Recently, I had the luxury of spending two weeks alone when my husband immersed himself in Ecuadorian culture. I’m happy to report that I survived and even thrived during my two weeks sans spouse. Sure, we talked on the phone daily, and the truth is I wouldn’t feel my time alone was so special if it were a permanent arrangement.
So, I’d like to share six lessons I learned when living alone.
1. I can go to events by myself.
I worked during this time, but on the weekends, I went to a library book sale, a live National Public Radio event, and a Lyle Lovett concert, all in downtown Chicago. While I attended all of those events alone, I chatted with people there and rather enjoyed that I could say good-bye and not have to make arrangements to see them again.
2. Friends are important, but not always.
My first weekend alone, I read an article about how people need three to seven friends. Hmmm. I have two sisters who are bosom friends, but they live in other states. And a couple of friends invited me to do something with them. But I was savoring this alone time, and like the first bite of a scrumptious dish, I did not want to share. If my situation were permanent, I think I’d be more open to those invitations.
3. I can cook on the grill.
My husband is the barbecue-er as they say in the Midwest, and I gladly let him take the helm. After my first attempt to grill chicken legs ended in a fiery mess, I called and asked his advice. My second, third and fourth attempts were successful. Sure, I requested his help, but I could have “googled” it. Changing out the propane tank is another matter.
4. Sleep is more relaxing.
I am in that stage of life when someone else’s heat triggers a reaction similar to the first time I grilled chicken legs. I think I speak for a lot of women when I say that sleep is better alone. Less combustible. But also far less compatible.
5. I can watch any television show I want.
I love the sound of a baseball or football game. But I far prefer my choices on TV. When alone, I always control the clicker.
6. I eat foods I shouldn’t.
Specifically, my sin food is Doritos with cheese and jalapeños baked at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. And I don’t like to share. I further indulged in frozen yogurt because someone posted a photo of ice cream on Facebook, and I am highly susceptible to pictorial suggestions. Obesity is the potential outcome of me living alone.
Do you enjoy an occasional respite from your partner? Or are you permanently alone? How do you feel about that? What have you learned?
Terri Lackey is director for communication for Women of the ELCA.
Photo: Hot legs by David Reber, Constant Commons