Monday, December 31, 2007

On My Own

This post is dedicated to one of my very best friends, Jenn. You'll learn to love living on your own as a single girl. I promise. And on those days when you're hating it, call me.

The day I realized I was going to be on my own again, I was afraid. I'm going to be lonely, I'm going to hate it, I thought. Who am I going to talk to? I'm going to become a crazy cat lady who's 80 years old with no one that loves her. Oh, have I not mentioned I'm dramatic?

But you know what? I actually like living by myself. Scratch that. I love it. I have appreciated doing the things that make me happy, and me alone. Not thinking for anyone else.

Now don't get me wrong. There are days when loneliness kicks in. I don't have a date lined up every night. But usually on those nights when I don't have a happy hour with friends, a night out on the town, or a night in with a date scheduled, I have plenty of things to keep me busy. I mean why else have I been recording every season of Project Runway on my DVR? And why else did I buy the entire series of Sex & the City on DVD? I turn on the boob tube, catch up on reruns and open a bag of honey wheat pretzels. And like I was telling a very unconvinced Jenn, those nights are few and far between. By the time they roll around, I want a night to myself.

To further convince her that the single life is oh so fabulous, I decided to put together a list of all the things I have done by myself in the last two months. Some things I could have done with a man by my side but didn't and some things I never would have done while in a relationship. But damn I'm glad I did!

  1. Went to see a movie. This may not seem like a big deal to anyone else, but it's saying something for me. I would never have went out alone before. I'm more confident now than ever, and I'm proud of myself for it.
  2. Went out to dinner. Table for one.
  3. Saw 2 art exhibits. Art is something I love and when I was in a relationship I didn't pursue that love. Now I have time to!
  4. Read 7 books. Mostly on dating. Gotta get back in the game somehow!
  5. Travelled to California! On a plane, by myself, for the first time ever.
  6. Took a bubble bath. For the first time in years. OK, so this may be one that would have been more fun with a man by my side! But I'll take my glass of wine for now.
  7. Bought strawberry Propel. I had been convinced this flavor wasn't any good. It's my new favorite.
  8. Reconnected with several old friends and met a few new ones. I vow in my next relationship to not lose touch in the first place. There's nothing more important than having people that care about you in your life at all times. And I have a feeling that my new friendships are going to turn into life-long ones. What a great feeling.
  9. Fixed my dryer. Laugh at me. Come on get it out. But before I would have called a guy friend to fix it for me. Or made my dad drive 4 hours. What can I say? I'm a daddy's girl.
  10. Planned vacations! Now that I'm not afraid of flying, what better way to spend my time than to visit new places? In the works so far: a girls-only sleepover weekend in Pittsburgh this month, a special Californian comes to Ohio in February or March, a crazy gambling/drunk weekend in Vegas in April, and a meeting of the minds in New York City in May (Blog Con '08)!
So guys you have to help me out - those of you who are single living on your own and those of you who have been there at some point (that moment you finally moved out of your parents' house on your own). Help me convince Jenn it'll be OK. For some reason she's not believing me!

49 comments:

Jess said...

I absolutely loved living on my own. I almost broke myself paying DC rent for my own one-bedroom for a year, but it was totally worth it. I had my own space, decorated how I liked, all for me. I could walk around naked if I wanted to. I could watch whatever TV or movie I wanted without consulting with anyone else. I could leave the place a mess without bothering anyone. I could have friends over or full-blown parties whenever I wanted. It was fabulous. I'm so glad that I had that year.

Hazel said...

it truly is the best decision i've ever made! I love it! you don't have to worry about roomates doing stuff you don't like, you can walk around in your underwear, sing at the top of your lungs, watch what you want on tv and leave dirty dishes in the sing for a week if you want!

it's fabulous!

Lisa said...

When I lived alone I worked out WAY MORE than when I live with friends. WAY MORE! You'll be in the best shape of your life, I promise, Jenn!

La said...

Speaking as someone who just got out of a six year live-in relationship, I echo everything you have already said. This happened to me a month ago, and I'm already happier and stronger than I ever thought I would be. I find pride in doing things myself that I didn't used to do. I love having my own time and not having to constantly worry about someone else. Yes, there are lonely times. But then I pick up the phone. And I keep myself busy. And I got a new puppy, which I think is, hands down, the best medicine. She WILL get through this. If I can? Anyone can. :)

Happy New Year Michelle!
xox

Maxie said...

Being single can be really fun! You get to do whatever you want...and it gives you so much more time for things that you enjoy doing. I promise it gets better!

Happy New Year!

Annie said...

When I became single again I found time to go to the gym. Which was something I had always loved doing, but let slip through my hands while trying to please someone who just couldn't be pleased. It was an amazing rediscovery and completely worth the break up!

