Living Independently Alone

Good morning. Mornings on the front porch are getting fewer in number. Come up to my attic where it is warm and cozy. We’ll chat for a spell.
I was going to talk this morning about living by myself. I googled that phrase and the first one listed was this. Actually, he said most of what I was thinking to say.

Books Were My Friends

Books Were My Friends

I’ve been living by myself most of my life. While I was growing up, I spent the time at home in the care of a housekeeper, because my mother died when I was three. The housekeeper was busy most of the time doing housekeeping things, so, when I was in the house during the day, I was mostly alone.

I was often ill as a child with colds, allergies, and asthma attacks which didn’t allow me much time out of doors. I had to learn to entertain myself. I would play for hours with dolls. Most of them were my sister’s hand-me-downs, but that didn’t bother me. By second grade I was reading fluently. I often had a book with me. My dad let me have a subscription to the Weekly Reader’s Book Club. It was always a thrill when a new book came in the mail. The rest of the books came from the pitiful collection of school room “libraries” in the corner of each room. Each teacher had to scrounge around for books so the size of the libraries vaired.There was no room to be had for a full library in the school. Every room in the school was occupied. As a result, I think I read every volume in every room before I left that builiding.

When I was eight and in third grade, my father finally relented and bought our first televison. I spent hours at a time watching that. Pinky Lee, Howdy Doody, Kukla, Fran, and Ollie, Captain Kangaroo, the Lone Ranger, Superman, all of these people became my friends but I didn’t live with them.TV

At night my father, sister, and aunt came home. We ate supper together. It was not a time of family togetherness, however, because my father listened to the six o’clock news every night and there was no conversation at that time without an admonition of “Shhhhhh!” . After supper my sister often disappeared doing older sister things like going to her room, hanging out at friends’ houses or dating. My aunt stayed in the kitchen with her hot tea and cookies before retiring to her bedroom with the door closed, and dad took  naps on the couch or went to a meeting. He was on the board of the local bank and in the church’s Brotherhood.

My sister went away to college when I was in seventh grade. The housekeeper quit when I reached high school, so it was just the three of us after that.  I was even more alone.

My freshman year in college I was assigned a room with a sophomore who had her own set of friends. We seldom saw each other during the day. The only thing we shared were the bunk beds. I can’t really remember being in the same room with her that year more than a very few times. My sophomore year, I was assigned a roommate who had never lived away from home. She lasted a couple of months and then was so homesick she moved back in with her parents, leaving the room to me. I had one other roommate that year for nine weeks as part of her rotation, but again we didn’t do anything together. My junior year, different room mate, same story. Her schedule was very different from mine. Then I moved back home when I dropped out of college for five months. Same story. Dad, my aunt, and me. The next year my dad died, leaving my aunt and me. By that time I had my own social life so we basically shared the house at night to sleep. I moved away from home for good when I was twenty-two.

I had a couple other roommates in the next few months, but the pattern repeated itself. We each went our own ways. Then a childhood friend moved away from home and in with me when I needed a roommate to share the rent. We ended up living together for six years before I married. Once again, our schedules and social lives were different so we seldom spent time together.

By the time I married, the “aloneness” pattern of my life was set. I found a man to marry who was a traveling salesman during the week. When he was home, he went into his “mancave” to do his paperwork, or hung out at a bar, so once again we didn’t spend much time together during our entire marriage.

My son moved away for good over nine years ago and I have had the house completely by myself for all that time. It never used to bother me, but in the last year I have come to feel the house is just too huge. That’s why I’m trying to sell it and at least downsize.  I’m not having much luck.

At church on Sunday I talked with a neighbor who asked if I ever considered renting a room. I sometimes fantasize about turning this house into a “golden girls” abode, but I wonder if I would be comfortable doing that.

After so many years of aloneness, I don’t know if I could take other people living in this house, especially retired women who don’t have much more to do than I do and just hang around for days at a time. I guess I’d have to make sure they were busy during the day and could leave me alone. I love having my son come home, but to tell the truth, after a week I’m just about ready for him to move on again.

I saw a cartoon the other day. An older man was proposing to his “girl”friend. She said, “Of course I love you and want you to be part of my life, but not 24/7. I gues that’s how I feel too. I’d like a companion but not around me many hours during the day and not every night.

Even my dog Ri-Leigh is much like I am. When I first got her, she would not even go outside by herself. Now she prefers to stay outside all day and once in a while she even refuses to come in at night. Maybe if I had roommates like that, I could get used to living with someone else again. In the meantime, most of the time I am alone, but I’ve learned I’m not lonely. Hopefully, there won’t be a time when I am forced to change. If I have to change my lifestyle, I hope I am able to do it voluntarily and willingly.

Y’ll have a nice day now. Namaste. Attic Annie



1 Comment

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One response to “Living Independently Alone

  1. To “be lonely” is to pine for the company of others. If you don’t “pine”, you’re not lonely, just alone, solitary, apart, …

    Funny how all the words we have for wanting our own space all to ourselves have negative connotations.

    I suppose that’s understandable – Man is a social animal, and almost all of us are wired that way. The only exceptions would be monks and hermits – but I could never understand the guy who went out into the desert, climbed up on a 25-foot pile of rocks and stayed there for years. (Maybe I just don’t get it.)

    One of the early stories I read as a kid is Lovecraft’s “The Outsider”. Here it is online, 8 or 9 pp:

    The Outsider

    It made an impression on me at the time – and obviously one I haven’t forgotten.

    The key word here is of course “Independently”. I don’t know if I could deal with the opposite.