Back to Lone.

floor redOn Thursday I gave 30-day-notice on my rented room and on Friday I found the right condo to buy. Real estate prices are going up steadily and this one was about $20,000 less than the other units in the complex. It needs some work, new paint and carpet, but nothing major. There is a part of me that has been feeling intensely restless and bored. After looking at real estate for a year, it was time to just do it and get it over with. I’m not comfortable being a renter and since I have no income from a job, I need to develop some passive income. If I decide I don’t want to live in this place, I will have a rental unit.

When I first moved into the room I am currently renting, I complained about the noise. But now that two people have moved out, it is unbelievably quiet. I spend almost all my time in silence. So, I am now in a very beautiful and peaceful place, but am still not enjoying living with other people. After experimenting with this for a year, I am ready to live alone again.

During the past few days I have been thinking that it is not where I live but how I live, that is important. I am now more inner-directed than ever, which for me represents transformation of consciousness. I am my own history. I write the story, develop the characters, set the scenes, plan the action. All human evolution takes place within the life of the individual. I am “living history” by being alive within the historical process and also creating it through my thoughts and actions.

When I was young, history was the dull recitation of dates, names and wars. What I learned in history classes was a miniscule slice of what certain men did at certain periods of time. The women’s liberation movement changed this by introducing the concept of the “the personal is political.” Now, millions of writers share their personal history with each other day after day, honestly and courageously. Despite repeated attempts at trying to feel connected or aligned with what happens outside of me, I consistently turn inward for support and sustenance. My real food, spiritually and emotionally, comes from the unseen and unknown.

The other day there was a big article in the NYTimes about a 74-year-old man who died alone.* Apparently, he was a hoarder and had been dead for a few weeks before anyone noticed. This kind of story is always a big draw for readers because it “proves” that this is what happens when you are a loner. The unmistakable message is that a loner’s fate is to die alone in some wretched state. Despite the fact that the majority of loners do not die in wretched circumstances, “fear sells.” Put anything fearful in the media, and people either consciously or unconsciously respond to it.

Yesterday I had lunch with a woman who is always dithering about what she wants to do. What she finally admitted is that she is afraid of being alone. She keeps making undesirable and unproductive choices to avoid being alone. Another woman recently admitted that after her divorce she made a number of disastrous choices in order to please a man she had just met. Her fear of being alone, of living alone, of making her own choices, kept her in a state of confusion for many years. It was only when she accepted being alone that her life got on the right track.

When a person accepts and appreciates their fundamental aloneness, their real life can begin. Prior to this, they are trapped in the delusion of “the lives of others.” More than ever before, I know that my life is all mine and that having the freedom to enjoy it alone is the greatest gift in the world. The more I lone, the less I care about the circumstances that may or may not surround my death. Before choosing to lone (with conscious intent), I was already dead.

* The comment that got the most recommendations (1,000) on this article was by a woman who said, “Readers, please don’t equate living alone with social awkwardness, despair or mental illness. Many of us who choose to live alone have lifelong friendships, work satisfaction, strong family bonds and a variety of hobbies. I actually find my friends who live alone more interesting than other people. And we’re not needy. We’re comfortable doing things by ourselves, but when we don’t want to be alone, we call someone. Some people need more personal space than others. Don’t feel sorry for us.”

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11 thoughts on “Back to Lone.

  1. Although I’ve been alone all my life I think I’ve never quite accepted it as I never wanted it and so never quite got on track…something I am working on now. Your posts are invaluable to me, thanks.

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    1. Yes, it’s really hard to get past the propaganda that being alone is the worst thing in the world, a state to be avoided at any cost. I have been slowly chipping away at this mountain of bullshit my whole life. Thanks for your support.

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  2. I am 50 and love my lone life. But the propaganda does bring an element of fear, as you stated so well. I wonder if I will really have the nerve to die as I live and if 80 year old me will be very disappointed in 75-year-old me for not having made arrangements to settle my affairs and move out of my home, away from my gardens and privacy, and into a safer, generic compartment where I would sit safely among similarly waning people in front of a TV blaring Jeopardy with nursing staff on hand and never alone.
    Thank you for the thought-provoking post.

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    1. While my great-grandmother, grandmother and mother never went into a nursing home, they all wasted away the last twenty years of their lives sitting in front of a blaring television, getting sicker and more disabled with each passing year. They had no framework to view their well-deserved alone time with any hope or joy. As an older woman, I work at building a satisfying lone life every single day, and to the extent that I achieve this, I help to evolve a different future for all of us. Thanks for your comment.

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  3. I made some ‘wrong’ decisions when I was afraid of living alone. That is no longer the case. I will be 68 next week, and plan to be at an ashrram for the week (in order not to have to ‘celebrate’ my birthday with other people… I will celebrate it with the full moon.)
    I am also lucky enough to be dealing with my 93 year old mother who lives alone, watches television constantly and refuses any assistance that would actually make her life better. I am learning what NOT to do when I am 93.
    I love my life, I love my house and garden and I have the chance to do many of the things that could never do when I had house/children/ex’s career to deal with. If ever I am unable to care for myself, I will accept any and all help available and live in THAT present rather than this past.

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    1. Thank you, well said. When I worked for an eldercare agency I saw that the older people who were open to receiving help were much happier and better off. My mother is also a great example of what I do not want to be at her age. But, that said, it is hard to predict what one’s life will be like in twenty years.

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  4. Good luck in your new residence. I hope it works out well for you.
    As for how people negotiate frailties, I think we need to be very cognisant that what may seem rational to us ( such as accepting outside help or using a wheelchair) may be perceived as living hell to the individual involved.
    Only last night, I saluted a man I know who has always lived alone and who has opted to return to his place and see out his cancer-ridden days in the way of his choosing.

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  5. There’s a big difference in being alone and being lonely. I never feel lonely when I’m alone but often feel lonely when in a group that I have very few common interests. My mother lived alone and was very lonely but wasn’t really satisfied when she had guests other than myself. She had very few interests other than quilting and in her later years wasn’t able to do due to macular degeneration. Getting older scares many including myself. My goals are to get my mortgage paid off in 5 years and get my house more handicap accessible. I have even thought about a 1 level 2 bedroom condo with some outside area for flowers. There are so many options available.

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