Living Alone after a Lifetime Living with Others

most-beautiful-small-islands

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.

Right.

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

Cheers!
Cheers!

United Kingdom

27 August 2013

Selena Gomez says the only thing big about Justin Bieber is his ego!

Selena Gomez says the only thing big about Justin Bieber is his ego!

Baggage

Baggage claim
Baggage claim (Photo credit: gorbould)
Talking about relationships with my daughter the other day, I stated that I was in no hurry to enter into another one. She was a little concerned about this turn of events and said so. She opined that surely I did not want to arrive at my dotage alone. I have thought about this and I have decided that I am not bothered. It’s mainly because of the baggage you see.

Let me explain.

Baggage Art
Baggage Art (Photo credit: aresauburn™)

Everyone has baggage. Baggage equals: children – both young and/or grown, hang-ups – both recent and distant, family – parents alive and deceased, exes – ex-partners and ex-lovers (that may still be hanging around the periphery and causing problems), grandchildren – ugh. The last one hurts to actually think about. I mean I know I’m in denial about my age and the age of women who would be (logically) potential partners, but…dating Grandma’s??

I have my own baggage. Trust issues with future partners, this is based on my last long lasting relationship. The active dislike of dealing with other peoples issues. In-laws and their respective family units automatically become part of your family, whether you want them or not. I could handle all that political manoeuvring when I was much younger. I doubt I have the patience now. Other baggage includes my active denial and dislike of growing older. I haven’t gone through my second childhood yet – my daughter will probably argue I never left my first one – but, I am sure it isn’t far off. I do promise not to try skateboarding again.

English: Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx...

I have thought seriously about this new thing everyone keeps talking about: Friends with benefits. I have decided at the end of the day that this simply will not work either. Why? Because I’m self admittedly picky. Kind of like Groucho Marx’s statement about clubs. “I wouldn’t want to be a member of any club who would accept me as a member.” Okay, apart from my eternal joking around about me being like Cary Grant and getting more attractive the older I get, I know that my “pulling” power is diminishing with age. I also don’t really fancy women my own age.

Screenshot from Charade showing Cary Grant and...
Screenshot from Charade showing Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know how that sounds. Bad right? But every relationship I’ve ever had, with one or two exceptions have been with women younger than me. My ex-wife was seven years younger. I don’t find overweight, leather faced, chicken winged gals attractive. Yes I know that makes me really shallow. I know this and I accept it. I will admit that yes personality pays a huge role in women I find desirable. The ability to laugh and have fun outweighs all the other factors I just mentioned.   But what these older women all have in common is the baggage that comes with all these attributes.

 

It’s the baggage that really keeps me in the mindset that I will remain single for a very long time. I don’t want more children grown or otherwise. I don’t want any more in-laws deceased or otherwise. In a nutshell, I don’t want any baggage other than my own. I may eventually find a “beneficial friend.” But I think I’m quite happy doing what I’m doing now. Playing games – Assassins Creed Revelations at the moment, blogging, doing the odd video – YouTube, nothing rude I can assure you. Just living my day-to-day life and enjoying it, sans anyone else’s baggage.

One day I may feel differently, I may feel stronger, more tolerant of other folks baggage. When that happens I’ll grab a handful of metaphorical handles and give it a go. In the meantime, I’ll settle for carrying my own baggage, solo. Although I might invest in a trolley to help.