Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Living Alone



My younger daughter is living in an untenable roommate situation. She is exploring options, including striking out on her own.

I think there comes a time in every woman's life when she is unable to share living arrangements. It may only last for a while, but I think women, maybe more than men, need their space. Is it because we are nesting? Or is it because we are at last mature enough to not need friends 24/7? One thing's for sure - it revolves around the kitchen. More battles ensue over dishes and refrigerators than vacuuming.

From a human development point of view, I would lean toward the nesting. I have noticed that most women first want/need their own space when they become involved in a relationship. Let's face it - that's when privacy becomes all-important.

I have always encouraged my daughters to spend some time living alone before they get married. I think it's so important to know that you don't have to depend on others to be happy. That it is possible to live alone and thrive. In fact, I believe it is necessary to find that space inside yourself that feels safe, protected, and nurtured while living singly.

The time may come when you will be alone, maybe when you least expect it, or when nature takes its course.  My mother-in-law is 97 and living alone for the first time in over 65 years. It happens. Life throws us curve balls, and we need to know we will be okay. I can remember my stint of living alone. I would create nice meals, complete with a beautiful table setting, on a lonely Friday night. I made sure that I celebrated my life, not just when it had someone else in it.

So I'm encouraging her to take the big step. She's ready, I think, since it was her idea. Part of me is nervous for her, as only a mother can be when her child takes big steps. But part of me is proud of her. My most attached daughter is now grown up and ready to find her place in the world. Ready to be alone without always feeling lonely. How great is that?

37 comments:

Single and Sane said...

What wonderful advice! I've known too many women who have found themselves single again and, having never lived alone, are paralyzed by their new reality. There is enough grief surrounding the loss of a marriage (regardless of the reason) without compounding it with the fear of living alone.

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Sounds like you did good in the roots and wings department Nancy. We learn so much about ourself by living alone for a period. How wonderful that you encourage and celebrate your daughter's independence!

Meeko Fabulous said...

OMG . . . I totally know what you mean about living alone. We recently got a friend of mine that needed a place to stay for a while until she got back on her feet . . . Well . . . She's not getting back on her feet fast enough . . . and I'm ready to have my house back to myself.

Brian Miller said...

there is something to be said of a measured amount of alone time...men and women...

Jeff D'Antonio said...

Many people confuse being alone with loneliness - they are not the same thing. Good advice.

Grandmother said...

"How great is that?" Very great, indeed- good for you, good for her!

Star said...

Very wise advice, I would say. We all need to feel our way in life and yes, sharing a kitchen with someone else is really difficult, isn't it.
Blessings, Star

maggie's garden said...

Perfectly said...very wise words. You can live with many people and still be lonely. And being alone doesn't equate to loneliness.
How lucky your daughter is to have you in her life...and vice-versa. Well done mom!

Cloudia said...

That is great...and the gate of freedom...




Aloha from Spring in Waikiki!


Comfort Spiral

Von said...

Very true, from experience I think it's the kitchen thing that's so hard.

Joanne said...

Very true. It sounds like your daughter is in a place in life, emotionally, where she is ready to strike out on her own and grow.

DJan said...

I agree that alone time and loneliness are not the same. It's a good thing to have, alone time, that is. I hope your daughter finds it to be a blessing and not something to avoid. I got married right out of high school and never had a chance to be by myself until I was in my thirties, and I've never regretted those years! I found that I was capable of having a great life alone. Thanks for the great post.

kenju said...

YOu are so right. I only lived alone for 3 months before I got married, but I cherished those months. Wish now, that I had been there longer.

TWINGLE said...

After a few years with flatmates, I lived alone for 2 years in which time I met my husband. Today I know my living alone attracted certain men whom liked my independence and hubby tried and succeeded to tell you that is the advice for a daughter i'm not sure sometimes flatmates can see things that a single person isn't objective about.At any rate it is good to get to know yourself as an individual at any age.

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Wonderful post, as always. Much to think about here.

Butternut Squash said...

I lived alone for 10 years before I was married. I loved having the control over my space. When I married, the first rule was one person is the cook and the other is the sous chef. Trading roles was OK but if it was your turn to be chef the other person better keep their mouth shut.

