Living Alone. Facing Myself.

Photo by Diego San on Unsplash

I have lived alone for years now. I was married once, decades ago, for 12 years. And I lived with another man for several years. We split up over 5 years ago. I have been on my own for most of my life.

This is where I find comfort, in sacred solitude. Especially in my own home and private sanctuary. 

Being an only child, I learned how to best comfort myself while alone. Being the focus of my parents with no siblings to distract them, I learned that the only time that I felt free to truly be myself was when I was completely alone. No one else to please. No one else to worry about in my own private space. No one there to immediately judge me or criticize me or find fault with anything that I was doing. No one else to tune into to make sure that I was safe. 

And now I enter “elderhood”. I will be 70 in the coming year. And living alone has some new added dimensions. 

What if something happens to me and there is no one around to ask for help? Something to think about in terms of where I live as I continue this aging journey.

Living alone can be bittersweet. It can bring both comfort and also at times a sense of loneliness. That’s different from the feeling of being alone that I am so familiar and comfortable with. Loneliness craves. Aloneness simply is. 

There are things that I sometimes miss with living alone. Someone to share a cup of coffee or tea with and chat with when I wake up and cannot sleep. Someone to ask how my day was. Someone to curl up next to sometimes when I need to feel human touch. Someone to help me feel a bit less alone in the world.

And yet, I find more (at least at this stage of my life) benefits to living alone than costs. 

I get to eat when and what I want. Yes, sometimes I do get tired of eating alone and spend less time preparing meals than if someone else were here with me. I am working on that. 

I get to sleep when I want.

 I get to keep my house as I see fit.

 I get to structure my moments, hours and days as I wish. 

For me, living alone also gives me the time and space to really hear myself.

 I have been a caregiver in my career as a social worker. I have learned to tune into others, perceive what they are feeling or may need. I am grateful to be able to do this. 

I also need a time and place when I can turn this off. When I can then tune into my own self and what I may be feeling or may need without the distraction of tuning into others around me and what may be going on with them. 

I write when I am alone. I can hear myself and express that to others who may be interested in some of the things that I have to say. I validate my own feelings and self by writing. 

I paint alone. I have no interest in the popular “paint nights” where people get together to paint and be part of a group. Painting is another exploration into my soul, as is my writing. I guard my time to do that alone. I get distracted by others and my own intrusive thoughts about what their thoughts and judgments of my paintings may be. 

I do my most intense thinking when alone. I allow my feelings to come up as they wish when I am alone, to tell me what they need me to hear and pay attention to. 

I am most myself when alone, and at this time in my life, I am wanting to really know myself, to get to know that deepest part of me that I have not paid enough attention to. The part of me that I learned to judge as not good enough. The part of me that I set aside with the busyness of life and all of its demands. The part of me that it’s now time to fully come home to. 

What I have also learned, especially since retirement, is that I must be intentional in creating my tribe and community. I live alone, and I also need others. So I must create that for myself. I create my own family, having none of my own at this time. The family at the neighborhood gym. The family of the art association that I have joined. The family of writers that is here in this community of writers, all of you. The family of friends and neighbors who acknowledge my existence and worth to them. All of these different families are precious to me. 

I live alone, by choice. And I am connected to others, as needed. For me, this works right now. Will it change in the future? Possibly. Aging brings changes and different needs. For now, I am grateful for the sacredness of solitude in my own quiet home. Where I can finally hear mySelf. 

8 thoughts on “Living Alone. Facing Myself.

  1. Wow! I am also an only child… I feel all those things you express, I very much relate to the way you operate. I can understand how growing older causes questions, reminds me of my mother who was only married for 7 years, after my father died she too chose to be on her own right up till her 87th year. But she did move to a community where she lived in her own cottage. Coming back to facing one self… That is so valuable. I wish you the very best in your journey. You have inspired me, as I too write to know myself, and do art to know myself… You have reminded me of that, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a lovely response to get, Morag! Thank you.
      Only children can relate to solitude in a unique way, I think.
      And please know that I also wish you the very best on your journey! I’m glad that we connected on this path.


      1. Thank you, I am also glad we connected here on this path… I forgot to say… I am going to be 60 next year.. Seems so unbelievable.. I can remember a lot of my life all the way back to 2 years old.. I don’t feel my age in my spirit but the body creaks and groans at times 😄

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s