Virginia said...

I live with two other girls who hole up in their rooms all the time...I hardly ever see them. But I read a lot, work out a lot, get to watch what I want on tv, I can make whatever I want for dinner and not worry about cleaning everything up right away...it's pretty nice! And I can see my friends whenever I want just by hopping in the car or calling one of them up to come over and hang out. I'm the kind of gal who needs space to thrive, and being able to do whatever I want whenever I want is AMAZING!

Happy New Year!!

Nicole said...

You can cook odd or extravagant meals for yourself and no one cares; you can luxuriate in the bathtub all evening long. No one cares if you eat dinner in bed while you're watching a movie. You never have to look good; you can always pick up and put away later. It's all you, all the time.

cp said...

i remember the first time i saw a movie by myself; there was something very invigorating about it. good for you!

Susie said...

I've been single for 7 months after 6 years of serious relationships. I never ever thought I would enjoy this, but I LOVE it. And honestly, I needed it sooo badly. The fact that I have become so independent and happy by myself is going to make me so much better in my next relationship.

I used to hate when people said this, but I think it's so healthy for people to be single for some point in their 20s. It's when you're really discovering who you are :)

nicoleantoinette said...

The best part of living alone is not having to censor yourself (and not having to explain yourself to someone else). You want to listen to a song on repeat while eating pasta standing up in your kitchen, in your underwear, with all the lights off? No problem! Haha this, obviously, is just an example...

Um, and what is this Blog Con in NYC you are referring to?!

PrincessPolly said...

I think personally the best thing about being single is that you don't have to make your plans based on someone else. Because I have spent more than 25 years out of 28 single, I now find fitting another person into my life quite awkward at times. Sometimes I just want to sit in and not see anyone, or meet a friend but I feel obliged to see my man instead. Not ALL the time, but sometimes! And it bugs me.

Princess Pointful said...

I, too, lived on my own for this first time after ending an over 6 year relationship-- and I loved it!

The first thing I adored (although my credit card didn't) was buying all MY OWN stuff and decorating the way I wanted.

The second thing was to pick out an apartment by no one's criteria but my own. The neighbourhood I wanted-- and one he would have never moved to.

It also feels so good to be comfortable being on your own. I, too, keep busy, but the nights alone are refreshing. You sometimes forget what you like to do when you are so concerned with him and everyone else. I will go to a movie alone. I now will always take a few days extra on my conferences to explore the area by myself-- and I love the feeling of freedom. I went to Texas for a few weeks to a course on my own, and met so many great people-- and it is so good to know it was just my charms that made them like me!

Being comfortable on your own is the best thing you can do to be good in a relationship again.

Princess Pointful said...

PS. Not to be horrendously picky, but didn't we meet via Blogher back in your single digit amounts of comments days ;) (seems impossible now, don't it?)

raven-smiles said...

I've lived on my own for 3 months now, and I've learned to appreciate it. Things I've done since living on my own:

Set up my own television. Of course, I had to have someone come over and confirm that I did it correctly and show me that I did, but it was quite satisfactory.

Sat on the couch all day watching Gilmore Girls.

Cleaned the house. I always used to wonder if my roommate would clean, but now I don't have to wonder. The house has never been cleaner.

Bought lamp bases, a knife set, a coffee maker, and a wine rack without consulting anyone.

Blared music at 7:30 in the morning to help wake me up. I don't have to worry about waking anyone up anymore.

Hung up a Monet in the dining room. No need to consult anyone on the placement.

I really do miss my roommate; she was the best one I could ever have asked for, but I love living on my own. I was super lonely the first couple weeks, but I've really gotten used to it. Don't worry, Jenn, it does get better. I promise.

lspoon said...

I've totally begun a guidelines post about Blog Con 08. It's a little mom-ish but there need to be some guidelines set up before we all meet and SQUEEE like crazy!

pinksundrops said...

This is coming from someone who IS in a relationship that I love, saying ENJOY your time. I wouldn't trade MY relationship for the world, but what I wouldn't give for some of that single time BEFORE I was in this relationship. Honestly he's had to work a LOT of nights lately and I cherish my alone time - I take those bubble baths, make those nights out with the girls, fix my own stuff, and take my fun girlie California trips - and now thanks to Michelle, I'm going to indulge my art side a little and find some art exhibits to check out too. Jenn, enjoy it, because once you do find that relationship there's no going back to find that time where you discover yourself.

pbandrazz said...

I don't live on my own yet (5 more months until I am roommateless), but I have been single for over a year now and I love it. I love being on my own (I do stuff by myself a lot as the roomies aren't around a lot). Being alone gives you a chance to really know yourself (take my trip alone to Portland where I also took a bubble bath for the first time in years - also with a glass of wine). Sure, there were times when I wished I had a guy with me, but at the same time you get to do whatever you want, whenever you want.

