Celebrating the single life – the joys of living alone

So Grace, I hear you’re celebrating the single life these days? Absolutely – I love living alone. There are, of course, pros and cons with any domestic arrangement but I am really enjoying my new life. It’s been two years now and no-one is more surprised than me at how much I love it.

Celebrating the single life - the joys of living alone

After thirty years of marriage, we decided to go our separate ways. Friends and acquaintances automatically leapt to the conclusion that I must be devastated; they appeared to feel sorry for me and thought I was being terribly brave. But extricating yourself out of a stale marriage/relationship can be a life enhancing thing to do. People assume I must miss being part of a couple and this would certainly be true in a good relationship, but a mediocre one? We only have one life and it’s for living in the best way you can. I have been liberated in my sixties and it’s a fantastic feeling.

Obviously there are many of you in very happy partnerships who think that living alone must be hellish or some who don’t live alone by choice. Nonetheless, I thought I’d point out a few of the good points of single occupation for those of us that are in this particular situation. Why am I not lonely? I honestly don’t know because I imagined I would be. But I’m having too good a time doing exactly as I please! Anyhow, here are some of the joys of living alone that I have discovered:

Celebrating the single life - the joys of living alone

Small victories such as installing my video doorbell and chime without resorting to asking a male for help which, to be fair, used to be par for the course. Now, YouTube is the one I turn to. It has videos on absolutely everything, often specific to the brand you are using. Next DIY job? Changing my wifi password (OK in truth am still thinking about tackling that one) and, to be absolutely honest there are still jobs that I ask/beg my son to do and he is kind enough to regularly clean my little car. Generally speaking though, I’m more confident about solving problems on my own.

Eating what I feel like and when it suits me. So, if that’s a dull calorie-free broth at midnight or three mini Magnums, it’s only me that knows! No longer do I need to worry about anyone else’s food fads – apart from my gastronomic Sundays with Marvellous-Mother-In-Law or the odd occasions when I’m entertaining (does ANYONE have dinner parties these days? Perhaps they do and I’m not invited anymore because I’m a singleton?) Another, rather glorious, thing I’ve noticed is that I am a healthier weight. Can only imagine this has to do with not having to cook for anyone else on a daily basis and my food preferences tend to be reasonably healthy ones despite my regular consumption of Cotes du Rhone and Sauvignon Blanc!

After three decades of cohabitation, the freedom to do exactly as I please is overwhelming. Or should I say overwhelmingly fabulous. TV springs to mind. No rugby or Grand Prix or anything else I have little interest in. No-one interrupting the programmes with banal observations or inexplicably wanting to discuss mending the dishwasher.

Celebrating the single life - the joys of living alone

I get up and go to bed when it suits – me I can read, play online Scrabble or do some bedtime yoga with the light on and without disturbing anyone. Accordingly, my sleep quality has improved dramatically. No snoring to drive me mad – can’t hear my own snoring of course! Plus there’s no-one to hear me fart or burp (new to me, perhaps because I am now so relaxed?!) or talking to myself! As to working from home on A&G, I can pop on the computer any time, day or night… and although I don’t usually work late into the night, I CAN IF I WANT TO! The long and the short of it is that I have developed my own regular(ish) routine, which is perfect and without compromise, and tailored to my developing wants and needs.

Don’t have to put up with anyone’s irritating habits or problems – things that you thought were cute when you met and end up driving you nuts several years later. If you have a partner, you’ll need no further explanation from me! Suffice it to say, I think I am now less stressed – not least because I don’t have to worry about their problems, just my own!

Celebrating the single life - the joys of living alone

Spending time with people I actually like. Long gone are the days when I’d be duty bound to visit anyone I didn’t really connect with. I find I really value my true friends these days and relish the fact that we seem closer than ever. Plus I’m more flexible and can be spontaneous compared to when I was in a relationship ie only my diary to consult.

No longer have to be a one-man woman Being single means I can see whomever I like. However, absolutely no rush to find another partner although it might be a bonus to have some male company – so long as he is solvent, healthy and washes his own socks. I have dipped my toe in the digital dating waters – more on that in a few weeks. In the meantime, no more sexy G-strings for me, just truly comfortable gym knickers.

