Last night Frenchie asked me if I had ever lived alone… before my most recent set of circumstances, that is. It was prompted by a very circuitous and interesting conversation, which need not be related here, but had, to some degree, to do with the idea of distractions. I was all, like, “Totally, I mean, that is how I roll.”
I thought about this. I am an only child and I am pretty independent, at least in my own mind. But… lived alone…? Hm. Lived with parents until 17. Lived with host family and roommates until university. Lived with roommates throughout university, lived with boyfriend too. Then post college… boyfriend, roommate, ro0mmate, boyfriend, boyfriend. Then Hong Kong… on my own for 6 months… then boyfriend. Now on my own. So, I guess the answer to the question is: NO.
This is perplexing to me. I am a self-admitted control freak and I believe I have better taste than most people and I like cats. That seems like a recipe for solo-styled living. Yet it has not. Why not?
And then I considered this: when I travel (currently and pretty much since I started traveling) I go ON MY OWN. I very rarely travel with someone else – and this is intentional. This is not to say that I do not meet up with people and go along with different people as I travel, but I always set out on my own, have ideas of my own, and consequently feel totally free to change things up and BE on my own when the time suits me. So, clearly, being on my own is not a problem… right? I mean, when I was given the choice of a week in Acapulco, or Puerto Vallarta, or wherever it was that my senior class went after graduation – or going on my own to Guadalajara as an exchange student I never even gave it a second thought. Jalisco it was. When I was down to deciding between UCSB and UCSD I chose UCSD because… no one I knew was going there.
So it breaks down like this: When I am in situ I am never alone and when I am “out there” I am always on my own. I wonder what that means. I guess it is just more evidence of my weirdness… ‘Hey you, out there on your own…’
Another friend and I have had many a discussion on the merits of solo-status. He claims that things are less valuable when unshared. I counter this with a qualification. Some of my most meaningful experiences have only been allowed to occur because I gave myself the chance to experience them on my own. But of course I did look forward to sharing them – most often through photos. I realize that this is hardly as satisfying for the third party, but it is good enough for me. When I am on my own I am naturally more inclined to be open in mind and sight. I see more things, meet more people and feel totally free. That is awesome. And I do enjoy being with people and doing things with my friends, but those are totally different experiences and they are about the interpersonal connection almost entirely.
There is always the good old Pro and Con approach:
PROs to being on your own:
- No need to compromise/total flexibility
- Meet more people
- Don’t have to pick up clothes in the closet/can be naked more
- Mistakes/dramas can be sorted out with less humiliation
- Fit in smaller places
- Can talk out loud to the cats
CONs to being on your own:
- Pity from couples and posses
- Meet more creepy people
- Weird neighbors notice that you are naked more
- Mistakes/dramas can be more traumatic
- People say, “JUST ONE?” really loudly when you go into restaurants
- May end up talking out loud to the cats
No mutual exclusivity allowed on this site, so I will just say this. Both are good. But when Frenchie was asking me what I wanted – like you know… “Tell me what you want what you really really want…”
I have to say, what I want is probably not what most people want. And it is probably pretty close to what I’ve got.
If I am paying attention.
ps: the musical interludes are simply to reinforce the “no mutual exclusivity” principle…