My husband went overseas for work 2 weeks ago, leaving me and the house alone for 6 months. I'm not new to being alone, not entirely anyway. In the three years I lived in Colorado I only made a handful of very nice but very loose friendships. I spent most of my time either with my family or by myself. I got over all kinds of anxieties I once had and grew comfortable shopping, dining out, seeing movies, going to the library and hiking by myself. I became so comfortable shopping alone that even to this day I prefer to do it without any company, although it would be nice to have someone in the dressing room with me from time to time to talk me out of/into a questionable purchase.
Despite being comfortable with my own company, I have never really lived by myself (aside from a couple semesters in a college dorm where my roommate moved out and everyone else hated me). It's been scary and exciting adjusting to a household that consists of just me and two cats. If there's a chore that needs done that I don't want to do, I can't delegate it to Kiah, and I have no one to feed me when I'm hungover. I miss my husband every day in a million ways, for a million reasons, but I'm okay without him, even if it means making my own breakfast on Saturday mornings.
Since I am such a seasoned loner, I thought I would share some of my own tips for being alone.
Cook For Yourself. It's so easy to fall into a pattern of quick and easy when the only person you have to feed is you. Okay, fine, stock the fridge with frozen burritos and an emergency pizza; you never know when you'll have too much vodka and need something gross to eat in the morning. And once or twice a week when you're lazy it's fine to eat cereal or a sandwich for dinner. But finding the time and energy to really put a meal together for yourself can make all the difference in your diet and your attitude. Plus, if you make enough for leftovers you can be lazy for your next couple meals.
Start Something. Start knitting, start books, start new television programs, start role playing, start running, start cooking Indian food, start recycling, start a video game, start making candles, start cleaning our your closet, start walking around the neighborhood, start a blog, start anything. Don't worry about the outcome or getting things finished, just start things. It's so easy to collapse into a sack of crap and just do the same thing you always do when there's no one around to encourage you try something new. Maybe it doesn't stick but giving anything a shot is half the battle.
Avoid Scary Things. Do not watch horror movies, do not let your friends tell you ghost stories, do not read about Canadian porn star serial killers, do not walk home alone in the dark on a foggy night. Instead, make sure all the light bulbs upstairs are fresh and bright, lock all the doors each and every night, read about beautiful things, watch movies that make you feel good and maybe arm yourself just in case you find that you must walk home alone in the dark on a foggy night.
Take Out the Garbage. As it turns out, the cats and I do not produce very much waste. I don't know what it is about Kiah the makes it so that the trash is going out every 3 days, but it's clearly him and not me. Not wanting to waste garbage bags, I let the trash build up to the top of the trashcan. This process took a week and a half. There was no smell so I assumed everything was all right. On a Sunday evening I topped it all off with a final banana peel and pulled the bag out to find an unidentified liquid in the bottom of the garbage can. After gagging, hosing out the garbage can and then hosing myself, I decided it would be best to waste some damn garbage bags.
Build a Nest. Sleeping alone after spending a year cozied up to someone else is a challenge. You will find you can't fall asleep easily most nights. You will wake up in the dark and reach out for a body that isn't there, and sometimes you'll be scared. Do not depend on pets for snuggles because they are fickle and also hairy. Your best bet is to construct a nest and load it up with nest necessities: bad TV shows, books, a stuffed animal or two, and the occasional plate of nachos.
Be Sad Sometimes. Sometimes it's better to just give in and listen to the sad songs and have a cry so you can get back to being okay. You're allowed to be lonely, just not all the time.