Sunday, April 6, 2008

on my own

I lived by myself for four years. It's an experience I think everyone should have, but I think surprisingly few people do. People move from their parents' homes or ones they share with friends into a home they share with their husband or wife without ever getting to enjoy that feeling of being utterly alone - in a good way of course. No parents, no roommates, no partners, just you and your stuff in a place that belongs to no one but you. Of course it has it's draw backs, like if you hit your head on the corner of a cabinet and knock yourself unconscious, no one is going to come and find you, so you better wake up. But living by yourself is a wonderful experience. You learn how to be alone without being lonely, and I think that's a really important lesson. I am thinking of this because I am alone this weekend for the first time in a long time, maybe a year. Matthew went to Tulsa to celebrate his sister's birthday with his family and because plane tickets are ridiculously expensive I stayed behind. At first I didn't know what to do with myself. I spent most of yesterday reading in bed and snuggling the pooch, but today I remembered what I loved about living by myself: the feeling of being comfortable being alone. I woke up late (but not too late), ate breakfast and took a shower. Then I got dressed, did my hair, even prettied up a bit - all just for me. Then Scarlett and I spent the lion's share of the late morning and afternoon outside. I worked on thinking my deep philosophical thoughts, took notes (which I too often forget to do), and actually made some progress, then I read my just for fun book. After awhile I was pretty hungry. I came in and made a big delicious salad and took it outside and ate it while listening to music I love and enjoying the beautiful spring day under my apricot tree, which today was mine alone.
I know many of us never get the chance to live by ourselves, but I think everyone should take time for just themselves. I used to be scared of doing things alone, but when I lived by myself I learned to enjoy doing things solo. So I challenge everyone to go get some lunch or dinner alone, go to a movie by yourself, or just sit in the silence of your own backyard and take the time to be with you. Wow, this sure is preachy.

5 comments:

suze said...

i've never lived by myself, but ben travels enough, i get periodic susantime. for instance, he's on a 2-week trip, so i spent my weekend in my PJs, knitting on a few projects and catching up on movies (it wasn't pretty weather in SoCal). i treasure my susantime. i also can go out for beers with girlfriends without feeling like i need to be home at a certain time. the cats don't care if i roll in at 2 a.m.! (not that ben does, but i always feel like i need to be home when he's home since i don't get to see him much now that i'm working nights.)

so, hooray for alone time! :)

Kim! said...

I like your blog, really and truly. I enjoy my own company and I'm tons mellower when I'm along. Lately, I realized I've been spending too much time alone. I live alone and I do almost everything alone. So your blog has inspired me to challenge myself to do more things with other people! Thanks, Beth!!

Beth said...

I agree Kim, too much alone time is no good. I'm glad you decided to spend more time with people lately, because I have been lucky enough to enjoy your company!

I guess it's all about balance.

acronym enthusiast said...

As a perpetual extrovert, I don't think I ever realized how much I appreciated the experience of living alone until David and I moved in together. When you have a shared space to yourself it's really great without feeling empty or lonely. I usually spend that time watching movies only I will like (ie Jane Austen Book Club, Enchanted) and eating dinners that only I like (ie an entire bag of edamame or steamed butternut squash with peas)...

Caroline said...

I wholeheartedly support your thoughts! It's good to be able to do things exactly the way you want every now and again. And to be quiet. And to not be expected. And to know yourself as yourself.