Nancy said...

i think its great, but i cant imagine my social butterfly children ever living alone for long. And if they did, they would never actually BE alone, neither one likes any alone time and its nearly impossible to imagine that.

Pam said...

Wonderful advice! Though, I've never actually lived alone, always had a roommate and then married. But I still think I would have like to try it.

Natalie said...

It means you have done a fabulous job of raising her.
I remember the days of being irritated by flatmates and wishing I had my own 'nest'.
I LOVE that photo. :)

JC said...

I never had room mates after college. By myself in my little studio apt. Had a grand time.

Delwyn said...

Hi Nancy

this is sage advice...we all need to feel that we are capable and competent as independent individuals.

Happy days

gayle said...

I think it's great that she is going to be on her own!!

淑娟 said...

thank for share, it is very important . ̄︿ ̄

Hilary said...

It's totally great. I loved my alone time for a number of years and I think it is sage advice to go solo before marrying. Good for your daughter.. she has very wise Mom.

Marlene said...

I encouraged my daughter also..to live alone..learn to make it on her own..Its wonderful having companionship.. but a person needs to know how to be alone..to feel good in your own skin..

Lori ann said...

Oh good luck to your daughter Nancy, she'll be fine i'm sure. She's got you. Did your other daughter have a good time away? missing the little one yet? :)

Marcus T. Anthony said...

Hmm, I have the problem of always spending too much time alone! I need to find ways to share it more with others! So the benefits/ disadvantages depend on your personality and personal "issues". Some people could really do with time alone, to find themselves. As someone who spent years alone, I genuinely appreciate having someone to come home to in the evening, and especially the weekend. For some reason, I always found Sundays incredibly lonely when I had nobody to share them with, or even talk to.

Reya Mellicker said...

It's always a revealing experience to take time to live alone, and it looks like, for your daughter, all signs are pointing to this option.

So funny ... I'm headed in that direction as well. Interesting.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

You have certainly given me something to think about....... I have never lived alone! I enjoy time all by myself and I think I could handle it, but really, I don't want to!

Marguerite said...

Oh, I remember those battles with the dishes and fridge. There's nothing quite like having your own place. Great advice!

The Good Cook said...

I think a person HAS to learn how to live alone in order to live with someone else. I mean, how else do we get to know ourselves, without the intrusion of learning about ourselves and how we relate or fit into someone else?

I love that you cooked for yourself, complete with a properly set table - that is something I did and still do for myself (if I find myself alone).. it truly is a celebration of self!

It sounds like your daughter is receiving a lot of good advice and support from you and how exciting that she is ready to take this important step.

Deborah said...

This is a lovely essay, Nancy. It rang lots of bells for me - I lived alone for about 4 years before I got married and couldn't imagine not having that experience. My daughter is reluctant to live alone which perplexes me a bit, but on the other hand finances play a part in that decision too.

In the end, we are alone. It's an essential thing to accept, and it's good to know you can be content with your own company and self-sufficient.

Good luck to your daughter! She just might find it an exhilarating experience!

Linda Pendleton said...

It's great when we learn we don't need anyone else to "fill us up," but only to compliment our life.

And "space" is how we learn more about ourselves.

GYPSYWOMAN said...

bonnie said it so well - that you did well in the roots and wings department, nancy! and what better gift to our children than just that! neat post, lady!!

Pat said...

Sounds like excellent advice from a real smart momma!

Pat said...

Sounds like excellent advice from a real smart momma!

That corgi :) said...

(thanks for visiting our blog, a corgi in Southern California); I hope you get to have a corgi sometime, they are fantastic dogs, even our silly spoiled one :) I lived in Montana for eight years, but am mostly a Southern California resident, having spent most of my life here; Montana indeed is a beautiful state!)

I enjoyed reading this entry and the one before it about your daughter's career choices. I do wish both of them much success in their new ventures; I too agree that women oftentimes might need a season or two of their lives to live alone. I never did; having gone directly from living at home to being married. While it was a good thing, I am now thinking should my husband die before me, I am considering not marrying again, or at least having a long season of living alone, having never done it before)

again, best wishes to your daughters!

betty