When you live solo in your mid to late thirties, the experience is significantly different to your twenties. Twenties are a period of trial and error. In and out of relationships, perhaps, a time of flatmates and house parties, and the fact that you now have a paycheck (however questionably low it maybe) that you can do as you like with. Being single/solo is almost a given and seen as just enroute to happily ever after. But your 30s…well that’s when things get serious.
Until just over a year ago, up to the age of 62, I had never lived alone. From leaving home at 16 to sharing a flat with a friend. To marrying at 19. Having a child, divorcing, marrying again, three more children. Ending up a single parent again…until I married for the final time! I’d spent my whole adult life in the company of others.
It was the first time I had been on my own in eleven years. Loneliness was the first thing that entered my heart and my mind, along with rejection and a strong sense that I’d failed. It didn’t make a difference that the ending had, in the end, been mutual. Over time, my experience shifted from one of loneliness, to that of solitude.
The coronavirus crisis is affecting us all in different ways, and one group we’re hearing about a lot at the moment are people who live alone. Under usual circumstances, people who live alone use words like resilient, empowered, independent and connected to describe themselves.