A few months ago I was house and pet sitting for friends – by myself for two weeks. This was the longest time I have been away from my husband in seven years. This was the first time I was living by myself in the same time.
As someone who thrives on being social and being around people – this was a weird and unexpected experiment. It was odd. The first few days were hard – I wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself. I had no one to consult. I had no one to ask what they wanted for dinner. It was just me and the dog and that’s all.
After a few days I got used to it. It was like remembering an old, forgotten friend. I slipped into a routine and settled in.
When I was discussing this experience with my mother she remarked how important it is to talk. If you don’t work, and live alone, it’s conceivable that you will not speak all day. I spoke to the dog, but many older people talk to themselves. It’s not crazy – it’s just them adapting to being alone. It’s good to reach out to the outside world, phone a friend or family member and socialize.
This is especially important to do, because when you are alone you are alone with your thoughts. This can be a peaceful, positive thing, but it also can be destructive. Many of us tend to let our minds wander to negative things – getting out into the world helps you shake this negativity.
Thus I made an effort to get out of the house once every day. This meant that I needed to get dressed in a respectable manner. One day I went to the grocery store, another a coffee shop, another a restaurant. This short – sometimes only half hour long trip – improved my mood, my outlook, and my day more dramatically than I can express.
But perhaps one of the best things about being alone is that you can do whatever you want to do. This meant I could finally go to that museum I’ve been wanting to go to, without lugging around my bored husband. I did this while travelling years ago as well. Travelling by yourself isn’t as bad as you may think. You make the schedule, and in many cases – such as tours or museums – you’re not talking to someone anyway. You don’t miss the companionship. The list of activities that are okay to do alone is endless from working out to going to the movies.
This video explains it best. It’s okay to be alone.