The Joys of Living AloneFri, 19th Aug '05, 7:45 am::
"The strange new truth, according to census figures, is that the single largest chunk of American households now consists of people who live alone. No spouse or partner, no kids or other relatives, no roommate or boarder. Alone." Thus reports the Wall Street Journal. I am a statistic now. Here's the original Census Report in PDF.
The report goes on to say "Yet a list-topping surge to 27 million separate little cocoons is still disconcerting. Among other things, it suggests a demographic bulge of lonely souls. Even if you discount the college graduates who paint the town every night before crashing happily at their first pad, you're left with a huge number of people who have found companionship and lost it or are still looking for someone to share their life with. They may not be miserable or call themselves lonely, although many senior citizens do use those words. But most probably are missing something, and we don't mean the better health and the longevity boost that scientists have associated with marriage and other forms of intimate living."
The author of the article goes on, "27 million lonely grown-ups probably isn't great for society either." So that's one side of the story. The other side of the story is what random people are saying here on Fark: "Living alone is the greatest thing in the world." "People are choosing to stay single. I'm single by choice." "I wish I lived alone."
I can pretty much attest to the awesomeness that is living alone. I love the fact that I have a house I can go to every day without having someone nag me to depression on when I'm gonna cut the lawn or paint the backyard door. I love the fact that I can do whatever I want, whenever I want - nobody bothers me, nobody annoys me. If I feel alone or bored, I can either stay at home and entertain/educate myself or I can go out and hang out at my friends' places. I really don't see how living alone could be such a bad thing. I don't have to worry about anyone's dirty laundry and nobody leaves dirty dishes in my kitchen sink. It's awesome! Sure, I miss hanging out with someone 24/7 and that's why I have my friends come once in a while for sleepovers etc. We can watch TV and play boardgames all evening till late night and then have breakfast together. No force, no compulsion. So very stress free.
I think the biggest mistake this author made is assuming that living alone means being alone. Repeat after me: Alone does NOT mean lonely. I live alone, by myself, no other person in my house. However, that doesn't mean I am lonely or sad or feel neglected or unloved. This is just a different way of life than previous generations were used to. And as long as I'm comfortable with it, why should anyone care?
However, there's the economic side to this issue. Be it one person or two living in the same house, you're pretty much gonna use the same amount of electricity, phone, gas, and other utilities. If everyone lives alone in their own house, a lot of resources are wasted. By living together, people can save a lot and split the bills. Maybe that's what I will look into down the line - converting my computer room to a bedroom and renting it out to a friend. I'll be able to save on my bills and my friend will have low rent. But till that day, I think my kids are enough for me to take care of :)