18 July 2018

Lessons I've Learned Living Alone

I remember growing up I thought I would do things exactly the way my Mom did in her life.

I thought I'd be married with a baby by the time I was 25 and live at with my parents until I got married. I envisioned my life looking very similar to her own. Obviously my life has turned out very different than I initially expected. 

Before I got married, I never lived on my own. After my wedding, I moved from my childhood home to the house I thought I would be building with my then husband.

After my divorce, I moved back home with my parents for about nine months to save money and get my feet on solid ground as I started looking for a new home for myself.

I moved into my new apartment on August 14, 2016, which also happens to be the feast of Saint Maximilian Kolbe. He is my spiritual BFF and his heavenly friendship has greatly blessed my life.

That first night in my apartment was such a mixture of emotions. I felt overwhelmed, anxious, excited, and nervous all rolled together.

I knew it would be a big transition learning how to live on my own for the first time in my life.

It has been almost two years, and I have found myself thinking about the lessons I have learned in how to live on my own over the last few weeks.

I needed to learn how to be comfortable in my own company

This was a lesson I never knew before I got married. I didn't know how to be comfortable with myself. On some level, I think I was always looking for validation or affirmation from others because of my own insecurities. I avoided facing my wounds and looked for ways that other people could help me feel more loved.

Moving into my own apartment at 30 was a real growth and healing opportunity. It helped me face things I had previously avoided in relationships or hidden in the depths of my heart. And living by myself, I had no option but to face them head on.

I think doing this has made me stronger and more emotionally healthy.

Loneliness is not something to run away from

This was probably one of the most messy, painful things to maneuver and work through after my divorce. 

Sometimes the loneliness just felt so overwhelming. While I knew this time around being in a relationship with a man would not fix me, I still wished there were times I didn't have to come home to an empty apartment or cook dinner by myself with no one to share the meal with. 

There were plenty of times I cried or journaled all the big feelings to help me deal with how I was feeling. I learned over time the only way to get through the mess is by going straight through it.

Eventually I came to a place where I realized loneliness is not something to avoid or run away from. It taught me a lot about myself and showed me how I used it to run away from facing bog feelings or emotions.

Even if its just me, I need to make my home beautiful and cozy 

Even if it was just me living in my apartment, I decided early on I wanted it to be a simple, beautiful, safe space for myself.

I took time to find the right frames for gallery walls. I spent time finding beautiful words to hang in my home and decorate in a way that made my home feel special to me.

Honestly it felt weird at first doing these things all by myself.

Over time I added news pillows, candles, hand painted signs. Each new little touch made my apartment become a home for me.

Have you ever lived alone before in your life? What were some of the lessons you learned through the experience?
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  1. One lesson I've learned is to be intentional about scheduling social time on the weekends. If I'm not paying attention it's sooo easy to not speak to a single human being from the time I leave work on Friday until I come back on Monday morning.

  2. These lessons are so beautiful, Patty! I especially love how you mention the last one. I think it's so easy to forget the importance of beauty when it's "just me." I've never lived alone, but the times when my husband has gone out of town for a weekend and I'm all alone I've come to realize that it's OK to make good food even if it's "just me." That may seem totally silly, but for a while, I'd usually pull together some leftovers or a sandwich or something because it didn't feel like the kind of occasion when I should actually go through the process of making a nice meal if I'd be the only one eating it. Now, though, on the rare occasion that he's gone, I usually try to make at least one nicer thing for myself (or I wind up treating myself to Chinese takeout, since my husband doesn't like Chinese food).

  3. being alone makes you stronger in life.

  4. “Life alone could be sad, but it doesn’t always have to be that way.” This is prolly one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned when I lived alone for years in my apartment in Temecula. You wake up, do your routine, go to work, go home, do your routine, and go to sleep. And the cycle goes on and on, until you realize that life is full of adventures that are just waiting for you to take. I started changing my routines. From usually coffee breakfast then straight to the office, I now do yoga and sometimes go out of the neighborhood and try to make new friend. It’s kinda fun, and I’m excited for what’s yet to come.


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