I like being alone.
There. I said it. I like being alone. I did not know this about myself until recently.
I am a social person. I always have been. I love my friends and one of my favorite things to do is hang out with my girlfriends. I love to talk, giggle, and gossip (not in a bad way, of course.)
In one of my past lives, I loved going to clubs and bars and flirting with boys. I loved double dating with other couples and my husband. Now I love doing the same with my boyfriend. I especially love being with my daughters.
This fall, my youngest left for her freshman year at college. My oldest is a junior. I’m not going to lie – I was very nervous about this transition. I have never lived alone. I grew up in a house of four, lived with roommates in college, roommates in my Manhattan apartment, moved in with my husband and, when he passed away, lived with my daughters.
I was 53 and facing the prospect of being alone for the first time. Was I going to be lonely? Was I going to be afraid in my house? Was I going to miss my girls too much? Would I need to make constant plans to keep myself occupied?
The answer to all of these questions, with the exception of missing my girls, was no.
Within a few days of college drop-off, I settled into being alone in my house. I am not completely alone because I have my dog who follows me everywhere. So what if all of my conversations are now with him?
My empty house isn’t so bad. I work most weekdays which keeps me busy during the day and I welcome the quiet when I come home. I can eat what I want when I want. I can watch whatever I want on TV. Most importantly, I don’t need to cook or clean up after anybody but myself. I love spending a large part of my weekends with my boyfriend, but I’m fine when he leaves and I am alone again.
A few weeks ago, my girls came home for Christmas break. I was so happy to see them and have them back in the house. We didn’t have any big plans, but it was nice to hang out and watch Netflix, do some shopping, and go out for lunches and dinners. I enjoy their company and love seeing the women they are becoming. I even enjoy hosting their friends when they come to visit.
Toward the end of their break, the honeymoon seemed to be over.
Where I first loved seeing them get the rest they needed, I later hated them lying around the house.
Where I first loved cooking for them, I soon longed for them to figure out their own meals.
My biggest issue was the mess. The first few days, it felt good to see their bedrooms “lived in” again. When their floors were no longer visible, I took to shutting bedroom doors so I wouldn’t see it.
What really got to me was when their mess spilled over into the living room and kitchen: water bottles everywhere, wrappers on the counter (Do they not know where the garbage is?) and dirty dishes in the sink (Same question about the dishwasher!).
They have recently gone back to school and I am alone in my house once again. This time there were no nerves. I didn’t exactly shove them out the door, but I looked forward to my solitude. I missed the peace and quiet and welcomed the time to be alone again.
You may be horrified reading this or you may be nodding in agreement. It is interesting to learn at this age that I truly like to be alone sometimes. But I will always welcome my girls home, messy or not.
Stacy was a stay-at-home mom/part-time preschool teacher whose life was turned upside down in 2011 when her husband passed away suddenly of a heart attack. She is raising her two fabulous daughters, now ages 18 and 20, who are turning into wonderful young women. In 2016, she started a blog about her experience as a young widow, The Widow Wears Pink. This led her to write for other publications including Huffington Post, Today.com, Scary Mommy, Grown & Flown, Kveller, Modern Loss, Thought Catalog, and many more. In 2018 she started Living the Second Act with fellow writer Mimi Golub. Today, Stacy and her daughters are happily living their “new normal” while always keeping her husband’s spirit alive.