough to agree with this. But the coffee table, couch, recliner, floor, night stand…)
  • Wearing special “home alone” outfits, such as “white flax bloomers that go down to my knee” (Ok, I don’t dress any different alone than when I was married. Am I wrong in thinking it’s normal for married people to hang around their houses in sweats and junky shirts? That’s why you get married – to not have to dress up anymore. What I enjoy most about living alone is that I can run around the house without clothes and not have to worry that I’m giving anyone “ideas” or having someone think I’m in the mood for “that” rather than just not being in the mood to wear clothes.)
  • Subsisting “largely on cereal” (Depends on the type. Lucky Charms? Crunch Berries? Or Bran Flakes?)
  • “Grazing” on “nuts and seeds” (Or Sour Patch Kids and Good N Plenty’s. Potato. Potahto.) Continue reading

On Living Alone

This last weekend marked the one  year anniversary of my living alone for the first time in my life. Before getting married, I had always lived with my parents, or dorm mates or roommates, primarily for financial reasons. When the marriage ended, I was fortunate enough to be able to afford to keep the house and live in it alone. It was an exciting, but scary prospect. For the first couple of months, I heard every strange noise in the dark, and kept pepper spray by the bed (ok, I still do). But soon, I felt comfortable and relatively safe and settled in to enjoy the time alone.

There are a few things I miss about having roommates. Most of these fall into the category of ‘shared responsibility.’ Having someone to share the chores, whether it’s doing the dishes, taking out the trash, or vacuuming. The last few weeks at work have been so stressful, and I’ve been taking work home nearly every night. My coworkers are in the same situation, but they’re all married. When they work at home in the evenings, they still have someone who cooks them dinner, and washes clothes and keeps the house organized. I eat fast food or delivery, have dishes piled up for a week and am digging deep to find the granny panties in the back of the drawer ‘cause nothing else is clean. I miss having someone who can step up when I can’t do much, and then being able to return the favor when it’s their turn.

I also miss the entertainment – there’s always a funny story to share, personal problems to discuss or even just a night sharing a fun tv show. Facebook and texting make this much easier (which explains my frequent postings), but its not as much fun as snark in person. And it’s fun to have a readily available buddy to go shopping with, or go on impromptu movie outings.

On the other hand, there is so much I enjoy about living alone. There is the lack of responsibility – if I don’t want to do dishes, I don’t have to. If I want to throw my clothes on the floor, I can. If I wanna curl up on the couch and eat junk food and watch tv all night, no one can make me feel guilty except myself. Of course, then I’m stuck cleaning up later (see above).

I enjoy the quiet. I don’t have to be “on”, I don’t have to talk about my day or answer questions like “is everything ok” when I just want to chill out and read all night.

And really, my friends aren’t that far away, and are still crazy enough to talk me into a midnight showing of the latest Twilight movie on a work night (thanks Stef!) or IM all night about the ridiculous costumes on Dancing with the Stars (Becky!)

I still get nervous sometimes. I own a gun now (Smith & Wesson M&P .45). I go jogging with pepper spray attached to my wrist and a switchblade clipped to my waistband (you never can be too careful).

But overall, I love living alone. I feel like I am finally the strong, independent woman I always thought I could be!  (Although, I really should hire a maid service).