Alone vs. Lonely

Next week, I shall be moving into my new flat. At the moment, I am caught up in the minutiae – packing everything six levels deep, with the top and most accessible layer made up of the things I’ll need immediately – socks, tea, clean pants, deodorant and my radio. But I know that when I move in it will be worth it. I’ll finally be living by myself, alone. Nothing will move unless I move it. Nobody will finish the milk unexpectedly. I will stack my newspaper supplements waist-high and no one will mind. I will dry my underwear on radiators with gay abandon. And it will be awesome.

As little as three years ago, the idea of living alone terrified me. I’m a telly fiend – would I ever leave the house if there was no-one to rouse me? If I got sick, who would insist I eat dry toast and hold my hair back while I puked? Who could I send out to get emergency ice cream? Loo roll? Egads, tampons?! I’m still a little overwhelmed by these questions but I am choosing not to dwell on them. It achieves nothing at this stage and like I said in last Thursday’s post – it’ll get done. Because it needs to get done.

Late on Saturday night/Sunday morning, I came across this video via India Knight’s Posterous. It’s called How To Be Alone. I hit play expecting the twee-est thing in the world, beloved of hipsters in Williamsburg and Silverlake, a sort of lite version of Baz Luhrmann’s Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen). I girded my loins for the worst… but I found the video to be quiet and lovely; little suggestions that make being alone okay. It’s not a cray-cray manifesto for the militantly single. Just a few things to remember and try out. What do you think?


7 responses

  1. What a lovely video, thanks for posting!

    I’ve lived alone, and lonely-with-people, and what makes the difference is what you have going on in your life outside the flat. Living alone in a brand-new city? Not a good idea. Living alone when you have a nice network of social activities and friends? Bliss. As much as I want a space all to myself, I’m going to try and find a house-share in LA, just to keep me connected those first few months (and get everyone’s insider info on what to do and where to go).

  2. What an extraordinary find! I feel all….what is this? Is this what it feels like when my cold, stony heart begins to crumble? It is….not unpleasant. It feels good. And she’s Canadian, eh? ::preens, but in a low-key, polite sort of way::

    For me, the litmus test for happiness is this: can I dance naked through my living room without a witness? I have not yet actually done the boom-bah jig through any of my adult domiciles, but I find it comforting to know that I could, if I really wanted to. The freedom to embarrass oneself in private is, I believe, a fundamental human right, and I hope the future holds many, many happy nuddie dance parties for you. You surely deserve it. Just remember to close the curtains first.

  3. I love living alone. It is one of the greatest joys of my life. I think like anything else in life it’s beat not to have very set ideas about it. Sometimes I revel in the solitary pleasure of doing what I like when I like and other times I could cry that no one else ever buys toilet paper or suggests opening a bottle of wine…

    Although unlike everyone else I know, naked dancing has never featured in my living alone world, so you may wish to ignore the words of someone so odd!

    Enjoy the adventure! I can’t wait to come visit!

  4. @Abby – I’m full of admiration and awe for those people who move into a new city. I’m doubly impressed when they move into a solo place – I can’t imagine a bigger recipe for hermit-like solitude… Good luck in LA, and invite us to all the swanky premieres, won’t you?
    @Adriana It is a cool vide isn’t it? I fully intend to do the naked dance. I’ve been told it’s fabulously liberating!
    @Nikky That’s sound advice – I think it’s very much a ‘wait and see’ type of deal. If it all gets too much, I may have to invite you round every night…

  5. Lovely video, Bim, thanks for sharing!
    I actually moved to a new city, and chose to live by myself. It is, as you say a perfect recipe for hermit-like solitude, especially when you don’t work a 9-5 in an office, and you know, see real people. My favorite thing to do when I’m ‘working’ at home and having an especially hermit-esque week, is to make myself go to the nearest cafe. A few months in, it’s become something I do 2-3 times a week in the afternoon and have ended up meeting some lovely people. It also forces me to wash my hair and occasionally change out of my pj’s…

  6. Hi,
    I sent this link to the girl that did the song. She would be pretty happy that you guys enjoyed it. I enjoyed it too, I was more suprised at finding her video on this blog.

    I lived alone for a year. Best year of my life. You get to do what you want, when you want. You decide if you want company or not. Most of all it teaches you to enjoy your own company and be comfortable by yourself. You will find that you are more likely to do things alone, even just walks, cafes, shopping etc and enjoy it alone.

    The downfall…when u live with ppl again. You become anal after being alone, you have personal levels of clean(no one can compete), you sometimes do not want company(too bad, its a roomate) and many other little things that throw you off. It take getting used to, which I still haven’t.

  7. Came across your blog thanks to the Black Weblog Awards. What a lovely space you’ve created. I must admit my jealous of your living alone – I’m an only child, it’s my secret dream :). Beautiful video. I look forward to reading more from you.

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