After living with my husband for eight years, I found myself living alone in my 30s for the first time. Most women have lived alone at one time or the other by the time they get to my age, and I have. (Does a college dorm count?) But also, not really. When I moved in with my (then) boyfriend, I was still in college, and we decided to make a go of living together as our relationship got more serious. It was eight years and happiness, homemaking and transitioning through life as boyfriend-girlfriend, fiancés, newlyweds and new parents. It was beautiful and fulfilling. So naturally, when we made the difficult decision to live apart for a while, it was a scary proposition.
Of course, I know I can take care of myself, that’s never in question. Here’s the thing though, I might be a little spoiled. Okay… more than a little, then. I was a daddy’s girl as kid and then a wife with a husband who took care of me. Suddenly, I was going out to do it in a whole new country with no family and but one friend for support.
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I thought it might be an opportunity. I love my husband, our marriage and our home, but I fell in love with him at 22. At 32, living alone for the first time as an adult was an opportunity to learn more about myself and where I am in life. I’m not the same woman I was then. Would I make the same choices with a decade of wisdom given the opportunity? There are very few things I regret in life, but everything holds a chance to make me a better person through lessons and experience.
3 Things I Learned Living Alone in my 30s
I Hate Living Alone
I hate living alone. I detest it, actually. Although I’m very much an introvert and have a knack for minding the business that pays me, I am a loner by no stretch of the imagination. Self-discovery and all that is great, but I know who I am. I always have. I have grown, learned and gained perspective, but more or less, I am the same person. I don’t desire long periods in my own company. I can do it, but I have no desire to. I grew up in households where my loving family was always there. Even when they irritated me, I loved having them around. In my own home, I have come to love the quiet presence of my husband and the not-so-quiet one of our only daughter. After their last visit, the house felt emptier and lonelier than I ever thought possible.
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It’s more than living alone, too. Everything reminds me of what they would like and enjoy whenever I do anything without them (my family). As you can imagine, it’s pretty hard to enjoy something when you have to do it without the people you want to share it with.
I Chose Right from the Start
I think we all naturally wonder, however fleetingly, what life would have been like if we had made different choices. Not with regret but with curiosity (At least for me). The verdict was in immediately; I didn’t need a whole year. I love my life. I love my husband and child, our life and home together. I didn’t just fall into a rhythm. I actively make the choice daily to be with my husband and child. It’s not that I needed confirmation. All the same, re-enforcement was welcome.
If I Have to Live Alone Indefinitely, I’ll Be Okay
Just because I don’t want to do it and it’s not my preference doesn’t mean I can’t. I can. I have been for over a year. Several years ago, my younger sister set off fresh out of university to live in China. No family, one friend and a 2-3 days travel trip away minimum. I have always admired her for that. She lived away for three years before deciding to stay home with her family. That took guts and spirit, and I often thought, ‘Good on her, but not me.’ Funny, that. Life can truly humble us. Despite knowing that living alone in my 30s or otherwise is not something I would choose, I proved to myself that I could, should I have to. And that is invaluable.
Are you a woman living alone in your 30s? Have you done it before? Tell me how you feel/felt about it in the comments.
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