Monday, 30 August 2010

No Place Like Home: My Own Space

I've lived on my own for over three years* now, and I can say with utmost confidence that it's the most self-revealing thing I've ever experienced, as well as being an on-going module in 'important life lessons'. From removing stuck toilet blocks from the U-bend to dealing with power cuts at 5am, from suffering with flu to dealing with agonies of the most emotional kind; every situation seems unfamiliar when you have to face it alone.

When I tell people I have no housemates they generally seem quite surprised. I guess it's not completely normal for a student to choose not to live with friends, or in university accommodation at least. I have no idea why I chose to continue living alone when I returned to York; I hope it wasn't due to any strong misanthropic tendencies, or to an overriding intolerance of other people's bad habits, but I couldn't say for sure. All I know is that when I had to live alone for the first time in France, it was initially quite a shock to the system, but it soon became a luxury I could continuously indulge myself in.

I love having space and time completely for me. Before I worked on Sundays, I used to cordon-off the whole day for myself; my social network closed down for the day and I would take the time to enjoy my own company. Sundays usually involved breakfast in bed with a book, a long run, and a 'treat' such as a cinema trip or lunch in my favourite café, and it was pure bliss, every week.

I haven't taken any days for myself in such a long time; I can't even imagine eating alone in a restaurant now, only two years later. I find this quite disappointing - I'm not sure what, if anything has changed, but I can identify some sort of shift in my attitude in the past two years, almost as if I've somehow lost confidence in myself; as if I need reassurance from the company of someone else.

However, I'm not sure this is such a bad thing. I could accuse my former self of cutting off other people, cutting off opportunities to share myself, and my life, with people I care about. Two years ago I didn't want to ever get married, and I certainly didn't want children, and when I look back it all seems quite selfish. My outlook was 'always be your own number one', which isn't such a bad thing, in itself, but it cuts off every possibility of letting someone else in completely.

In two weeks I'll be moving in with someone who I hope to share every day with for a very long time: a thought that would have horrified me two years ago is now sending zaps of excitement through me every minute of every day. Two years ago I thought living with a boyfriend would reflect a weakness in myself. Now I see that what I saw then as 'giving up independance' is actually 'stopping being so selfish'. If this is giving up my independance then I don't want it anyway, thanks.

*Actually, I tell a lie: I lived in a 'shared house' for a year, and had two other housemates. But still I count this as alone; there was no one to depend on, I called neither housemate a friend, and for the majority of the time I had glorious free-reign of the only shared room in the house - the kitchen.


  1. Yes, I love what you say about "giving up independence" vs. "stop being so selfish."
    And I am excited for this new part of your life; you will write, I'm sure, beautiful and inspiring things about this part as well :)

  2. I don't think not wanting to get married or have children is necessarily selfish, as long as the significant other feels the same way. I guess that's how I know I finally met my match :D

    I lived on my own right through university. People thought I was weird but honestly, it was the only way I could be assured the kitchen and bathroom were to my exacting standards!

  3. Hehe, I think we'd get on quite well in real life - 'pernickety' would be a kind way to describe my bathroom/kitchen routines ;-)

  4. I hope the moving in together is a wonderful new stage of your life. We are two very independent people living together, who both probably never imagined ourselves not living alone. But now we find our own space within each others, and it has been a lovely and exciting thing. I am sure that it will feel like the most natural thing in no time and suddenly you will realise that it feels as if it should always have been that way.

  5. one of my biggest regrets is never living alone... to know that i can make it on my own you know? i had great memories with room mates (and not so great ones) but my "favorite room mate" is my future husband ;)

    cheers to you and this great adventure with a most worthy man <3

    ps. THANK YOU WITH ALL MY HEART for the brilliant magazine surprise!!! I may have stared at him and the pages for 20 minutes easily ;) max thinks i'm crazy... he might be right! Ha i plan to do a special blog post about such kindness for robbie's biggest fan ;) LOL LOVE LOVE LOVE! i will have to send you a sincere thank-you and belated birthday gift xoxo

    oh and the chocolate? DELISH! x