Do you live on your own? If so, you’ll probably identify with these 7 phenomena peculiar to single living:
1. You eat what you want when you want.
Any cohabiting couple will tell you that for some reason, the question of what the couple wants to eatas a unit becomes a real daily burden. A problem of immense proportions. ‘What do you want to eat today?’ – ‘I don’t know… what do you want?’
This is an exchange that occurs far more often than is healthy. When you live on your own, this conundrum is at least solved halfway. You might end up eating sweetcorn out of the can, but at least you don’t spend hours deliberating the matter.
2. You can come and go as you please.
When you live on your own, you have genuine freedom. It’s not that couples living together prohibit each other per se. But somehow there’s less necessity to come and go and less impetus. If you live on your own, you tend to be out and about a lot more.
You can also come home at any time you please, you don’t have to answer to anyone. Except perhaps your boss when you roll up at 10 am and tell her: ‘You’re not going to believe this…I struggle to believe it myself. My alarm didn’t go off AGAIN!’
3. You can watch whatever you want.
When I first found myself separated and living alone after several years cohabiting, I felt really aware of my independence for the first time in the strangest of places. I walked into the DVD rental shop and I realized that I could truly watch anything I wanted.
I started renting films from the 50’s that I’d heard of but never seen. I’d never even considered it in the past because my partner wouldn’t have been able to sit through them. That small freedom is a great source of delight to me even now.
4. You attempt full-blown conversations with your pets.
If you live on your own, and you’re not the type to spend all the day on your phone or out with friends, you’ll know that you can easily spend whole days without opening your mouth. That is unless you have a pet.
Suddenly, you find yourself asking your catquestions as he looks up at you blankly. ‘How are you?’ ‘Why do you smell like poop again young man?’ ‘Since when do cats eat cake?’ ‘Is that YOUR glass of water, WHEN did I say that was YOUR glass of water???’ etc., etc.
5. You make your home your own.
When you live on your own, you finally get a real sense of what your own tastes are as regards interior decoration. When I was cohabiting, interior decoration was always a compromise. Moreover, it was a compromise between the tastes of a girly girl and a boyish boy.
Needless to say, the place looked a bit strange and the result pleased neither of us. Having your own space means you can express yourself freely. This often has far more aesthetically pleasing results than what comes of meeting someone else in the middle.
6. Getting sick takes on whole new proportions.
Once I got a Chinese take-out from a highly suspect establishment – I should have known it would end in tears from the outset. I ate very little of this meal before I started feeling strange. Really you’d think there’d be no way I could’ve gotten sick from the two or three bites I took.
Within two hours I was wretched. Pooping explosively out of one end, throwing up violently out of the other. Barely finding the window to switch between the two. It was hell and I was alone. On the second day of this ordeal, I managed to peel what was essentially my still-breathing corpseslowly off the bathroom floor.
I left my home in my pajamas and my slippers (getting dressed was a luxury I had neither the leisure nor the energy to afford). I walked into a pharmacy and begged them, crying, to ‘please help me’. They were very nice. Strangers really are surprisingly decent in these situations.
7. You appreciate your friends a lot more.
Having finally exhausted the conversational pleasures that can be gained in dialogue with your cat, you realize that the friend who comes over for a coffee in the morning, or who you meet for lunch, is an immense source of pleasure in your life. It’s only when you’re deprived the pleasure of conversation, that you really appreciate how lifting it is for the spirit to talk, listen, and laugh with a person you get on with.
I think it’s a shame that some of these things disappear from consciousness when we’re coupled up. The kindness of strangers, the importance of friendship, the significance of holding on to yourindividual identity and tastes. It’s not intentional, I know, it’s just that being part of a couple takes up so much of your energy and time; and compromise is important to keep things running smoothly.
But if you live on your own, remember that some of these tiny little trivialities that make life beautiful are things that people cohabiting are missing out on or have forgotten. Appreciate it while it lasts, because it rarely lasts forever.