Whether you are a life time solo or have come into it via bereavement, separation or divorce, life is not over when you live on your own. Indeed, many people find living alone can be a source of genuine happiness.
If you concentrate first and foremost on what you have, rather than what you don't have, you will likely be pretty happy fairly quickly living alone. In my own case, I have a secure home, free of violence or confict. I have enough to eat, clothes to wear and am able to pay my bills. I enjoy and have access to things that sustain me and give me pleasure on a daily basis. That is way more than many people have!
I am part of a broader community and the links I have to that community are strong. I have a strong friendship and extended family network and have continued to make new connections, that have blossomed into friendships often where we have a mutual interest in common.
Despite the media's best efforts to assure us we live in very dangerous times and you are not even safe in your own home, the majority of people in our world are pretty decent characters and want to enjoy the same things in life that you do. You are no more vulnerable and often less vulnerable, living solo, than living in a negative, or violent relationship.
I have lived alone pretty much all of my adult life, with the exception of a couple of shared houses. The most miserable times of my life have been spent when romantic relationships have gone bad; living solo is way preferable to living in a bad relationship!
Living alone has so many benefits and I enjoy a rich social and intellectual life many couples, or even solo parents with children may well envy. Indeed, in many ways, living solo is about the singularly most liberating position anyone can be in.
Firstly I am my own boss, responsible and accountable for every choice I make in life only to myself. I am free of responsiblity to a partner or children. This eliminates so many potential areas of conflict, stress and worry, but it doesn't mean I am free of social connection. I enjoy a way richer social and intellectual life than many couples are able to access, because I have time to put my energy into the people and things that return the most happiness and fulfilment to me.
I can dine in, or out when I choose, go to a movie when I feel like it, read or watch what I want to on television whenever I like and save for things that are high on my list of priorities.
That said, there is only me to undertake all of the domestic and gardening duties. There is only my income to pay the mortgage and indulge in the things that enrich my life, as well as practicalities like utility bills, clothes and food.
But the benefits of being single and living a solo lifestyle are enormous.
There is no partner to tell me what to do, please, or make compromises with. I am free of the life-long committment to children, including the heartache when adult children make poor life choices, or when children are extremely ill, or have a life threatening illness. I am free to enjoy other peoples children on my own terms, usually seeing them at their best, rather than their worst.
I do not have to worry about how much time and money kids spend on their mobile, or computer. I do not have to choose a school to send them to, nor worry about their end of school results, enabling them entry into a university of their choice, or what career they end up in. I am spared the knowledge that I may have brought life into a planet that is already struggling to sustain life to its inhabitants.
That does not mean I am not committed to future generations. I do my best to live as sustainably as I can. I grow a fair amount of my own food and shop locally. I have planted almost thirty trees in my third of an acre and helped others palnt trees in theirs.
I do travel and fly a fair bit, but my personal carbon offset and electricity production probably neutralises my aviation fuel carbon load and I will not always be in a position to travel as extensively as I do now. I barely travelled beyond Ballarat and Melbourne for many years.
How one can ever be bored or lonely living alone beggars my belief. Books connect me with humanity on a daily basis. I am a member of three gardening organisations and a couple of arts ones. I regularly head to the cinema, either alone or with friends. I also have friends over for meals, go to their places for the same, or dine out. I am more than happy to dine out alone and I enjoy cooking for myself.
Sexual intercourse may be thin on the ground living alone, but I reckon sex is a pretty over-rated commodity and is blown out of all proportion in our adolescent years. Yes sure, the act can be pleasurable, but it's all over pretty quickly. Personally I think some foods are at least as orgasmic as the best ever sex and a full meal that is all unbelievably extraordinary, probably has lasted longer than any act of physical sex. If I had to choose between a gourmet meal and an intimate romp with Casonova himself, I would probably choose the meal. My own pleasure would be gauranteed. The reality is, in most peoples lives, a tiny proportion of their time is spent copulating and being physically intimate. Sexual drive diminishes with age or if you are under stress. Life in the 21st century is pretty stressful for a lot of people. It's a huge myth, that even the best of couples are at it every night. Most couples are lucky if they have decent sex once a fortnight and many get down to serious intimacy way less than that. Given all those things, I don't think I am missing a lot, if anything much at all. Dare I say, there is always masturbation, an act that can certainly quash any bodily desires. Yes it remains a taboo subject, but I have a hunch that those of us who live solo, are not the only ones to enjoy the occasional bit of solo sex!
I enjoy physical contact with my cat and my dog. They are very good smoogers. It is not hard to please them. The dog and I have a daily walk , where we commune with the local human and canine community. My animals give me undying love, devotion and affection. That can be said of very few humans. They do not require baby sitters if I want to slip out for an evening with friends, or to be entertained. We are able to readily meet each other's expectations. But that said, I lived alone for many years before I owned a place of my own, enabling me to have pets and from what I can see of it, pets also can enhance the lives of couples and families. They are wonderfully indiscriminate critters!
As for old age and being on my own; there is no guarantee that children will be on hand to nurse you through your dotage. When both my parents ended up in nursing homes, there were very few other inmates, who had regular, let alone daily visits from their famillies, or even their partners, if they were in good health. The reality is, visiting someone who has dementia or is left with limited communication is difficult, even for loved ones. My parents seemed to be the exception, with daily visits from family members.
Interestingly, another colleague and friend also relishes the solo life. She and I, used to encounter a a degree of envy, even jealousy, from many of our "married with children colleagues", as we were free to choose to go out and enjoy ourselves, dining out and going to theatre, films and galleries as we so desired. Instead, almost invariably, meeting the needs and expectations of an often difficult to please partner and children was their lot in life, having already put in a full day's paid employment. Little wonder they could see the contrast in the life circumstances of their solo living counterparts!
Saddest of all were our single colleagues, in some instances still living at home with their parents into their forties and feeling like life had passed them by because Mr Right had not happened into their lives. One believed she would remain unfulfilled given her use by date for having children was approaching. I advised her to seek out artificial insemination, or adoption, if having a child really meant that much to her. Other people's expectations and opinions about choices she made in the path to her own happiness and fulfillment should not matter. It was her life, the only one she would ever have and to continue to wait for Mr Right and believe her life was flawed because that had never happened, seemed to me, to be about the most miserable form of existence any woman could have. For me, the Mr Rights had soon turned out to be Mr Wrongs and possibly, luckily, I had never had any desire to have children of my own. I valued all I could achieve within my single status too much to risk compromising its benefits!
As some of my friends have gone on to separate from long-term marriages, the women often comment on how much happier they are living alone, even as a solo parent, than they were during much of their marriage. One stated she had actually been a solo parent for years before she and her husband had separated. Another, finally decided to fly solo, once her children had all left home. This freed her from life with a chronic alcoholic and she too has subsequently enjoyed her own liberation and benefits of living alone.
Personally I have no intention of trading my solo status. Spinsterhood is sublime!