Living alone can be an exceptional choice



Published Aug 11, 2023


Durban — The 21st century has shown that living alone can be an exceptional self-care investment. As we continue to evolve, some individuals may choose to break the standard of our recognised traditional ways of living with others.

With our fast-paced lifestyle, young individuals are more inclined to remain in education and pursue advanced degrees while focusing on advancing their careers. In addition, there are those individuals who choose to be single at heart and may sometimes find themselves living alone as a result.

Many questions may arise. Are you leaving home for career reasons? Are you leaving a relationship? Are you living in a shared house? Are you seeking solitude? Solitude comes from the Latin word solitudeinem, which means loneliness. Having moments of solitude does not imply you are lonely. The concept of solitude conveys a sense of pleasure in being alone, simply by choice.

Since 2020, divorces have increased by 13.1% in South Africa despite the decrease in marriages. Marriage is often viewed as a union that is legally and socially recognised and it is regulated by beliefs, customs, rules and laws.

Annually, there has been a decline in marriages across global and local trends. Most unmarried couples are choosing to live together instead of tying the knot. Information contained in Statistics South Africa’s latest release, Marriages and Divorces, 2021, states that in South Africa, 106 499 marriages occurred in 2021 compared to 161 112 in 2012. Due to modern life, individuals fall out of religious practices. Marital vows are rendered meaningless. Living alone is considered a practical option that creates a sense of control and freedom.

What are the benefits of living alone? By fully embracing life by being fully present in your body and mind, which means immersing yourself completely in life. Everything is in your control, from your sleep schedule to your eating and snacking habits, from thermostat control to television remote control. Home is where the heart is and it is a simple act of feeling comfortable in your own company. Living alone is essential for some individuals to feel fulfilled and at peace with their circumstances and themselves.

Is it worthwhile to live alone? Spending time alone can help you gain a better understanding of who you are. You learn how to explore your true self. Living alone not only provides you with an unparalleled freedom, but provides a time to focus on your wellness and happiness. Trusting your instinct and thinking clearly without any pressure or external influences is what it is all about. This time allows you the opportunity to acquire a deeper understanding of yourself as your privacy remains intact.

Sign up for classes or groups that allow you to spend time doing something you find entertaining and meet like-minded people who share your interests. Moreover, no one can judge you. You do not have to comply with someone else’s standards. You have the ability to establish healthy boundaries in your various relationships. However, over time, you find it easier to protect your self-interests.

Will you love or hate living by yourself? The answer lies with the individual. Question, how comfortable you are with yourself. Are you able to concentrate better, reflect and brainstorm possibilities? What is the state of your mental health? Your level of social connection? Is living alone a choice/circumstance for you? Your personality type may be influenced by loneliness, a choice of introverts who receive their inspiration from peace and quiet. Extroverts have a unique wiring that requires external inspiration.

What makes living alone unique from other lifestyles? Living alone allows us to make expert decisions in every aspect of our lives. There is a greater amount of time spent alone and in solitude. Your career is fully under your control and you enjoy financial independence. By becoming self-efficient and resourceful, you can devote more time to self-care and personal well-being. You are open to various types of relationships, at times treated differently by friends and family by being excluded from couples’ events, group holidays and so on.

Living alone is a lifestyle of our own choice, it allows others to feel authentic when around us. Being alone is a great way to recharge and slow down for a moment as you come up with your own solutions. Individuals who are not afraid to live alone will flourish in solitude.

As designers of our destiny, we are not gifted with magical powers, but failing to factor in the impact of people and places appears to be detrimental. We are missing a strategic opportunity to rise above the upcoming challenges and bridge the gap between blue-sky thinking and what is possible now for an exceptional 21st century lifestyle. But is it possible for us to be exceptional?

Anolene Thangavelu Pillay

The views expressed are not necessarily the views of IOL or Independent Media.

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