How to Live Alone and Mean It: The happy girls cheat sheet to making it work
Before I begin let me just say, this is not your usual post breakup/divorce self-help, fake it ‘till you make it, article. Nor is it an uber feminist’s declaration of independence. Yes I am woman, but I’m not overly concerned if you hear me roar or not.
So, if you came here for either of those reasons, no no no don’t go, you’re still in the right place, please keep reading you too may find it interesting.
As the title indicates this is simply a cheat sheet for girls of all ages who are thinking of living alone or are currently living alone and doubting themselves.
This is not intended to be exhaustive step-by-step instruction manual. I‘m just going to touch on some key concepts and techniques that have come in handy for me from time to time and in no particular order.
Create your own positive energy
As a concept, I find that this one sounds the easiest but is the hardest to explain and to learn. The first thing you need to do is to recognize what positive energy is. Or at least, what it is as I’m referring to it.
What is positive energy? It is that thing inside of you that gets excited when you’re trying something new, that feeling you get when you walk outside on the first warm day of spring, that intense sense of accomplishment after completing a difficult task, It’s that exhilarating feeling before, during and after knowingly plunging into an icy cold swimming pool.
It is in your optimism, your hope, your goals and your ambition. These are all simple examples of what positive energy feels like.
The one common thread in all these examples is that it comes from within you. You cannot buy it, and you cannot get it from another person. Once you learn to recognize it, and how it makes you feel, you’ll be well on your way to harnessing it to fuel you every day.
It will put pep in your step on your good days and it will see you through your bad days. When you learn to rely on yourself for that vital positive energy, you will never have to go searching for it again. This is a universal idea and everyone can apply it in their lives, not just you lucky solo residency ladies.
Pretend you’re on a deserted island
When faced with a task, great or small, tackle it as though there were no other humans around to assist. Use all the amazing experience and knowledge you’ve gained over the course of your life and get creative. You will be amazed at what you are actually capable of doing.
Among other things, I have put together furniture, moved, sanded and stained tables in my kitchen and installed a ceiling fan. Once I hung a large ten pound picture on a suspended half wall approximately 13 ft off the ground, equipped with only a 4 ft. ladder, a broom, a mop, a small hammer and 2 bobby pins.
Channel your inner MacGyver and delight in a job well done. Feel free to stand in front of the mirror flexing your enormous resourcefulness.
This technique can and should be employed when it comes to your personal finances. To be more specific, your savings account.
Put that money aside and forget about it. It does not exist when you’ve just got to have those cute shoes or that adorable outfit for your date. Keep telling yourself, if something happens there is no one to ask for money. Even if there are lots of people in your life you know without a doubt would bail you out in a financial emergency, won’t it just feel fantastic knowing you’ll never need to make that call?
Feed a family
Forget all that nonsense about cooking for one. Don’t even bother trying to adjust the recipe measurements down to single servings. No one wants to cook AND do math.
I say prepare the recipe as is, take the leftovers to work for lunch. If leftovers aren’t your thing but you’re dying to make that new dish you found online, then throw a mini-dinner party for some friends or that cute guy you’ve been seeing.
Yes there are healthy delicious single serving meals available at the grocery store. So what if you’ve got 10 of them in your cart when you check out. Maybe you have a coupon, maybe they are on sale and maybe they are cheap efficient grab and go lunches for the busy working girl on the go.
The point is to eat and be merry; life is too short to waste time worrying about what the cashier thinks.
Have fun with it
So you’re living on your own and your house or apartment feels empty to you. It’s not. You’re there, and you’ve got the place to yourself. So, what are you going to do? Anything you want, that’s what.
Go ahead Tom Cruise yourself down the hallway in your socks a la Risky Business style. Read that book you’ve been dying to finish. Sing terribly off key as loud as you can into your hairbrush. Watch all those awful reality shows you’d never admit to liking.
Crank up the music and dance around like you would NEVER do in front of another living soul.
I’m not talking about the dorky stuff you’d let your friends see or even that goofy cutesy dance you’d do in front of the guy you like.
I’m talking a no holds barred, high energy, spastic, flailing and twirling to the beat that would make even Kevin Bacon look away. I dare you to give that all you’ve got until you’re exhausted and breathless and not be grinning from ear to ear giggling to yourself.
Change it up
Ultimately, what you’ve got to do is change the way you see your living space. It is not a lonely place devoid of life. This is your safe haven, this is your little corner of the universe to do and be whoever you want, whenever you want.
It can be peaceful and restorative or it can be lively and ruckus. You can do that with friendly company or all by your fabulous self in your favorite pajamas and you don’t even have to ask permission.
Living alone is not inextricably linked to loneliness. You still have your friends and your family, your career, your passions and your goals. You don’t stop existing when you live alone and you don’t stop living. But don’t just take my word for it, it’s right there in the phrase, you can't have “living alone” without living.