I first started living alone about a year ago. I moved out of town for a great new job. I was accustomed to being surrounded with sisters, and later in life a roommate. However, moving to a city where everyone is a stranger meant it was finally time to rip the band-aid off and rent a single bedroom apartment.
I must admit at first the experience was exciting for me. Every decorating decision was mine to make. If I left the dishes overnight, there was no one to complain but myself. I got to choose the movies to watch, listen to my music… loudly, and eat over the sink. Such a heathen!
However the shine soon wore off and I found myself disappointed coming home to the empty corners of my apartment. I spent more and more time out alone at coffee shops and parks just to be around people. My previous roommate and I had a great friendship. I would come home to find her relaxing on the couch. We'd make dinner together and talk about our days. I missed that person to vent with, and our phone conversations went from every day to every week or so.
I also found myself nervous at every creak in the old building, which often started when my neighbor's keys would hit his lock after coming home late at night. I quickly invested in a security system and even took a self-defense class. I live in a very safe neighborhood, but there is something about being alone in a place that sets all my hairs on end. With new security in place I relaxed.
I remembered all the times when I was younger and surrounded in a storm of my sisters and their curly red hair. I would do anything to get away, climb a tree, take a bike ride, or bury myself in a book. I thought how comforting it would be to have that storm of sisters in my apartment wrecking the place with their crayons and stickers. Of course, they are all grown now too, and probably less of a wrecking ball than I imagine. Still, there's a good chance we would be at each others throats if we lived together again. Distance makes the heart grow fonder and all that.
Thinking about my sisters led me to go after some solutions for my loneliness. Living on my own poses challenges, but not one to be thwarted I attack my lonely situation with vigor. I schedule evening face to face time with my old roommate on Skype, and we easily fell into our old conversations through that medium. I introduced myself to my neighbor, and we promised to keep an eye out for each other. I joined a knitting group and also a reading group that exclusively reads travelogues.
Now I have friends to invite over and fill the house with laughter and companionship. It is just after having guests over that I truly have come to love living alone. That quiet time following a successful get together that filled my rooms with laughter and friendship is a sublime feeling. And it's all mine.