Celebrating the single life - the joys of living alone

Ah, I can hear you saying – what happens if you are ill? True, if I broke a limb life would be a bit tricky with no-one on hand to help me with the practicalities of everyday life. But so far, so good. Just a cold which wasn’t a problem as I love luxuriating in bed!

Probably the most crucial result of living alone is that I have found myself again. I am no longer someone’s wife, I am just me, warts and all. And that me turns out to be a happier and more confident person who has a renewed relish for life.

I hope, if you are living alone, that you are equally content. This book might help if you think life could be better – more info here. Would love to hear your thoughts on living alone…

22 Comments

  1. Gosh, what a wonderful and honest piece! After forty years with the same man I can so relate to this. It is all too easy to lose your sense of self in motherhood and caring, but, after a huge wobble, I’ve left the doormat behind and come through a stronger (stroppier, no doubt!) and happier woman, hanging in there – but on my terms. I salute you Grace!

  2. Absolutely brilliant story! It sounds so good I’m looking at my husband of 40 years in an entirely different light! Ha ha

  3. An uplifting and useful piece. I am living alone as I have very recently been widowed after 50 years of a truly wonderful marriage. Whilst I am obviously full of grief, I am trying to look at living the single life as successfully and positively as I can and I shall be ordering the book Grace mentions which sounds very helpful. I promised my husband that I would do my best to be happy and I am finding many women on their own for various reasons who are making a new and different life.

    • So sorry to hear of your loss Margaret, it must be desperately hard for you. Life definitely throws us all curved balls from time to time but wholeheartedly admire your positive attitude. Take care. Best wishes, Grace

  4. Go Grace! I was on my own for 7 years and I admit I was angry and bitter for a while. However I then learnt to love myself and realised I was an ok person. It gave me so much confidence and independence I think my now husband sometimes finds it hard to understand! x

  5. Such a thoughtful, honest piece you have written here Grace. For me it comes at an appropriate time, as I am starting divorce proceedings after 31 years of marriage and a 40 year relationship to a narcissistic man. I feel frightened for the future, but life really is too short to spend it in a miserable marriage. At the age of 61 I feel frightened of the future and of being alone, but you have shown it can be done and this gives me hope. Thank you again for such an honour based article, and I can’t wait to read about your online dating!

    • Hi Teresa, I hope you have someone in whom you can confide over the next few months. I did during my divorce (and she knows who she is) and I couldn’t have managed without her calm and practical advice. I also found strength by keeping super busy and reminding myself that there are, unfortunately, so many people who have far harder lives. It put my life into perspective and made it that much easier to keep positive. Take care. Best wishes, Grace

  6. I have never married (busy nursing career) and I just love my life living alone. I have great supportive friends. As Grace says, it is having that complete freedom which I value so much. I especially appreciate it because my parents came to live with me after my Dad was disabled at 62 following a brain haemorrhage. He died at 78 and Mum at 95. Whilst I acknowledge that a happy relationship and children can bring enormous joy and fulfilment (and worries!) I feel my life is completely fulfilled in other ways.

    • Hi Judy. Lovely to hear from you. As you say, supportive friends are an essential element of being able to enjoy living alone. Delighted to hear you are enjoying a fulfilling life now… best wishes, Grace

  7. I empathise with what Grace says about finding herself again. My husband of almost 35 years died 6 years ago. I moved house within 4 months and everyone said how brave I was. I didn’t feel brave but I did feel energised. I loved my husband and grieve for him still. Not being part of a couple in your 60’s doesn’t fit with societal norms. But the liberation of being me again is wonderful. I can pursue all my hobbies and travel without having to compromise. The downside is that there is no one else to blame for the clutter and untidiness! Long may you continue to enjoy the single life, Grace!

  8. I left my husband after lockdown; in the year of our silver anniversary. Just a big wake-up moment time was running out and I wasn’t happy. I’ve been waiting for Grace to share her experience of being single! Thankyou so much for doing that Grace. I’m just coming to the end of a solo 3 week holiday in Provence in 3 different airbnb locations. Never spent this much time on my own ever, very interesting and therapeutic. Deborah

    • Hi Deborah. I’ve never been on holiday on my own but interested to do so now you say it has been very interested and therapeutic. So pleased you have had a good three weeks in Provence. Perhaps I will do something similar as currently addicted to learning French on Duolingo (although my French is more franglais!!) Best wishes, Grace

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