Living Alone after a Lifetime Living with Others


Writing the other day of my thoughts on mortality and the avoidance of becoming consumed by the fear of death in the wee hours of the morning, I got a comment from my good friend Tash over at Films and Things. She mentioned that when she was younger she had the irrational fear that she would die old and alone. I could relate.

For years I suffered the same fear. In fact it was this fear that lead me to leap into my second marriage; an act similar to jumping from the frying pan into the fire. Despite the fact that I was drawn to the young lady in question, and she was young at a staggering seven years my junior, I should not have been thinking in matrimonial terms at all. I’d only just met her.

But in those days, it was unusual for me to not be thinking with my smaller more hormonally driven brain and the fact that I wanted to just talk to the girl put her in a special ranking. I thought, in my infinite wisdom, that this meant she was special. Special enough to marry. Which I did.

Now many years later, I am living my younger self’s nightmare. I am old-er and living alone. Well and truly the master of all I survey and answerable to no-one except my creditors and the taxman. Amazingly, I am happier than ever before in my life. The young me’s fear of being all alone and dying alone never rears its ugly head. Except in wee hours as I mentioned in my last post.  We all die alone, whether surrounded by loved ones or not. Death is meant to be lonely, it is our own journey that has to be taken in solo status. We can invite no one else to accompany us on this final trip. Hence, we die alone.

But this post is not about dying, sorry to have strayed off the path there. I am back now and moving on to less morbid musings. The post is about living alone after a lifetime of living with others and just how much my life has changed.

The realisation came to me yesterday as I struggled to find enough clothes to make it worth my while to wash one of my summer uniforms (said uniform, donned  the second the sun comes out consists of my speedo shorts and what ever shirt I first grab in the morning); after wandering through the house and realising that all I could add was the two kitchen towels, I realised that this was another symptom of living alone.

On the same day  (busy day yesterday) I filled the kitchen sink with about nine small bits of dishes and cutlery to do the washing up. Another “symptom” of being a loner at home. Probably a bit wasteful of water, but I really cannot stand seeing washing up staggering about the otherwise clean kitchen. One of the things that my long second marriage instilled in me.

Image created by Sarah Danaher with a Canon EOS 5D MkII

But those two similar acts got me thinking. I am now truly alone. I have no one to work around, move around, stumble around. My daughter moved out earlier in the year to share a flat with her boyfriend, a lovely chap that I keep referring to as my “almost son-in-law,” and I have, since that time grown accustomed to being a solo act.

It has been a learning experience this living alone. I have learned how to “downsize” my weekly shop for groceries. That particular task took ages. The amount of times that I had to throw out food that had gone off makes me cringe. Learning to schedule my house cleaning chores by levels. *Said levels are made up of dust accumulation and floors of the house.*  Struggling to make the time to cook my meals so that I do not live on the unhealthy option of constant take-a-way.  That one is the most difficult.

I said to my boss just the other day that I wanted to earn enough money at the paper to pay for a cook and housekeeper…oh and to pay all my outstanding bills of course. I could stand someone coming in occasionally to clean the house and to cook me my healthy heart meals. Even, perhaps, to buy me the groceries needed to set up my meals. I add this last part as I consume my late breakfast of strawberries with unrefined sugar that I threw together since the fruit was  due to go off today.

I love living alone. The freedom it gives me is heady. If I want to walk through my house all day in my birthday suit I can – sorry if that dredges up unwelcome images, if it makes you feel any better, I have not succumbed to that particular temptation just yet.  If I want to hoover (vacuum for those of you in America) my house at nine o’clock at night I can.  These two examples of my freedom are not indicative of everything I love about being gloriously selfish for the first time in my life, but they’ll do for right now.

I am not yearning for physical contact with anyone, be they of the opposite or same sex. I don’t miss hugs or caresses or the other messier types of physical demonstrations of affection/love.  A fact that I was shocked to discover.  I have always been a very tactile person. Sex, to me, was the most fun I’d ever had that did not cost me huge amounts of money. It was also the way I could show, in a physical sense, just how much I cared for the person I was with.

When I was younger, sex was a very important part of my “big game plan” it was something that I knew with utmost certainty that I could not live without.