Larissa said...

A single person has the perfect opportunity to take up a new hobby - take a creative writing class, dance lessons, learn to play the guitar!

JMC said...

I LOVE being alone. I never get to, so maybe it's grass-is-always-greener syndrome, but I'd kill for a few days of alone time.

One of the best things about being alone is not having to take anyone else's wants or needs into account. You can be selfish, which is the opposite of what most women are in relationships. So take advantage of it, because another relationship will come along, and maybe more than that, and there might be marriage and/or kids, and then YOU WILL NEVER BE ALONE AGAIN. And that's not always a good thing. Trust me on this.

The Ex said...

I'm about to be alone for the first time and I'm terrified. I think I'll print this page and take all your words to heart.

grungedandy said...

Ok going to share with you something I wrote way back when I thought I was a poet back in 1991 (I’m sooo not) but it’s one of the few things I’m actually proud of and I’m drunk enough to share at the moment, don’t think flu meds and alcohol should be mixed and then put a computer in front of me I’m probably going to regret this in the morning but hey what the hell!

We all walk through life alone,
Down the dark passages of the unknown
Our friends help light the way,
Who would be without,
Those lanterns in the darkness?

It’s important to keep friends when your in a relationship, it’s important to be friends with the person your in the relationship with, it’s important not to loose yourself when your in a relationship!

I think I will stop now and wish you a happy new year! Seeya hugya *G*

Wendy said...

I live with my parents but I can't wait to live alone! And I'm definitely going to save this post for when I'm about to move out and am terrified I'll end up all alone.

I hope this helped your friend Jenn. :)

cdp said...

GREAT list. All wonderful things to do on your own. And your confidence shines through every post! AND I LOVE IT!

I also loved going to church by myself, as well as diving into my books and dvd's.

Oh. And pedicures. Le therapy.

cdp said...

ps, happy new year! love you!

Ashlie said...

Yea for flying! It's kinda fun right?

Happy New Years!

DG said...

I'm sad to admit that I've never lived on my own - always had a roommate and then moved in with C. But if I ever have to, I'll turn to your list for help. Great list!

NY KAT said...

Thanks for the list! I'm also going through a break up and needed to hear that!

Ashley said...

I also thought being single was going to be the end of the world. But really? Its so much fun finding yourself and discovering new hobbies. And you don't have to answer to anyone but yourself. If you want to stay out till 4am and drink like a fish? You can, only you will be reprimanding yourself in the morning when you're hungover.

You can watch what movies you want and dating is fun! :)

Happy new years Michelle! xoxo!

BeachGirl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BeachGirl said...

I'm sorry that this is such a long comment but it's relevant (if not succinct ;)...comes from my blog on the subject! Happy New Year!

people amuse me...as well as frustrate me to blog out my annoyance. they insist that i do indeed need a man in my life. literally, it was said "you need a man in your life!"...and i said "no, i don't"...and she said "yes, you do!...a nice one". because everyone does, you know. despite the fact that most relationships don't end in marriage or end in divorce after marriage, they believe that snagging a man is the ultimate goal of womanhood. i scoff at them. often.

why? (no, not why do i scoff...why do i need a man? obviously! don't you know me at all?)

yes, there are times when one would be useful. when i can't reach things, when i can't open the damn bottle, when my mini muscles fail me. yes, i know that i'm missing out on the whole sex business, too, but the tradeoffs i receive for my restraint include no icky stds and thank-heavens-no pregnancies.

i like living alone. roommate opportunites aren't hard to come by. i think it should be obvious that if i choose to live alone, then it must be because i enjoy doing so (reminds you of geometry doesn't it?). i can be a neatfreak (ha! those were the good old days) or i can leave my nonsense strung all over the place. i can leave my scrubs in the dryer all week and warm 'em up while i get ready in the morning. i can watch whatever ridiculous chick programming i choose. i can eat cereal for dinner. i can stay up all night. i can turn everything off and go to bed at 830. my bed is drowning in pink and my livingroom is beachy. i can hit the annoying snooze button several times despite the lack of dawn. i can have friends over as i please and let them stay as long as they want. i can insist that there will be no fighting here because it is my place and my place only.

i like my independence. it has been hard, hard won and won't be easily lost.

i am close to believing that i can and will do everything i dream of.

i won't stand still in my career. i will volunteer in all sorts of areas and make thousands (or maybe hundreds?!? who knows...i am an overachiever) of tiny differences. i will travel the world.

i don't need a man for any of this.

i won't be in a relationship just because that's what everyone does, whether they are happy in them or not. being single isn't a fate worse than a miserable relationship, i know that from experience. i won't have kids just because that's what everyone does. if i want children in my life, i can volunteer for countless organizations, after all. (just because they're cute doesn't mean you should bring them home with you. think about it...it's true, isn't it?)

i'm not saying that i'll run the other way if my heart gets surprised with love...real-no doubt about it-can't deny it-he's an amazing guy who i want in my life-love. but i won't force a fairytale. fairytales aren't real and reality always crashes your castle if you pretend that they are. love can't be forced and i won't try.

