By Gwenn Voelckers
“Why in the world would I want to get good at living alone?” scowled my discontented divorced friend, weary of sheltering-in-place and longing to be married again. “I want to meet someone new and settle down. I want my old life back!”
Understanding where she was coming from, I reassured her that the two were not mutually exclusive. In fact, I said with conviction, getting good at living alone could very well help her realize her dream of remarriage and reclaiming her life.
Whether you want to get married or remarried or to stay single, there are plenty of compelling reasons to find contentment on your own during and beyond COVID-19.
Below, I’ve assembled my Top 10 best reasons for getting good at living alone. Like conquering any challenge, mastering the art of living alone has its rewards, even if it’s just for a year or two … or a lifetime.
REASON 1 — Living alone gives you the chance to determine who you really are and what you really want for your life. No “shoulds” or other people’s agendas. Those of us who live alone have the gift of abundant time to ourselves. And we have even more time these days.
Used wisely, this time can be an adventure in self-discovery and reveal opportunities for personal growth and fulfillment. Take this precious time to ask yourself what really matters to you. How you want to spend your time? And with whom?
REASON 2 — When you exercise acceptance and fully embrace your newfound independence, you have the chance to be a role model for others and to be of service.
Inspired by your good example, a divorced friend, a widowed parent or an adult child who is still single can find strength, hope and comfort in seeing firsthand how contentment can be found on one’s own.
REASON 3 — Living alone affords you the opportunity to become more self-sufficient and resourceful. No more “his and her” division of duties: It’s all yours!
Learning to master things around the house — from minor repairs to hiring a roofing contractor, from planting a garden to making lasagna from scratch — can be a real source of satisfaction and self-pride.
REASON 4 — Finding contentment on your own will help you avoid entering into unhealthy relationships out of loneliness or desperation. Maybe no other reason to get good at living alone is as important as this one. And it goes for both sexes.
The inability to survive a Friday night alone, to prepare and eat a meal by yourself, or to overcome feelings of inadequacy make you easy prey for a suitor with dubious intentions. It’s a risky place to be.
Getting good at living alone will improve your chances of meeting someone who values and appreciates your strengths, not your weaknesses.
REASON 5 — Glorious time to yourself! Living alone gives you a chance to enjoy peaceful, meaningful you time.
With the ability to control your schedule and find uninterrupted time to yourself, you can accomplish all those things you’ve been meaning to get to do, large and small, from finishing that good book, to clearing out the clutter, to updating your will, to learning to play pickleball. There’s no stopping you.
REASON 6 — Living alone is a real motivator, especially when it comes to managing your money. When you live alone you don’t have a choice. You’re it. And, frankly, that’s a good thing, because ignorance around money matters can put you at a real disadvantage.
The good news is that there are plenty of excellent resources out there to help you put your financial house in order.
With increased knowledge and self-confidence, you’ll be less vulnerable and in a better position to protect your future, whether you remain single or get married.
REASON 7 — Taking care of yourself enables you to take care of others. If you’ve got kids at home or elderly parents who count on you, you’ll be better able to focus on their needs if you are successfully managing your own life.
REASON 8 — Getting good at living alone also looks good on you. When you’re at peace with yourself and are making the best of your circumstances, it shows and people notice. You will radiate vitality. And that’s intriguing. It will open up your world and draw people to you (at a safe distance, of course).
REASON 9 — Besides boosting your self-esteem, getting good at living alone can help boost your immune system. Eating healthy, enjoying a good night’s sleep, getting regular health check-ups and exercising are all within your control and will contribute to feeling good and alive.
REASON 10 — And finally, my top reason for getting good at living alone? You can leave dishes in the sink, eat ice cream for dinner or turn the A/C down to 74°, if you like. No matter what, there’s nobody there to second-guess you.
I’m kidding, of course. But there’s a lot to be said for the freedom of expression that living alone affords you. You can be you — fully you — when you live alone. Take note and enjoy the autonomy that comes with being in charge of your own life.
Living alone can be a valuable period of self-determination. Embrace it with enthusiasm. Get good at it. And reap the rewards!
Gwenn Voelckers is the founder and facilitator of Alone and Content, empowerment workshops for women, and author of “Alone and Content,” a collection of inspiring essays for those who live alone. For information about her workshops, to purchase her book, or invite her to speak, visit www.aloneandcontent.com