Monday, February 27, 2012

Living Alone

Last week, the New York Times published an article entitled, "One is the Quirkiest Number:  The Freedoms, and Perils, of Living Alone."  I first saw it when Amy posted the article on facebook.  Her comment about the article intrigued me, so I decided to read it.

It's a fairly quick read so I recommend clicking over if you have 3-5 minutes.  My synopsis of the article is that people who live alone are basically social pariahs.  We talk to our pets, eat weird meals, forget to close the bathroom door, and might forget to put on a skirt when leaving the house. 

I'm disappointed that the NYT chose just a poor representation of those who live alone.  Do I have my quirks?  You bet.  But does that have anything to do with the fact that I live alone?  Not one bit.  

My point is - we are who we are.  And if you aren't yourself around your spouse, that is not a sustainable relationship, in my opinion.  Granted, I know I will have to make concessions/compromises when/if i get married.  But for the most, what you see is what you get.  

I will always value these years that I have spent living alone.  It's made me more independent, more self-sufficient, and more aware of who I am - quirks and all.  Most importantly, it's made me a pickier dater - in a good way.  I know I can do it all on my own - and be very happy.  Before I lived alone, I think I felt more of a sense of desperation about finding a husband, because living alone kind of scared me.  Living alone no longer scares me and I know that whether or not my life includes a husband and marriage, I can and will be happy.

Have you read this article?  What was your reaction?  Do you think living alone breeds quirky behavior? 

23 comments:

Becky said...

This is crap. Why as a society are we writing things like this to make people nervous or hesitant to live alone? Instead of building them up and encouraging them to do this (to develop skills they'll later need/use), we're tearing them down and saying it's "weird" or not "normal," causing people to fear it.

I saw another article through facebook about how we're raising a helpless generation (also NYT) and I feel like this goes hand in hand with that. How do you expect people to learn to become self-sufficient if you don't give them the tools they need (i.e. living on their own) to do it?

imlivinginadream said...

I haven't read the article, but that just sounds completely ridiculous. It's nice to have your own space to just do your thing, but that doesn't mean people who live alone are total weirdos. That's too bad that they printed that kind of article. As for myself, I'm not sure I'd be able to live completely by myself, but when I think about it a little bit I'm sure it would be really nice to just have everything be MINE and just be able to get to know myself as an independent person in that way. Who knows, maybe I will move out alone one day!

abbi said...

I clicked over and read the article and agree it is pretty crazy. Yes, I have plenty of quirks but I don't think I'd be crazier with them if I lived alone. I will say there are some things I do only if I am here by myself and if my husband is away, it's like a mini vacation where I do tend to do things he might think are even more odd than usual!

missris said...

Yeah the people the NYT picked to profile are probably on the more extreme side of quirky, and NOT a representative sample of everyone who lives alone. I didn't love living alone, but I liked that it made me more independent, and that I was ok with it and felt stronger for it. I think it's a great exercise in learning to do thing for yourself and depending on yourself instead of others, even if it's just to change a lightbulb!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

I don't think it breeds anything more than is already there ... but I am sure it is easier to do your own thing when no one else is around, and you don't have to fit into anyone else's schedule/life, which may make it easier to be quirky (which we all are I think).

Gracie (Complicated Day) said...

Seriously?! So living alone makes you weird instead of independent? That's BS. I lived alone before I got married and so did my hubby. Result: we're both competent adults who pay our bills, clean our house, and make our own decisions. I think everyone should get a chance to live alone and experience the responsibility...and the freedom, too!

Marlys said...

I hear very negative reports about the NYT, so am not surprised! This may be one of their milder reports! So many people live alone, including widows & widowers, and they are not "weird" either! I agree that you've learned a lot by living alone!

Nora said...

I stopped reading after page one. I lived alone for sometime myself and sure, I may have not always folded and put the laundry away, or left my bras drying in the shower but I STILL do that stuff even now. I did it when I had roommates, when I lived with my parents and now that I live with Knight.

Not totally sure why they had to compare REAL people living alone to the people on TV who live alone... I honestly think we all have quirks, no matter our living situation and as far as I'm concerned there is nothing wrong with that all.

I will also admit that sometimes I miss my days of having my own space, all to myself. Not all the time, just occasionally!

Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

That is annoying. I can't believe they published that. Then again the media loves to rile people up so it doesn't surprise me.

I definitely don't think people being "weird" has anything to do with living alone. I'm SO GLAD I had that year to live alone when Eric and I were long distance. I grew up so much in that year and it was really, really good for me. I think everyone should do it at least once!

Carolina John said...

That is an interesting article. Now I treasure the "days of chad" when Kelley and the girls head out of town. I lived alone before Kelley moved in with me almost 15 years ago and I loved it. I always thought I would be back there someday. I mean, until we got married. The cries of freedom will never be silenced.

