I went to eat out with a colleague when he made a dreadful remark about a girl enjoying her meal alone there ‘Hey, look! She’s endorsing Hotstar: going solo!’ and he started laughing. I hate it when people comment on other people, but that wasn’t the only reason I remember that comment so well. I remember it because at most times, I am that girl, that girl going solo, that girl on her own, that girl by her own side, that girl not keeping herself locked inside her house only because she doesn’t have company!
His comment opened gates to a lot of introspection on the way I live!
I am a young, optimistic, spiritual-but-not-religious, crazy, extremely loving and an ambitious girl from Delhi, working and living on my own in Bangalore. I won’t mention my relationship status here because I believe it’s not related to this context.
I am celebrating my 1-year anniversary of living on my own! (so dramatic 😉 ) and I want to share my experience with the world so that if it reaches those few people who are sailing in a similar boat, s/he gets reassured that they’re NOT insane! For the rest of you, I hope you enjoy reading about my ‘solo’ journey so far! 🙂
I present to you the 5 co-existent phases you may face when you ‘Go Solo’:
- WHY so Anti-Social?
So the first thing people ask me when I tell them that I live ‘alone’/ went out to eat ‘alone’/ took myself out for a ‘coffee’/ explored the streets of a new city ‘on my own’, to my surprise, the first thing they ask me is: “why so anti-social, girl ?”
Answer: Well, I never even imagine myself to be anti-social! But if I like to do things on my own, with my own company, why should it imply that I do not like people and that I am not social?
This question has always made me think, do all the people hang out in groups and go everywhere in groups do so only because they fear this question or being stereotyped as a ‘loner’? Have we started to compromise on the quality of the company we keep because we are afraid to be with ourselves?
My idea is, IF I do not get people who I can connect with or with whom I can really enjoy myself and I want to have a good time, I do not hesitate giving company to myself. There are times I am surrounded with people and we all have a great time, but at the end of a long day if I sit in a café by myself holding my kindle, sipping my coffee, enjoying the moment, why does everyone around stare at me with pity or judge me?
I have lived in hostels/PGs for 6 years and I am saturated with the lack of peace & privacy and the excess of drama 😉 I had always dreamed of living alone, in my own small house, on my own crazy terms; I had fantasised this self-dependent life for as long as I can remember! And trust me at the end of the day, I wouldn’t want it any other way!
- The REALity check!
Let’s get real, living alone has shown me the harsh realities of life and has taught me the ugliest of lessons!
So, there’s no one to blame when the groceries/your favourite chocolate cookies are over! There’s no one to call for help when you realise after reaching home that you bought everything for cooking except salt :p There’s no one to turn the lights off when you happily fall asleep holding your kindle in your arms, and most dramatically, wake up only around 3:30 am to see the entire house is lit as if it’s Diwali! So you shut your eyes ASAP and convince yourself to waste electricity for just this one night (let’s be practical, it’s an unholy hour!). There’s no one to hug when you’re feeling tired after a LONG day (so I learnt this exercise in an Art of Living course to hug myself every morning & it is so gratifying ❤ ). There’s no one to pamper you when you fall sick and no one whose food you can hog when you just don’t feel like cooking 😥
You do not have the luxury of asking “Who moved my cheese?” because unless your place is haunted, you can’t rely on someone to pass you the cheese/a glass of water/the goddamned pills!
My patience is tested every night I come back from work and the bloody stubborn key refuses to fit inside the lock and I have no one waiting inside to run and open doors for me (I should probably get a pet 🙂 ).
The funniest thing is, you have to buy everything in bulk because for some reasons, manufacturers in India do not believe in ‘Go Solo’ household 😥
Every morning brings a new lesson and every night is filled with a bit of tiredness, but this is my life and I am proud to have created this space for myself for as long as I can live it.
- The perks of going solo!
Trust me there are! You can skip a shower on a Saturday if you wish to, you can roam around the house looking like an ‘anything’, you can sing/dance/act/do whatever while you are in your castle, you can do fancy dress competitions with self, you can play loud music & record karaoke (well, I just wanted to tell you that I can sing 😉 ). You can watch back to back princess diaries or LOTR series or anything without being judged for your choice!
You can order what you really like and request it to be as customised for you as possible (brown bread, less sugar, less ice, no ginger, less oil..& so on) without anyone raising an eyebrow at you! You can eat with a spoon, with fork & knife or with your hands, depending upon your mood and you’re not expected to leave tips even after paying service tax. 😀
You don’t have to hide & safeguard your favourite chocolates or perfume or footwear 😉 When your friends come home, you can show-off your interior designing ‘skills’ through the cool stuff you’ve created/painted/whatever on your walls!
You can have late night calls 😉 and you might as well get involved in a parliamentary debate over a call if you have to…no one is getting disturbed!
You can cook rubbish then call it ‘healthy’ and indulge in it proudly! You can clean up the mess around at your own convenience! You can meditate at any point of time, since there’s no noise around and you can work-out anywhere because you bloody own the place 😀
You can act like a cool & matured person and invite your parents to come and stay with you and when they do visit you, you can show-off your newly learnt adulthood & impress ‘em 😀 !
You ultimately learn the biggest truth of life: YOU are the ONLY one responsible for YOURSELF. It’s liberating ❤
- The ‘ME’ time ❤
I have not always been this peaceful and optimistic. I’ve had my own share of childhood & teenage issue (I know, who doesn’t :p ). Most of the times, our issues are non-existent, except in our heads. Living alone has given me the time and space to sit with myself and talk to myself about those things that I always avoided. I did not know/ follow any ‘healing’ process, I just did it because I had a lot of time with myself and I couldn’t run away from my true self any more (thankfully!). The last 1 year has brought me closer to ME. Let’s be real, you are your best companion, so being a good one shouldn’t hurt 🙂
I have become more crazy, I have invented more ways to have a good time with myself, I am more self-empathetic, I forgive myself more often and I also scold myself at times. Today when I meet people, I listen to them, help them, cheer them up, help them have a good time, instead of just expecting them to do all these things for me!
To sum it up, I am loving this relationship ❤
- The minute discoveries 🙂
When you are quiet, the Universe talks to you. My bed is so located, that I can see the Sun rising in the morning and I can talk to the moon while I sleep! While I was in Delhi, my days started with car horns and at night, there were more aeroplane-blinkers than stars!
1 great thing about Bangalore are the birds and the butterflies! So my mornings start with melodious chirping of birds these days & the butterflies greet me often during the day ❤
Living alone has encouraged me to find meaning and connection in friendships and has strengthened me to be selfless and more accepting towards my family. As I spent more time with me, I appreciate the moments I get with my loved ones and hence I am more mindful of their presence in my life <3.
As I spent more time in front of the mirror 😉 I began to see through myself. I saw my weaknesses, I saw my scars and surprisingly, I just understood my journey better instead of judging myself.
I have miles to go before I sleep and I have realized that life is more of an inward journey. So never shy away from taking few minutes a day from your busy schedule for yourself. You may not live alone, it’s your choice, but wherever you live, create a space where you can be yourself unapologetically.
The world will talk. The more in tune you get with yourself, the more those talks turn in your favour. Take charge. 🙂