Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Benefits of Living Alone

I really like living by myself.  There are a lot of advantages, not the least of which is being able to set my own agenda every day and not needing to adjust myself to anybody else. 

I play classical music as loudly as I want any time of the day or night.  I burn incense pretty constantly and a lot of people don't like incense.  I eat when and what I want to without having to be concerned with what someone else might want to do.  If I want to take the day off and just rest, read, and listen to music, there's no one here to ask me what's wrong and insist on reassurance that I'm okay.

If I don't want to wash my hair, I don't and there's no one to remark that my hair could use a washing.  I wear whatever I want without concern about modesty or fashion.  Since I have limited energy but I like an uncluttered environment, it's a blessing that my environment stays the way I want it unless I mess it up because there's no one else to pick up after. 

Right now there are books on every inch of my bedroom floor except for a pathway to the bathroom and the closet.  I have been in the process of sorting books for many days.  I have hundreds of books and I keep acquiring more.  I refuse to buy another bookcase so it's time to clear them out.  That requires some re-reading of books to see if they will make the cut.  Thanks to low energy and re-reading, this project is going to take weeks.  If someone else were living here, I would have to explain why there are piles of books everywhere.

I talk to myself a lot.  I used to only do this in the car because the people I lived with would have thought I was crazy.  Talking to myself is a habit I developed as a child when I was an only child and frequently alone.  There's something kind of magical about hearing myself talk out a problem or making a decision.  It's like hearing another person, and since I often think I know what other people should do, listening to myself really speeds up my ability to make decisions!

I know some of my habits would get on someone else's nerves and vice versa.  For example, one of my regular houseguests is a little creeped out by the knife that frequently sits on the top of the peanut butter jar.  I use it to dig out a bit of peanut butter when I pass by.  (Probably contributes to my overweight.)  But when someone else besides me washes the dishes, the knife has to be wiped off before putting it in the dishwasher.  Peanut butter is gooey and sticky.  So, in order to be considerate, I try to remember to clean off the knife and put it in the dishwasher myself.

My sleep patterns are pretty messed up and have been all my life.  I've tried pretty much everything to straighten them out, and some of the things I've tried have helped a lot.  At the same time, I am usually awake for a period of time around 4:00 in the morning.  I blame all the years I got up with restless children, but who knows why the pattern still persists.  So I get up and eat something (peanut butter).  I read.  I clean out closets.  I write blog posts.  I read stuff online.  Finally I go back to bed and watch television.  All that activity would be very aggrevating to another person living in the house.  My dear husband slept with ear plugs and an eye mask.  The other problem is that when I go back to sleep I sleep past normal getting up time. So I may appear to be sleeping very late unnecessarily which tends to make people think I'm lazy and irritate them.

I like to spend about an hour every morning reading my meditation books and journaling.  Being free from a 9 to 5 job, has given me this luxury.  Then I've been slowly developing the habit of doing 20 minutes of meditation at around 5 or 6.  These two opportunities to connect with myself and a force for good in the universe keep me pretty grounded mentally and emotionally, but they interrupt interactions with anyone who is living with me and require special requests for no interruptions.  Since I love to gab and interact, I don't really want to ask.

Being alone a lot of the time gives me the opportunity to more easily notice my thoughts, emotions and behavior.  There's really no one else to blame when something goes wrong.  It's always me; me every time!  That fact gives me the opportunity to notice and work on correcting my thoughts before they become emotions and behavior that are negative.

On the other hand - I love having company.  I seem to be both a very social and very reclusive person at the same time.  Weird.  Plus being a little bit old and a little bit disabled, makes me more vulnerable so having someone here is good for my safety.   

I am not at all fearful for myself - I keep my cell phone close by so if I fall down, I've got a way to call for help.  Plus I'm probably a little bit more muscular and balanced than a lot of old ladies because of 20 years of yoga and weight lifting.  I also have had great nutrition now and in my earlier life which means I do not have brittle bones.  In addition, I'm not very fearful of intruders because I have wasp spray, an aluminum baseball bat and my bad temper for protection.

Nevertheless, I probably am safer when other people are here.  So, all in all, I like living alone and I like company.  I think I'm blessed to love both!

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