Carrie said...

*Found you through brandy/brookem!*

I ADORE going to movies by myself, single or taken. It's quite simply the best date I've ever been on!

I also can't wait to return to living by myself... it's so gratifying having everything the way YOU want it without compromise. I think ALL women should live alone at least ONCE in their lives to prove to themselves that they CAN do it and have a fabulous time.

brandy said...

Oh my dear. I loved this. I'm glad you got to this place. I knew you would. All the best in 2008!

Tara said...

I love, love, love living alone. When I first moved out of my family's house I thought I would be lonely, but I'm not.

I had the worst luck with roommates in college, so I decided I'm better living by myself.

Nilsa S. said...

I'm a wee bit older than you (and most likely Jenn), but my years on my own were really fabulous. You summed it up best, there were moments of loneliness, but the times I grew personally, allowed friendships to grow and saw more of the world (on a micro and macro level) more than made up for those moments of feeling alone. Now that I'm a 30-something and finally in a relationship for the long-run, I have no regrets. I look back at my 20s as my time ... a time I won't have back anytime soon and certainly won't forget.

Kristie said...

Living on your own can be so much fun. You can blare the stereo and dance, Tom Cruise, style. You can watch sappy movies and cry your eyes out. You can sleep in the whole bed! You don't have to clean up after anyone except yourself. You can read books and magazines. I could go on and on and on. The most important thing, I think, is that you have time to find your authentic self again. Good luck to you, Jenn. And I'm glad you are enjoying your alone time Michelle!

Kate said...

I am living alone for the first time EVER. I just got divorced at the very young age of 24 after 5 years of togetherness (2.5 married) and I grew up with a twin sister who I lived with through college...but living alone is just about the best thing ever! I get lonely sometimes, and bored, but like the others have said--its great! And? I'm finally finding out what I like vs someone else.

tshirtandjeans said...

you wont unexpectedly find less than a scoop of ice cream left in your newly purchased half-gallon.

Spunk said...

I really want to go to a movie by myself. I've just got to get up the nerve.

Congrats to you.

libby said...

your hard earned money is spent on you and only you!

also, i love how jen schefft put it: being single means that there is the possibility that you could be swept off your feet at any moment.

ChasingParadise said...

Okay, so I don't really have any words of wisdom...I've always lived with people. Girlfriends, sorority sisters, and then B. However, on the rare occasion that B is out of town and I have the ENTIRE house to myself, I really enjoy it. I put on my breakout skin mask, do my nails and toes, watch all the tv that B hates (America's Next Top Model, Gossip Girl, Beverly Hills 90210, The OC, Dr. Phil, etc, etc, etc.) that I've DVR'd. Then I call my girlfriends and we gossip LOUDLY. I eat horrible food that I would never eat in front of him. And I examine my pores in my maginifying mirror. It's heaven on earth.

sassafras said...

Food! You can eat whatever you want for dinner and not feel bad about it.

Miriam D said...

Even though I've lived with my BF for four years, I do need time to myself. Sometimes I go down to this little cafe around the corner and sit and read and eat by myself. Great list!

Anna said...

I love the lists! And am envious of just about everything on it, I loved the single days. LOVED them. They make us who we are.

graffitigirldesigns said...

mich i am so proud of you - yay!

i too have never lived on my own but i pretty much do everything chasingparadise says up there whenever i have the place to myself no matter who i am/was living with. it's soooo fun!

MrsTwink said...

I have to give kudos for your going to the movies and dinner alone! That's on my 101 in 1001 list.

blogging said...

1. thank you michelle for this post. it proved quite helpful today.

2. the best thing? not having to attend to anyone else's needs but your own.

elysa said...

I still have yet to go to a movie or out to eat alone. A few of my favorite things ... being able to listen to silly girly music as loud as I want while I get ready in the morning. Vegging out after work with some good 'ol Oprah.

Passionista said...

You have done so much, that's great! I remember the first time I went to the movies alone, big feat for me too. The best thing about being single? For me it's going out and not worrying about flirting, drinking, or coming home at a decent hour. And if I feel like curling up with a good book on a Friday night? That's ok too!