On Living Alone

Hey, remember when I used to blog? Yeah, me neither.

My life imploded in the past couple of months. I don’t want to go into detail, but the end results include a new apartment, a new therapist, and a new car. I’m like a grab bag of emotional extremes. It’s a riot.

And now, for the first time in my life–adult or otherwise–I live alone.

Okay, so I live with my cats. But no matter how much I end up talking to them, they don’t really count.

It’s bizarre and lovely by turns. If I don’t feel like washing the dishes, I don’t feel like washing the dishes. If I feel like being Really Particular about where my utensils go, I can be Really Particular.

I’m extremely lucky in so many ways–that I have a job, that my job allows me to afford a place of my own, that I still have some income on top of that to take myself out to dinner if I need some human interaction…

But it’s fucking lonesome.

I like to think I’ve always been a pretty independent person. From the seven year old making up Behind the Music-type narratives for fictional bands to the college freshman who used to pick a particular table in the dining hall precisely because I knew no one else would want to sit there, I’ve spent much of my life reveling in time to myself.

I come by this fairly naturally, as I am my father’s daughter. I grew up hearing him tell us about how he’d have a Daddy Film Festival when the rest of us went on a trip, or telling me as I got older that he was looking forward to having “a good letting-alone.”

But now that I have all this time to myself by design, I find myself watching a lot of crappy TV just so I can avoid hearing my own thoughts reverberating against these wide open spaces. (I don’t own much furniture, and I’ve yet to put anything up on the walls besides a dart board.)

One of my favorite movies is a very underappreciated Disney film from 1944 called The Three Caballeros. One of its segments, The Cold-Blooded Penguin, follows a very determined penguin named Pablo who always dreamed of warmer weather. Ultimately [spoiler!] he manages to sail all the way past the equator to sunny beaches… and then does nothing but dream of the South Pole.

In some ways, I’m a bit like Pablo. I’ve spent much of my life as a loner, dreaming of what it might be like to find someone to spend time with, to just be around and live with and have a happy little domesticity. And when I finally had that, I found myself longing for alone time.

And here we are back at the beginning again, alone and lonesome.

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One Response to On Living Alone

  1. Liz says:

    Delurking to say spot on with the ambivalence of solitude. Also identify as a loner, yet have never lived alone (and also have a father who likes the solitude). Sorry though that such a resonant post should come out of major life upheaval.

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