Beginning to live well, alone

In the week since the Living Well Alone Project went live, our first blog post reached more than 2,400 people, and almost 400 people visited our site. Nearly 90 people have followed our Facebook page, and we’ve had six offers to hold focus groups across the country.

It feels like we’re tapping into something here, and we’re only just getting started.

53 incredible people – of all ages, and all walks of life – took time out of their busy lives to share their stories and their wisdom with us via the Living Well Alone Survey (click here if you’d like to join them).

We’ve read every single response. And we’ve been humbled, uplifted, inspired and moved us to tears by what you’ve said.

We’ve learnt that many of you have embraced living alone. While some of you would like to find someone to live with in the long term, the majority of you have said that you are happy with your space, independence and freedom, and would find it difficult to go back to living with anyone else.

We’ve learnt that some of you are grappling with an entirely new way of living, having only recently been through devastating loss. A small number of you are struggling with depression linked to isolation and loneliness. To those people we would say – keep reaching out to those who care about you, be kind to yourself, and don’t be afraid to share some of what you are struggling with. You are courageous, and you are absolutely not alone.

And some of you don’t live alone any more. For you, living alone meant you learned life skills you wouldn’t otherwise had the chance to gain, and learned more about yourself in the process.

Collectively, you’ve questioned the difference between loneliness and solitude. You’ve reflected that learning to live well alone means learning to know yourself deeply, and that staying connected – to family, friends, loved ones – is the single most important thing you can do to live healthily and happily.

For those who have found joy in living alone, you relish the peace, the freedom, and the ability to make your own choices over how you live your life.

Where you struggle, you’ve told us that having no-one to talk to after a bad day can be particularly hard. That you miss a having ‘second opinion’ on household decisions, and that planning ahead is essential to avoid isolated evenings and weekends.

You’ve given thoughtful advice on everything from mealtimes and chores, to admin, security and household maintenance (it seems that cooking in bulk and freezing food, having all bills on direct debit, and online shopping are must-dos for almost everyone who lives alone!)

And you’ve asked to be seen for who you are as individuals, in a way that is non-judgemental.

Thank you, all, for your honesty, your insight, and your time. As the survey rolls on, we’d like to pick up on a different theme each week, and talk to you about how we plan to build out the website to reflect everything you’ve told us. You’ll truly be making a difference. If you have any thoughts, or would like to get involved in any way, please let us know.

For now, thank you for everything, have a great week, and we’ll be in touch soon!

The Living Well Alone Project team

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