“The more decisions that you are forced to make alone, the more you are aware of your freedom to choose.”Thornton Wilder
Perhaps you’re thinking about moving in by yourself for the first time – perhaps you already have. Perhaps living by yourself was something you planned for and looked forward to. Perhaps you’ve started living alone suddenly, following separation, divorce or bereavement. Perhaps your children have left home. Perhaps you’d never imagined that you’d find yourself living alone. Whatever your route to solo living, welcome!
The first thing is to know that you’re joining an enormous community. Almost 8 million people in the UK live alone, with millions more overseas – and solo households are the largest growing demographic. People from all walks of life – different backgrounds, careers, outlooks, stories. You may live alone, but you are absolutely not alone!
The second thing to know is that almost universally, there’s a learning curve involved when you start living alone for the first time. While many people go on to really enjoy solo living, it’s completely normal to go through a range of feelings as you get to grips with the practical and emotional aspects for the first time – everything from relief to calmness to overwhelm to worry, and even fear. It’s also very common to feel several of these emotions at the same time. Particularly if you’ve been through a particularly traumatic event leading up to living alone, there’ll be a lot going on, and it’s important to take it one day at a time. The most important thing you can do is to be kind to yourself – don’t beat yourself up if you’re not on top of things straight away, and give yourself time to recover.
Through the Project, we’re bringing together stories, advice and idea from an international community of people who live by themselves. Over time, this page will evolve to include bespoke tips and links to information and support for people who’ve starting living alone for different reasons:
- Those who have transitioned to living alone as young adults (18 – 40), perhaps after leaving the family home, leaving care, or having previously lived with housemates
- Those who have started living alone following separation or divorce
- Those who have started living alone following a bereavement, or multiple bereavements – this could include a partner, parent, sibling or child
- Single parents who don’t live alone, but are the only ‘responsible adult’ in their household
- ‘Empty nesters’ whose grown up children have left home
- Those who have started living alone following an illness
- Carers – for partners, parents or children – where they are the adult responsible for running the whole household
- Those who have started living alone after leaving an institutional setting, such as the military, hospital, or prison
As we work on the site, there are a few ways that you can stay in touch. You can use our beta discussion forum to connect with others, join our active Facebook community, and sign up to our blog, below. If you’d like be more actively involved, we are always looking for people to help us develop new content, and to review content that’s been developed by others – please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re a voluntary group at the moment, and welcome all support!