HOW TO LIVE ALONE AND ENJOY IT
by Dena Glazer
When I was a young mother, I and my family moved to Miami. I was a full time Mom with 3 small children, a dog, a husband and a house to run. My aunt and uncle lived in a beach-front high rise condo as did many of their friends, mostly widows. It was then that I began to think of my own later years, about living alone. What I observed was that living alone in a generic high rise was NOT where I wanted to be when I was older. And I was scared to live alone. It was totally foreign to me. Not something to think about then.
I remember, once, when my Mother was in her 80's, asking her why she would not go out with me more. She took a moment, and then said that she really enjoyed staying home. She was content to stay put. That was where she wanted to be. She had her routines, many friends and was loved by all.
Now, in my jubilee year, I can appreciate that feeling of being content to stay at home and not HAVE to rush from place to place, or thing to thing.
Since the middle 1970's, I have lived alone, had roommates, rented rooms in other people’s houses, owned my own houses, and even house-sat. For the most part, I have enjoyed the journey. That is not to say that there is no strife, stress, or sadness along the road. Life happens!
Being a very visual person, I have always needed to make my living space reflect a feeling of beauty and peace. When I was in massage school in the 80's, we had to write a description of where we would like to live. I wrote about having a house with high ceilings, a fireplace, dark wood floors, lots of light, a front porch with a porch swing, and everywhere you looked, you would see beauty. In the early 90's, I moved into an old Victorian house with those exact characteristics. I had totally forgotten about writing this until one day, cleaning my files, I found the notebook with that passage in it. (You CAN manifest what you want, or don’t want, when you are very clear in your heart and stop obsessing about it.) It comes in its own time. Have patience.
These are a few of the things have worked for me and a few suggestions for things that may work for you.
1. The first thing I do when living alone is to literally put around me only the things that have meaning for me and that make me feel good. I create a space where I can be to feel comforted.
2. I treat myself as company. I love to cook, so I make enough for 2 or more meals and invite a friend over to share. Or, if no one is around, I freeze it for another day or, perhaps, change it for a slightly different taste tomorrow. If you happen not to cook, take-out works well for company and pot lucks are popular and you can invite people of your choice.
3. I always prepare a place to eat. I sit down, appreciate the look and aroma of the food before I taste it; savor it. I put candles or ambient lighting on, maybe soft music. After all, aren’t I the most important person here? I like to look out at the nature I can see from my dining table while I eat. Sometimes, I read a book. It is my quiet time.
4. When I find myself lazing around at (3) in the afternoon, maybe a little depressed, I get dressed and take a walk. I have found that exercise makes me feel better, and doing something, even going grocery shopping, brings opportunities to expand my horizon and always raises my spirits.
5. Becoming active in my synagogue has evolved into a social meeting place for me as well as providing intellectual stimulation and spiritual comfort.
6. If a friend is not available and there is an event or a movie I want to go to, I go alone. I have met some of the most interesting people that way. I am not distracted by the person I am with and therefore have more energy to look outward. Remember that the word, alone, when broken apart is all one.
7. If you are fortunate enough to not have to work, find a hobby or an organization to enjoy and become active in it. I work and volunteer. Both are rewarding.
8. I do not have pets, but if you want, get a pet. They are very comforting. One of my friends just got herself a dog she is training to be a therapy dog. It also makes her walk a lot and her arthritic hips are feeling better as a result.
9. I have young friends. (as well as friends of all ages) There is much to learn from them, too. They challenge my mind, and, surprisingly, genuinely listen and revere me as well.
10. You might volunteer some time helping others. If you are stuck at home, use your phone or computer. There is always a need for your particular expertise and wisdom.
11. If you don’t like your life, change it. Only you can make that decision. There is someone out there waiting to either help you or waiting for your help. It is up to you to scope it out. Remember, the result is not as important as the journey.
12. Lastly, I try and laugh a lot. Remember to smile. (frowning uses more muscles than smiling.)
I was in a class last week and after class, this young (in his 50's) man made it a point to approach me. He had been sitting across from me. He said that he was so taken with my smile, it made his day. Well, it certainly made my day, and all I did was be me.
Have a happy life, every moment of it you can.
Dena Glazer is a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher, a motivational speaker, and a role model for those younger than she. She is still active in teaching yoga and hopes to continue for 20 or more years. Visit her at her website, GentleYogaForStiffBodies.com.
If you know anyone, yourself, a relative or friend who might benefit from this article. Please send it on to them. I am a living example of an older senior who, I am often told, 'you are an inspiration'. If you want to learn more, please contact me @ denabg134