The other day I read this wonderful essay by Helena Fitzgerald called "The Fierce Triumph of Loneliness." You should take a look at it if you get a chance. It's basically about living alone as a radical feminist act in a society that maintains that "women are the anchors of social labor, the glue pulling the family, and then the community, together with small talk and good manners and social niceties." As Leta pointed out, it's strange that she conflates aloneness and loneliness, but it's still a thoughtful piece.
Anyway, it got me thinking about something that I've been considering for a while: whenever and wherever I move from Vegas, I may want to live alone. Not because it's a radical feminist act, but simply because I have never done it. I lived with my family through high school, and ever since then I have lived with at least one roommate at all times. I've rarely even stayed in hotel rooms by myself, and on those occasions it's only been for a few days.
I've been fortunate enough to have lovely roommates throughout the years. I've been good friends with many of them, and I've gotten along well with the rest. There's something nice about having a person there to talk with when I get home. We may not constantly share meals or watch movies together, but it's comforting to know that if I go missing, somebody will notice sooner rather than later. And since I have hypochondria-related anxiety problems, I love the idea of having another human in the house who could dial 911 if necessary. (I know, I know--get back to a therapist, Becky.)
Despite all the benefits of roommate living, I wonder if I'm not inadvertently hindering myself by refusing to strike out on my own. I feel largely independent, but I can't possibly be fully independent if I'm splitting chores and bills and the other drudgeries of domestic life with someone else. Many of my friends who have lived alone for a while insist that I'm missing out (you can dance naked throughout the house and no one will care!), but I don't know about that. The privacy of my bedroom is usually enough for me.
So I could live alone, I suppose, when I move. It's an easy enough thing to accomplish. But I wish I could have a trial run. I'm worried that my anxiety will completely overtake me. Living alone won't be fun if I'm racked with panic attacks every night. Hopefully that won't happen--sometimes I think my anxiety will spike over certain things only to discover that it doesn't spike at all--but you never know.
Any advice? If you've adjusted from living with others to living alone, how did you make that transition easier on yourself? Pets? Long bouts of meditation? I'd appreciate your thoughts on the matter.
In other news, there is now professional video of me reading from my novel at Neon Lit last month. Enjoy.