At first, I was terrified at the thought of being alone. It happened quickly. One day I was a wife, and then I wasn’t. My husband had died. Yes, I still had children (grown), but they were long gone. I found myself slowly sinking into a depression that was as deep as a cosmic black hole.
I was bereft. What now?
And poof! One day, or week, or month, or year later, I climbed my way back to the land of the living. It hit me like an electric shock: I was living alone for the first time in my life. I had shared a room with my sister growing up, had three college roommates, and then married. This could be really great. My marriage was good; I loved my kids. But they all were my priorities, and, in fact, often more important to me, than me. For years I was deflecting and not dealing with my issues. The what ifs…what if my daughter doesn’t get the lead in the school musical? what if my husband doesn’t make his bonus? what if …
Now I was the sole focus of my life, and at first it felt incredibly difficult, uncomfortable, self-centered. As time marched on, however, slowly and imperceptibly, there was a shift. Living alone, I realized, is not only empowering, it allowed me to get in touch with my inner self, and fortunately or unfortunately, has brought out all the peccadilloes in my personality that I had been hiding from others for fear they’d cart me off to the nearest institution.
Yes, being alone has its moments of levity. We all do outrageous things when we think no one is watching. Admit it all you singles out there! This topic popped to the surface recently when I lunched with a group of former work colleagues, all women who live alone. After talking politics, the hot topic of the moment, one of the women asked out of the blue: Do you ever do really silly things now that you live alone? We all nodded our heads in rhythm, giggled, and started to spill the beans.
Here are some of the revelations and the perks:
- One of the women admitted that she crawls up the stairs on all fours because it’s easier on her back. It’s even funnier when she doesn’t wear any clothing.
- Another admitted that she likes to disco dance to Saturday Night Live music and talk baby talk to her cat.
And then I weighed in with full transparency:
- Standing in front of the TV when I eat and screaming at the screen when I disagree with what’s being said.
- Binge TV watching old Barbara Stanwyck or Bette Davis movies or blasting NPR when insomnia takes hold.
- Listening to Earth Wind & Fire’s music on a loop.
- Throwing my iPhone across the room in a fit of rage when it doesn’t work or cursing at my laptop when it freezes, as if it could hear me and worse, answer or apologize.
- Putting furniture together and doing it all wrong, emitting a string of expletives and then just settling for the best job even if the desk chair I just assembled is lopsided. Who cares?
- Throwing socks and clothes on the floor and leaving them there….because I can. And we're talking days.
- Eating desserts before dinner and not having to deal with a Greek chorus of snarky comments.
- Quaffing a glass or two of wine when in the mood or need to lift my mood, and sometimes it's quite a bit before 5 p.m. somewhere.
- Eating a box of chocolates that are mine only and poking holes in each piece to find out what’s inside. Now that’s empowering for all you chocoholics out there.
- Brushing my teeth while standing on one foot to improve balance and then keeling over.
- Channeling Maria Callas and singing arias in the shower without any critics writing a review.
- Walking around buck naked and not hearing such comments as: “Hum, you need to shed a few,” or “When did you develop such large breasts?”
- Over-processing and over-thinking everything: “Oh God, what is that lump?" "How loud can I get be before my neighbors start complaining? “What if the rash I have is really shingles?” Scratch. Scratch. “What is that odor? It must be carbon monoxide. Should I call the fire department or police?” Then, I remember that carbon monoxide is odorless and worry even more.
- Carrying on a conversation with myself and having a comment on everything as if someone were standing right there: “Yeah, I really like that.” “What do you think?” “Should I wear this dress or those pants?”
And, if truth be told, I have discovered in my aloneness, the best audience possible—is ME!
Feel free to share with us your silly moments as a single. Transparency required; anonymity guaranteed.