Turns out that, like so many things I thought I knew when I was younger, I was wrong. I have written about my feelings about “grown up” love and attraction before. I think the reason that I do not miss the physical act is because the age of my potential playmates match my own. My girlfriends, wives, lovers were always much younger than me, not indecently so, but around the three to seven year mark. There were two exceptions to that rule and both were wonderful experiences.

My circumstances may change in that area, but I do not think so. I have no time for the intrusiveness of a proper relationship and all its incumbent baggage. I write full time for the paper and on my blog whenever I can.  I do my healthy heart walks daily, if at all possible, and write. It is difficult to find the time to clean the blooming house! I certainly do not have the time required to “cultivate” a relationship and like I’ve said before, I may have wrinkles but I don’t find them attractive in potential “mates,” And yes I am aware of how shallow that makes me sound.

But I can say with  certainty that I do love living alone after a lifetime of living with others. I am comfortable with my own company and do not feel the need to find another person to make me complete. I have come to the realisation that, in terms of living space, I am happier flying solo. Besides as my list of friends and colleagues continues to grow, I am never truly lonely.

Michael Smith


United Kingdom

27 August 2013

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

15 thoughts on “Living Alone after a Lifetime Living with Others”

  1. Interesting post Mike, very insightful. You seem to be a man with a good head on his shoulders, but then I’ve always gotten that impression from you blog posts. Something tells me I may end up leaving alone, I mean while I LOVE people and love being in the company of friends and family, I think being in your own company does have its advantages and if you’re keeping busy in life then it can’t be that bad.


    1. Thanks mate. I’m at that stage where I’m too damned busy to have to coexist with another human being! LOL While I would love for someone to cook or clean for me, amongst other things, I don’t make enough money to hire someone to do it! LOL But the secret is keeping busy and being satisfied with your own company!


  2. The very moment I realized living alone had definite merit, Garry decided to ask me to marry him. Psychic? Even Garry and I finally living as a couple, even though The Younger Generations live downstairs, cooking for just us, shopping for just us … it’s a learning experience. I am FINALLY learning to cook for two, not a small army. And if life throws a mate your way? Why then you will relearn relationship and sharing again. We lead so many different lives over the years … It’s good to see you in bloom finally.


  3. Yes, I carried baggage and avoided men to the extreme. I’ve worked hard on healing myself. Grudges I carried were heavy.
    Being lonely while in a relationship is a deeper loneliness than I’ve ever felt while living alone.
    I recently quit smoking, awful experience and plan on really being free next year.
    I love hiking/walking and plan on doing major trails in the next few years. I am going to try and find a small houseboat in the Pacific Northwest. Everything I want in my life would not be possible if I was in a relationship.
    I cherish the freedom of choices I have now.
    I will pack my comforter to go.


  4. As a female about your age I agree with most of what you wrote.
    Except I do like lines in a mans face, I’ve never been attracted to baby faced men. With Botox few women have lines these days.
    I have lived alone for many years and love it. It would be difficult fore to make room for a man.
    I always felt about sex exactly like you did, I was shocked to read what you wrote. I am clumsy and a slight air- head so a man had to have a sense of humor to be with me. I also considered sex one of the cheapest ways to have the most fun.
    I’ve been married for 40 years and we have not lived together for about 6 years.
    I love living alone, I cherish it.
    I did, maybe still do sometimes, miss the feeling of safety, warmth of sleeping next to a man I care about.
    So I bought better door looks and a down comforter.
    I do miss the laughter and the friendship at times


    1. I love the better door locks and a comforter! LOL I think that I’ve been so badly scarred from staying in a bad relationship for all the wrong reasons. But now I find the idea of trying to make time for another person would be more trouble than it’s worth. I was shocked when I realised that my youthful interest in sex had diminished! LOL Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, as always you make great points! Cheers!! 🙂


  5. Haha I go insane without alone time. Not a very sociable person and I am only 20 😀

    “Sex, to me, was the most fun I’d ever had that did not cost me huge amounts of money” Cheap prostitute?


  6. Great post 😀 and very insightful stuff!
    And it’s great that you’ve found happiness 😀 you deserve it!
    Living alone sounds amazing to me…I’m a bit of a recluse 😛 I always thought I was weird for enjoying my own company more than spending time with others, I’m glad it’s not just me 😛


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