Walking around in your underpants: Sometimes it’s good to be single.Posted by Donna Freedman on Feb 2, 2011 | 26 comments
The blogger at the The Quest for $85,000 is about to become an empty nester. Her son’s set to move out soon, which means all four fledglings will officially be launched.
It will be odd, she muses, to live “on my own terms again without worrying about the impact my choices will make on impressionable lives.”
Quest: You don’t know the half of it. For starters, you’ll be able to walk around in your skivvies without giving your progeny a sight they can’t un-see.
When I moved into my own apartment six years ago yesterday (happy anniversary to me!), I tried to add up how much time I’d ever spent living on my own. The total: About nine months in 47 years.
Some people are afraid to live alone. I loved it from the first night on. My place. My rules. My choices. No TV. No loud music. No one hogging the bathroom.
I don’t love every minute of it, but I love most of it. Here’s what I think about living alone in my early 50s.
The good stuff
One person = less mess.
I can eat out of the pan (pasta, chili, soup).
I can eat out of the can (fruit cocktail, pears, peaches).
I can have ice cream for breakfast. I don’t, mind you. It’s pretty much always oatmeal. But I could reach for Haagen-Dazs instead of Quaker if I wanted.
I can have oatmeal for supper, too, if I don’t feel like cooking.
The radio station stays where it’s set: 98.1 FM, Seattle’s classical choice. (It streams live, by the way, so check it out if you don’t have a classical station in your own region.)
There’s always enough hot water for a good long soak.
If something itches, I can scratch. No worries about being seen as unladylike. (That is, unless I forget to close the blinds.)
Dirty dishes are never left in the sink. (One of my pet peeves.)
If I feel like getting into bed with a good book at 6 p.m., then that’s the way I spend my evening.
If I want to stay up until 3 a.m. writing that’s OK too. (Sometimes I get my best work done in the wee hours.)
Speaking of wee: I don’t need to shut the bathroom door! Nor do I ever fall in late at night because somebody left the seat up.
The not-great stuff
It’s no fun to be single when:
You’re sick. There’s no one to pick up your prescription or bring you Powerade when you’re feverish. You also have to empty and rinse your own throw-up pail.
Something funny happens. There’s no one to turn to and say, “Did you see/hear that?”
You want someone to cook for you. Not a whole lot of options there. If you want food prepared just for you by someone else, you go to a restaurant. Thawing something you made and froze last month doesn’t count: It’s still your own one-pot glop.
The ants go marching. My kitchen is briefly infested each spring and fall. Apparently they’re seeking territory or some damn thing. All I know is that when I see the little stinkers crawling on the counter, I’m the one who has to deal with them, each and every time. Hurrah. Hurrah.
(Note: If you were dumb enough to click on that link, you deserve to have that song stuck in your head all day.)
Something scarier than an ant gets in. I am allergic to stinging insects but I have to kill any yellow jackets that get into my apartment.
Something scarier than a stinging insect is (maybe) trying to get in. I have never been burglarized in Seattle but occasionally a weird nighttime noise startles me awake. It’s probably just a raccoon or a drunk guy stumbling through the side yard, but it’s spooky. Why is it that I sleep through sirens (fire station one block away, police-infested Aurora Avenue three blocks over) but am awakened by snapping twigs?
You write something killingly swell. Nobody’s there to hear you read it aloud.
You write something that needs work. Empty chairs are lousy editors.
The toilet runs slowly or clogs. If I were sharing this unit I’d be responsible for only 50% of the closet-augering. (Yes, I have my own toilet snake. I’m just macha like that.)
It’s time to pay the rent. I’m responsible for 100% of that, too.
Single readers: What are your favorite/least favorite parts of living alone?
Married/partnered folks, especially parents: What would you give to be alone, even just for a few minutes a day?