The art of living alone and loving it
Worldwide, more than 300 million people live alone – and these numbers are increasing. In Australia alone, solo dwellers are the fastest growing housing demographic, making up a quarter of all households.
Even if you relish aspects of living alone, such as having complete control of the TV remote control, challenges come with the freedom – like cooking for one and juggling finances.
The seven tools of solo living
I didn’t choose to be alone. Few of us do. I fell into it post-divorce – not with an elegant swan dive but with a graceless belly flop.
But now I have learnt not only to appreciate it, but even to prefer it. I am happy, but it took a while to get here.
For all its precious gifts of time and space, living alone comes with snakes as well as ladders.
Our mettle is tested every single day. Given our numbers, living alone should be ‘The New Normal’, but it doesn’t feel like it.
We belong to a different tribe.
There are times I have felt sheet-of-glass invisible and diminished by a society where I don’t seem to tick the boxes.
We have to be tough, resilient and learn to dig deep.
I have developed a protective carapace but am aware there is a fine line between self-protection and coming across as defensive. It’s a balancing act, and sometimes it gets to me.
Just when I’m having a great day, someone might say something thoughtless in passing, oblivious to its impact, which sends me into a tailspin. It can get tiring convincing everyone (and sometimes even ourselves) that we like living alone.
However, I have learnt, embracing a certain ethos can help make the most of living alone.
The following seven tools can help you navigate the treacherous shallows as well as the joys of solo living.
Tool 1. Know who you want to be
Pick three adjectives that capture who you want to be.
They will change over time, but it is useful to land them, as they set a platform of values on which to base choices and actions.
If you have faced some hard times, throw in a couple of uplifting ones such as ‘positive’, ‘courageous’, ‘kind’ and ‘capable’.
Act like the person you want to be and eventually you become that person.
Be the light you seek.