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Living alone August 22, 2009

Posted by Fiona in Big things, Small things.
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According to the Office of National Statistics, in 2007, 12% of people were living alone – twice as many as in 1971.  That’s a hell of a lot of people.

Now, I’ve been living alone for two days now.  (Ooh, get me.)  I’ve been out and about a bit – to the library mainly, struck up a bit of conversation with cashiers while buying glass beads for a new shawl, writing paper and a tin of chopped tomatoes, but mostly I’ve kept to myself.  I’ve come home in the evenings to a dark, empty house, eaten on my own on the sofa and gone to bed after spending more time than usual refreshing pages on the internet.

Last term, I shared a room with someone who was there most of the time, and that was really good fun.  I really enjoyed it.  But at the end of it I got home and shut myself in my room for a few days for a bit of alone time, because I hadn’t had it in so long.  I am, essentially, quite good at being on my own.  I quite like it, a lot of the time.  My own company may not be the best that there is, but I’ve lived with it for nineteen years now and I know that whatever I do I’m not going to offend myself, there won’t be any awkward silences, and I won’t have to articulate how I’m feeling.  So these last few days, well, I haven’t really minded that much.  I’ve not exactly been without conversation – living on your own doesn’t mean being shut away from the rest of the world completely, that’s just silly.

I couldn’t live like it, though.  I could not live like 12% of people, who do this every day, come home to this every day, wake up in the morning with nobody to talk to over breakfast, nobody to ask if they’d like a cup of tea or to let them in when they’ve left their keys at home.  Living with people isn’t the be-all and end-all of social contact, not in the least, but still, without it at the moment I do feel a bit isolated so I dread to think what people who do it often feel like.

Or perhaps it’s liberating.  I always thought when I was thirteen or fourteen that I’d like to live alone, and run things according to my own logic, and have my space.  I still value my space very highly, and get very ratty with people when I haven’t had it for too long, but I think I’ve changed my mind.  I don’t think I could do it any more.

I’m interested to know what you think about it all.

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Comments»

1. ruethewhirl - August 22, 2009

i really like it when M and J are away for a week and i’ve got the place to myself, but around about thursday or friday night i get a little wistful – it’s nice to live alone but it’s nice to live alone with someone. just so you’re not talking to yourself the whole time.

2. Lucy - August 23, 2009

In my more frustrated moments with family/ various housemates over the years, I have wondered what it would be like to live alone and it’s simple – I just couldn’t hack it. Or if I had no choice, I would try and make sure that I had a lot of social people nearby who I could invite round every so often and spend my evenings/ weekends with.

Thing is I like independence, and I’ve been described before by my mother as a bit of a loner – but that’s always been with other people in the background. Too much time completely alone-alone and bad things happen.

3. Fefe - August 23, 2009

I think I’d be able to manage living alone, although I think I’d end up visiting family and friends a lot, or resorting to buying a pet (sure you can’t ask a dog if it would like a cup of tea in the morning, but its nice to have someone or something feeling grateful for your existance when you walk through the door).

I think its down to my (now) strange sleeping patterns and occasional need to be left alone for some indefinite amount of time when I’m highly stressed. Still, it’s nice to have a fellow person about for the times when I’m not stuck in my mental shell, and feeling that I’m truely alone is, admittedly, more frightening than my arachnaephobia.


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