I live alone now, but before living in Chicago for some time I’ve always lived with people. A roommate my first year here in Chicago. Roommates (and soulmates) in college and after. And family in between all of that. There are so many benefits to living with people (I’ve written about it, actually!) and I absolutely loved the time I spent with various roommates throughout the years. Coming home to someone else who knows and understands you can be so beneficial.
Now, however, I’ve been living on my own for over a year. I wake up in my apartment by myself, I come home to myself (well, and my cat), and I hang out by myself on many weeknights and weekends. Lonely, yet? Don’t feel bad for me too quickly. There are a lot of benefits to living on my own and learning the difference between being alone and being lonely.
The first couple nights on my own, I’ll admit that I was a bit lonely and woke up to just about every little creak and bump in the night. I triple checked my door and window locks and kept a weapon of sorts under my bed (still do, don’t mess with me). After about the first week, however, I settled into a rhythm. I still make sure to check my locks (don’t worry Mom!) and take precautions as most people do to stay safe, but I don’t get startled by every floorboard settling or horn honking outside. I’ve become more comfortable in my apartment and feel secure, but I’ve grown to feel better about life alone in so many more ways than physical safety.
I enjoy my own company. Yep, I said it. I enjoy reading on my couch in my sweats or watching Netflix by myself. I’m pretty cool with hanging out by with myself. I like that if I don’t want to do the dishes for a couple nights because I’m sick/tired/feeling plain lazy, no one else is going to judge or think less of me. I like that if it’s 11pm and that’s the time I feel like getting up and working out or cleaning the house top to bottom, I’m not going to disturb anyone by turning on my music or the vacuum cleaner. I also like that if I want to watch 4 episodes of Fuller House in a row, I can do just that, whenever I want, without considering what someone else may want to watch or do. Selfish? Maybe. In my world, though, this is a form of self-care. I spend a lot of time with other people so my time alone is treasured and needed so that I can recover and recharge and feel calm, relaxed, focused, and happy.
I teach small children with disabilities all day. I love my job. Goodness knows if you know me you know I love my job and all my kids. It gives me life and fills me with so much joy. After a full day of it, however, I still have a couple hours of paperwork to do every day. Thankfully I’m done with grad school now, but my free hours are still few and far between. I love this busy lifestyle and I enjoy what I do, but when I come home, it is time to focus on myself for a little bit. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a full social life and friends I love dearly. Weekends are full of outings and relaxing after a long week and time spent with other people both in and outside of my apartment. Home, though, when everyone has left for their own houses and I’m left by myself, is a peaceful sanctuary just for me.
I live alone, but I am anything but lonely.