Welcome to another installment of my “living like a millionaire on a retirement budget” series. No matter what our financial situation, we all have budgets. Living beautifully – or luxuriously – can hinge on changing a perception or making an attitude adjustment.
Living alone is like being rich. Wow, what a thought!
Today I want to celebrate people who live alone. As I said in my article on being single, living alone brings up a different set of challenges than family or partnered living. Singles often feel excluded and yet, so many of us live alone.
Loneliness is a cause for depression among all age groups, not only the elderly. The reason why loneliness is prevalent amongst retired people is that we don’t have the community of school mothers, or the social networks we create from working. Perhaps we’ve moved to a new place and are just beginning to make friends.
So I offer up these tips to celebrate solitude with a positive mindset. Ready? Here’s how living alone is like being rich.
When I think of a wealthy person, I think of someone who has the freedom to do whatever she wishes because she’s not held back by financial restraints. She can also get things done exactly how she pleases because, “money talks.”
Well when you live alone, you can adopt this same behavior for an abundant, life embracing mentality. Just think, you have no negotiations, and no justifications to make for your tastes or desires. The flowers I like. The furniture this way. I can watch the shows I want at the hour I want to see them. I can channel flip if I feel like it.
I spend my money however I want to spend it. I can dress exactly how I want, in whatever makes me feel fabulous. I overhead two women in the dressing room yesterday: “I can’t buy this. Ralph wouldn’t like it.” Enough said.
I feel free. There is nothing to weigh me down, hold me back. No support duties. Everything I do is for pleasure: my pleasure.
The super rich own their planes and fly whenever they want to, not on some airline’s schedule. While I don’t own a plane, nor can I force an airline to fly when I feel like it, there are many things I can determine on my own schedule. I can sleep as late or as early as I want I, not connected to someone else’s schedule.
If I wake in the middle of the night I can play Candy Crush on my iPad, or listen to a Maisie Dobbs novel on Audible. (I love being read to! Now that’s a luxury!) I often check in the with NY Times in the wee hours to see what’s going on in the world before anyone in my time zone. Sometimes I get up and make myself a cup of tea to bring back to bed.
Managing my life entirely on my own schedule is endlessly positive. I can travel without having to consider another person’s vacation schedule or finances. I can eat whenever I want, speaking of which…
What I want, when I want it. I’m not catering to anyone’s tastes, just my own. Every meal is considered: what do I feel like eating? I do watch my weight, but I do it beautifully. Restaurant chefs should take a lesson from me when it comes to crafting a lusty salad. One morning a week I take myself out to breakfast to mingle with cafe patrons and feel the beat of the working city.
Yesterday I got inspired by GBBO and baked all afternoon. That evening, I brought the cake to a dinner party, making me most valued guest. If I want gummy bears and cheese popcorn for dinner, so be it. I had a hankering for Greek spinach pie and made one, savoring it for two days until it was gone.
There is no “what’s for dinner?” which I heard for umpteen years. This is pleasure and freedom. If I want company I invite a friend for dinner. No one ever says no.
To do whatever I want, whenever I want to. I can move to a new city. I can spend the entire day reading a book or writing blog posts for you, interspersed with watching knitting tutorials on you tube. The ability to be spontaneous is a luxury, don’t you think?
I mean, think of all the years you said, “I can’t, because…” Now I can go to a movie on the spur of the moment. I can decide to bake a lemon drizzle because I’d like to have some for tea time. I can leave the house a mess if I want to. There is no one to yell at me, no one to disappoint or displease. I can be indulgent with no guilt.
I am the star of my life. The writer, director, heroine. I am free to discover exactly who I am, at my own pace.
I’m not sending anyone to college anymore, covering someone else’s medical bills, paying someone else’s car insurance. Of course I’m on a budget, we all are. But I can be more generous with myself in many small ways.
I live alone, and I know that sometimes it can be lonely and scary. I’m not denying that. I’m not saying that living alone or with someone is better than the other. Life has its circumstances. At our age, we are complex people with baggage – good and bad – from our past. But you can live alone and have a good social life with support and backup systems in place.
Bottom line: I get to do what I want, when I want to do it. And that sounds pretty damn luxurious to me.
How do you feel about living alone? How do you feel about living in a couple or with family members? Do you have any tips about luxuriating in your solitude? Please join the conversation.