The best thing about living alone
In the bleak desert that is this short break from Best Things, a guest blog approaches from frequent guest blogger, Hazel…
I’ll admit, it sounds like the start of a potential tragic best thing today. Perhaps you’re worried that I will conclude, ‘There’s no-one around to hear you cry’ or ‘You can get as many cats as you want!’
I’ve recently moved out of a shared house and into a one bedroom flat for the first time (unless you count when I was living in Japan for a while, but I’d say that was less of a one bedroom flat and more of a cupboard with a toilet). Interestingly, the most frequent response to my move is, “Wow, it’s like you’re a real grown up now!” Even from my friends in their mid-30s. Apparently living alone is now something reserved for the chronically unsociable and spinsters over 50.
There are, of course, some negatives to solo living. Most of mine revolve around food, and the fact that supermarkets really really want you to bulk buy and don’t like providing things in single portions and that before I know it I’m faced with things like this in my cupboard:
Having my own place has also had the wholly unexpected side effect of a sudden desire to buy those quaint little knick knacks that always fill the homeware aisle, like pots labelled “tea”, “coffee” and “sugar”, brightly coloured throws and signs that say things like, “Home is where the heart is” and “I’m on a gin and tonic diet – I’ve already lost 2 days!”
A lot of peoples’ first answer to “What is the best thing about living alone?” is that you can walk around naked. While I do enjoy the novelty of walking straight from the shower to my bedroom whilst feeling fresh air circulating around my bottom, I wouldn’t say it was a best thing, and frankly not worth the extra financial burden of having to pay the council tax by myself. A better benefit is the lack of passive aggressive notes on my kitchen table asking me to PLEASE clean up the kitchen immediately after cooking or informing me that if I want to leave my washing up in the draining rack then I should buy my own, although perhaps this is somewhat influenced by my past experiences.
So, what is the best thing about living alone? Here it is:
YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE CONSIDERATE ANYMORE.
It may sound selfish but think about it. No more guilt about being messy – you are the only one that will suffer. No more worrying that people will be annoyed that you don’t clean the bathroom enough, or feeling resentful because you seem to clean it more than anyone else.* Have you ever gone back to live with your parents for a while and immediately fallen back into lazy habits, while telling yourself that you really MUST do more to help out rather than sitting around feeling bad about it? No more! Stew in your own filth if you wish! Or don’t, but the choice is yours.
The flip side of this is that I have suddenly discovered what it is to be house-proud. I remember being baffled by my parents’ constant cleaning before guests came over, and yet now I do the same, whilst internally repeating “No-one must know that it doesn’t look like this all the time!”
Perhaps this is what it is to be a grown-up.
*NB. I read somewhere that a study found that if everyone in a house does the same amount of housework, they will all believe that they do more than anyone else.
That’s yet another great post from Hazel. Is it time we offered her a more permanent placement on the blog? Maybe once a month? Maybe more? Would Steve be ok with that? Would she even accept that sort of thing? Am I asking rhetorical questions instead of actually talking to her?