I first lived alone after taking a reporting job in rural Mississippi just after graduation. The first three weeks were tortuous, because I love chattering on to other people and all of a sudden, much of my day was silent. I’d come home and tell my cat how my day went, then make myself a Stouffers Skillet Meal and wonder if I’d ever make any friends. Every bump was almost certainly a rapist ghost, and the only thing to do was to lie in the very center of my mattress in a high state of alarm.
But in week four, I realized living alone is amazing. If I want my apartment to be quiet, it’s quiet; messy, it’s messy; filled with pulsating Russian techno, this booms triumphantly through each room. There is a small place in the world that belongs to me, and it can be exactly as I want it to be.
But most importantly, living alone has made me OK being alone; I don’t get anxious or restless the second it’s just me and my thoughts. I have learned to enjoy the pleasure of my own company.
Maybe I didn’t have to live alone to do that, but I’m not sure how it would’ve happened otherwise.