If you live (or have ever lived) by yourself, chances are you’ll have heard the following at least once.
“But don’t you get lonely?”
“I couldn’t live on my own, I’d get so bored”
“What about the creaks and strange noises? You can’t automatically dismiss them as the other person in the house – I’d find it creepy”
“But you must miss having people around you”
“How antisocial!” (usually followed by a fake laugh)
With the very occasional
“I wish I could decorate my house however I wanted”.
Since I’ve lived by myself, in my little house in my riverside village, I have come to recognise that you can more or less split people into two camps: those for whom living alone is a Wonderful Thing, something to aspire to, luxuriate in and enjoy; and those for whom it is The Worst Thing That Could Possibly Happen.
The two camps do not understand the other’s point of view, though in my experience, the older the people, the more they are likely to live and let live, and not evangelise their preferred way of living.
I think it is partly linked to introversion and extroversion preferences, though I won’t go into that in any more detail here – there are umpteen books and courses and blog posts on the subject written by people far more knowledgeable than me on those traits.
I want to share my own experience of living by myself, and how it happened, and why I love it, and I don’t think lonely really comes into it.
Back in 2008, when I finished university, I was at a bit of a loose end. I’d never particularly planned to live anywhere other than with the boyfriend, but as our seven-year relationship dissolved at the end of 2007, clearly that wasn’t going to happen.
To complicate matters, my parents had moved from my hometown up to the north of Essex, where my family were. So I packed my life into a storage unit and trundled to my new home, finding solace in my extended family’s horses and hens and dogs, and space to mend my broken heart in the North Essex countryside and woodland.