A writer friend told me a few weeks ago, “You write what you see; I write what I feel.” At first, I disagreed because I think my best work evolves from a fire in my belly. But I knew it was true; my sensing is more developed than my emotions. This week I decided to focus on my stronger trait and write about what I notice from people who live alone or with someone else.
According to Our World in Data, one-person households in the United States and globally have steadily increased since 1960, more than 25%, and adults who live alone nearly doubled over the last 50 years. It is one more example of our changing world.
From my observations and experiences, living alone or with someone else is, like so many things in life, a mixture of good, bad, and neutral. No matter if I’m 18 or 80, male or female, living alone and doing what I want when I want is a plus, as is having sole control over my money. I can stay up late, eat lunch at three o’clock or not at all, and hold the TV remote. I can decorate the house without consideration of another human, and I can be more spontaneous because consultation isn’t necessary—ever. I can say “No,” if boring and, “Yes,” to what I enjoy. I
can also choose my friends, food, and music.
Sharing a home has its perks. I can be helped and helpful. I don’t visit, argue, and laugh alone. My mind has someone else to consider as I shop and plan my day. I’m more in-touch with emotions because my world isn’t all about me. I learn to share, care, compromise, walk away, communicate information, plus dig for solutions. Someone else’s favorite activities, foods, and opinions help expand my perspective and opens my mind. Life’s lessons arrive on my doorstep more frequently because I learn from someone else’s experiences, not just my own. Maintaining a home with someone else helps me discover my values and develop my opinions. It lightens my responsibility for every home expense or repair, and adds comfort when I’m not feeling well.
One might think loneliness enters into the differences, but I can be lonely alone or in the company of someone else. Whether living alone or with someone else, I can control my thoughts, and therefore my choice of words, feelings, and changes. Those are always mine to own. Living alone, with a family, roommate, spouse, parent, or partner, I can hate my life or love my life.
No matter alone or not, maybe Maya Angelou got it right when she wrote, “I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.”
What do you notice?
Until the next time: Live while you live.
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