7 min read

Living Alone

Living Alone
Photo by Sasha Freemind / Unsplash

I cannot recall the last time in my adult life that I lived by myself. I was not one of those teenagers that was dying to move out. Not only that, but I actually enjoyed the company of my parents. They are wonderful and the best people in my life. I am lucky to have them.

The point is, I have always lived with my parents and/or with my wife. I have literally never lived by myself. Now, this may not be a big deal for most of you, but it certainly was for me.

Why am I in this situation?

Well, after spending a few weeks in Europe, I was back at home and attempting to settle into my usual routine. Months ago, we received an invitation to a 1st and a 21st birthday party in New Zealand. Honestly, at that time, I wasn't keen and neither was my wife. However, upon my return from Europe, my wife insisted we go. Her soon-to-be 21-year-old niece really wanted her to attend. So we went. I went for 4 days (why? Because of work, but more because I would rather not spend almost 2 weeks in Auckland), and she went for 12 days. In summary, there was a period of exactly one week that I was going to stay alone. This is a first for me.

Planning

In some weird way, I was actually looking forward to this alone time with myself. I figured, it allows me to do things my way without the influence of anyone self, without thinking of anyone else, without considering anyone else’s thoughts/feelings etc. Basically, it was one week, where I only listened to what I wanted to do.

However, what I wanted to do was not obvious at first? So I made a short list which looked like this:

  • EAT and DRINK anything and any amount I want
  • PS5 GAMING at every opportunity
  • JUST CHILL
  • Maybe cook a few meals
  • No housework

I know, super creative and just a wonderful soul I am (sarcasm)


What actually happened?

I landed on around lunchtime on Monday and by the time I got home, it was already 2pm. The first thing I did was something I always do. I unpacked my bag and put everything in its place. I am not one of those that have a separate set of my tech just for travelling. This means, I have to plug my chargers back in their usual position. It’s no big deal because I travel like 2 to 3 times a year. Anyway, I didn’t have dinner and despite my plans to have a big night by myself, I fell asleep early. I was tired and I had work tomorrow morning. My plan was to wake up early and be at the office at 7am (like usual). Well, I got up at 7:30 and worked from home. I am already off to a great start (sarcasm).

Anyway, without boring you with all the details, I want to document my thoughts and experiences in short form (not an exhaustive list):

  • The entire house feels super quiet. It's strange. There is always something happening in this house, like my son playing or my wife doing her thing or just listening to music, etc. However, when there is no one, there is really nothing that is happening.
  • Despite my desire to do zero housework, I actually did a fair bit. I suppose, I am who I am. I dislike clutter, etc. So I did the laundry washing (twice) and also the dishwasher was used a few times. I actually did both during the day, so used solar power. That felt good.
  • I also washed most of the dishes and pans before the end of the day. I found, even for just one person, there is always so much cleaning to do in the kitchen. Furthermore, I understand why people get takeaways or eat out because it’s just easier. I actually skipped some lunches because I couldn’t be bothered cleaning up.
  • I watered the plants. This is something my wife did because I couldn’t care less. Strangely, when I saw those plants, I just watered them. I felt as if, though, that is what my wife would have done and that is what I will do. I want her to come home to see her plants alive.
  • I fed the birds. My wife and I have any many loud discussions about feeding the birds in our backyards. I was against it. Therefore, my wife knew that for the entire week, the birds will be unfed. The first two days, I remained strong, but from day 3, I started feeding them. I really don’t know why.
  • On the fifth day, when I went for a morning shower, I noticed that the water was not hot. It wasn’t even warm. I showered in the cold water. No big deal. I went to the hot water system and found the problem and I couldn’t believe it myself, I fixed it. I fix nothing. Not only that, but I cannot fix anything. But this time I did. I felt like a very sexy handy man. This also gave me a reason to find out whether, as a household, we can live without gas. There are only two things that we require gas for: cooking and hot water system. Everything else is on electricity. I spent a few hours researching it and ultimately decided that for now, my wife will never agree to cook on induction cook stove top. I park this idea until when the stove dies or the hot water system dies. Is there an electric stove that has the flame like the gas stove? That night, I enjoyed a hot shower.
  • Working at home is extremely difficult when there is no one else around. The best part of working from home for me was spending time with my son. Since he was in New Zealand, my beloved study felt empty and uninspiring. Now, I understand why some people I work with always want to work from the office. A few of them actually live alone. I will be more mindful of this in the future.
  • I ate simple meals like eggs, bacon, avocado on toast. Furthermore, I also ate a lot of junk food, like chips and ice cream. I did not feel good…. Does living alone encourage one to eat compulsively? At least that happened to me, especially at night.
  • NIGHTS: are super hard. Sleeping alone in a king bed is no fun. At times, I felt scared. I checked the doors many times to ensure they were locked. Not only that, but I miss my wife and son. My son still sleeps with us. I actually prefer it. I know some parents think I am stupid. He is my kid, and he is happy to sleep with us, so that is the end of discussion on that. By the way, the house feels even quieter at night. I struggled at night, to the extent that I slept early most nights because I wanted the night to end and wake up to the sunrise.
  • There is a wall clock in the living room. It has been there for over 10 years. However, it was only recently that I heard that the second hand makes a certain noise. It took me a while to realise that the sound that I heard was coming from the clock. That is how quiet it gets in the house.
  • We have a swing on the patio. I never use it. I thought it was a bad idea to get the swing because it occupies so much space. However, for the first time ever, I was sitting on it just looking and enjoying some tea or coffee. Sitting on the swing and doing nothing. Nothing at all…. By the way, the sound of the birds is so beautiful and peaceful. I am going to use that swing more often.
  • In the 7 days, I spent two days playing the PS5: Horizon Forbidden West. Yesterday and today (Sunday), I found time. This is a strange thing to say because this is something I was really looking forward to but didn’t get around until it was the weekend. I suppose it really wasn’t that important to me.
  • Every night, my wife tells me to put the blinds down and every morning to put the blinds up. I asked many times why. Just leave them open. Who cares… She said: just do it. Cannot argue with that. However, this time, I figured, I am just going to leave them open the entire time. I am smiling typing this, but old habits die hard. Without even thinking about it, every night I was putting the blinds down and putting them up again in the morning. It was only on day 3 that I realised that I was planning to keep them open. Oh well, I kept doing what I was doing, so the blinds go up and down every day. I still don’t know why.

What I learnt?

As I write this on Sunday night, I am really, really looking forward to picking up my wife and my son from the airport tomorrow. I am going to give them a really tight and long hug.

It's experiences like this that sort of put things into perspective about life and about how much we take the same relationships for granted that we will struggle to live without. At least that is the case for me.

A house is just a house. Even a magnificent house is simply a house. It is my family that makes the house a home.

Moreover, my wife does a lot. Not only I need to be more appreciative, I also need to do a lot more at home. This is important.

I enjoyed the peace and quiet, but ultimately, I want to live with my family. Yes, I wouldn’t mind a few hours during the day when it’s just me at home, but most times, I want my family to be with me. This has been an eye-opener. I am definitely not planning to put myself in a position where I live alone. I also found out that I scare easy (don’t tell anyone, it’s embarrassing).

Take care and have a great week ahead. Also, remember to be kind. MereCivilian signing off