As long as I’ve been an adult, I’ve loved living alone. I got my first apartment shortly after college. It was a cute little studio apartment that had very little furniture: a bed frame and mattress, a table set, and a tv that sat on milk crates. It was like heaven to me.
I’ve had roommates twice in my life. Shortly after I moved to NYC, while adjusting to rental market sticker shock, I decided a roommate was one way to manage the expense of this wonderful city. One roommate was a woman who was a bit of a nut, the other a woman who was perfectly normal. Even though it was pleasant enough rooming with the normal one –even fun sometimes– I couldn’t wait to get my own place again.
I’m sure my love for living alone is one of the reasons marriage had so little appeal to me. I’m not a hermit by any means, but no matter who you are, at some point I want you to go home. I’ve posted about this a few times:
And now, I’m delighted to learn that, not only is my love for solo living perfectly normal, it’s now becoming close to the norm. There’s a new book by Eric Klinenberg called “Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone“. It’s about the recent sharp increase in the number of people who live alone…and it offers surprising insights on the benefits. (These insights are actually not surprising to me, but I’m sure they are to many).
Did you know:
- In 1950, only 10% of American adults were single. Today, more than 50% are single, and 31 million, roughly 1 in 7 adults, live alone.
- People who live alone make up 28% of all U.S. households, which makes living alone more common than any other domestic unit…including the nuclear family.
I don’t know why this is happening, but it’s nice for someone to “come out of the closet” about this. I still occasionally come across people who think living alone is not normal. Some think it’s really not such a good thing. And though it may not be a good thing for some, it’s really good for me.
According to Eric: “Though conventional wisdom tells us that living by oneself leads to loneliness and isolation, this book shows that most solo dwellers are deeply engaged in social and civic life. In fact, compared with their married counterparts, they are more likely to eat out, exercise, go to art and music classes, attend public events and lectures, and do volunteer work. There’s even evidence that people who live along enjoy better mental health than unmarried people who live with others. And they have more environmentally sustainable lifestyles than families because they are more likely to live in urban apartments rather than large suburban homes”.
The book goes into lots of detail supported by statistics, original data, and vivid portraits of people who live alone. I love that this book is helping to dispel the myth that living alone is for losers. Thanks, Eric!
And what about you? How do/did you feel about living alone? I know it’s not for everybody (nothing is), so how is/was it for you?
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