Marital constrictions aside, I'm still really against this concept of the "man cave". The idea that men should be restricted to one basement or garage or other discarded space that can be all theirs is absurd. When you live alone your home is your castle. I kept all of the same quirks after I got the wife and kids. The whole house is still my man cave. and I still don't leave the house without a skirt on.

Abby said...

I did not read this article. Also, I strongly dislike the NYT. But from the sounds of the subject I totally disagree!

Most people I know who live alone tend to he more social and more adventurous because they have no kids to hold them back. They are able to set the tone and schedule for the household, which tends to make their professional and social calendar very full!

Ashley said...

I love living alone, and I don't think it's made me any weirder than I already was.

San said...

I never really lived alone, so it's hard for me to comment what it would have felt like for me if I had... but I do not think that living alone makes somebody weirder than they already are ;)

Although I can imagine that you just might be a little sloppier when you own a space alone and probably make more compromises when you share a space with someone, I don't think that you necessarily do things that you wouldn't do in front of a SO or very good friend.

Raquelita said...

Admittedly, this was the Home and Garden section of the NYT, which is often filled with the banal, the inane, and the self-indulgent.

I used to live alone and I really enjoyed it. I was quirky before, during, and after.

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

I haven't had a chance to read the article, but I agree with you that our quirks have nothing to do with our living situation. Plus, I have a husband, son and dog ... and still go to the bathroom and shower with the door open. I think that's totally normal and only becomes a quirk when I have a teenaged child who complains about it to his friends and their parents! =)

Stephany said...

Ick, not sure I WANT to read the article. Sounds pretty bad.

I don't live alone currently but it's something I definitely want to do in the near future. It's horrible to make people who live alone to be weird, because that's such a bad representation! People who can live alone can be more competent and independent than those who don't. (Always exceptions, of course!)

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

Ha, I'm not sure I'm going to read that article because it sounds like absolute total and complete BS- sorry, but really! I think living alone is great and EVERYONE has quirks about how they live- that's why people fight when they are roommates and/or when they are married!

I have never actually lived alone, but I did have a single room for my semester in Australia and it was AMAZING!!!! I loved being on my own schedule especially for sleep and I really just enjoyed the alone time! It really makes me so mad that this article said it was bad. Ugh. Okay. Enough from me, I don't think I'm making any good points now, just yelling at my computer.

Lauren @ Sassy Molassy said...

I would say that they found some interesting/unique people to interview and that not everyone living alone is like that. Although I had roommates, they were almost never home and I still made real meals, went to bed at decent times and didn't leave clothes hanging around. Most likely, someone who is staying up until dawn, forgetting their skirt at home or drinking champagne in the shower is likely to have similar quirkiness even if they did have roommates. But sure, being alone anywhere allows you to talk to yourself on occasion or do funny things, but that's just part of human nature.

J said...

I haven't read the article but I know that even tho I live with my husband we both have quirks. I often like being alone and I don't think the NYT should have written it. I don't often read the NYT because I just don't exactly like the writing.

crystal said...

Hmm..I went into this article with an open mind, thinking that since I value quirks, I would not think that it was imparting judgement by using the word. Yeah no, they were judging :(

I loved living alone, absolutely loved it! I actually regret that it didn't last longer. I learned more about myself in that year than I ever did through living with roommates. Not once did I ever spend a week eating only nuts or leave the house in my underwear, not once. What sort of subset of people did they decide to interview?!

Jeanie said...

I haven't read this article but I'll tell you, that's why Rick and I live in different houses. I want to operate on my own turf and terms and so does he. We're thrilled to share weekends, holidays and all that, but it's nice to know you can leave the bathroom door open so the cat can come in, not worry about every bit of mess you don't feel inclined to, or watch what we want to watch on telly or whatever! As long as one feels safe independently, why not. And you're right -- makes you careful about the company you keep. In a good way!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

I read the article and I agree with most of the other comments. Basically, we are who we are and sure, maybe when we live alone we are MORE of that person and we tone it down a little when we are with others, but really we are quirky with and we are quirky without other people. I always do the dishes after every meal, even when I am alone. I make my bed even though there is nobody there to see it. I do these things for me, because I like having a neat house. However, I have to admit that I often DON'T close the bathroom door. But that doesn't mean that when I am around people I have to conscientiously think about doing it! That's all BS!

Amber @ A little pink in the cornfields said...

I read over the first page or so (I'll come back and read it all later - computer is about to die. lol) and so far... I get the quirks things, but *everyone* has quirks. I don't think there are many quirks that I have that I wouldn't be able to be comfortable doing in front of my husband when that time comes. Ya know what I mean?
I think that we all come to a point where we have outgrown roommates and if we don't get married then living alone is the natural next step. May sound hypocritical as I have roommates and I'm 30, but I live with my *sister*. Slightly different, imo. :)

SO far what I have read of this article is pretty disappointing and I agree with you. The NYT shouldn't have run such a poorly researched article.