Last Updated on 21/09/2021
Between 2010 and 2020, the number of child-free, single-person households in the European Union increased by 20% (source: Eurostat). This is a quantum leap.
Perhaps females are becoming less willing to put up with testosterone-induced nonsense in their personal lives. Perhaps there is a strong correlation between this surge and the overall aging population.
One thing’s for sure: living alone truly has a multitude of benefits. I would argue the advantages far outweigh any disadvantages, even the most notorious of them all: potential loneliness.
Is living alone even lonely though?
Loneliness does not necessarily have anything to do at all with living alone. You can be in a room full of people, or live with your spouse and/or children, or work with colleagues in an open office space, yet still feel dreadfully lonely. Loneliness is a state of mind, and it’s subjective. It’s defined in medical literature as e.g. “a distressing feeling that accompanies the perception that one’s social needs are not being met by the quantity or especially the quality of one’s social relationships.” Conversely, you can spend time alone, or live alone forever, and never feel lonely.
I’ve lived alone since I was 18, give or take two or three excursions to that popular, yet very disappointing town called Co-Habitation, which in all cases proved to be no less than disastrous experiences with the opposite sex. I could likely fill an entire book as to why living alone is the smarter form of dwelling, at least until retirement, but I shall not burden you today, Dear Reader. Instead, here’s my shortlist of the six biggest benefits of living alone.
1. Living Alone Makes You Independent & Financially Savvy
People who live alone have learnt to rely on themselves and take care of their own place. They’re responsible because they have to be. They can deal with a clogged up sink, electrical outages, paint jobs, and stupid-ass superintendents from the 19th century who crack snide sexist jokes. They come out stronger and smarter than people who co-dwell, and are generally less needy because they have learnt to tap into their full potential and make decisions. Ultimately, they have gotten to know themselves and are comfortable in their own company. Positive side effects: independent people are considered attractive and generally make better managers at work, too.
Living alone also means you have to budget, and this builds your financial acumen. There’s no one to slip you ten bucks when you’re short on cash for the delivery guy, and there’s no one to help you when you’ve defaulted on a credit card payment. You learn quickly to hold your money together, and over time this means you can gain a better grasp on planning for savings and investments.
2. Your Home Equity Is All Yours
Speaking of money, if you are paying your rent into your pocket by owning your own condo or house, all that sweet, sweet equity is going to be yours alone when you sell one day.
3. Personal Space
When you live alone, there’s no one judging you 24/7. Go out when you want. Come home when you want. Or stay in and binge mindlessly on The Real Housewives of the City of Your Choice. Invite your friend from up north to come visit for a week. You don’t need to consult with anyone. You run on your own schedule, you make your own rules. And you can break them whenever you feel like it because there’s no one around to bug you.
Speaking of space, you also need less of it when you live alone. Nobody will mess it up, either. If you leave a clean place behind you when you head out to work or school, it will still be clean when you come home at night. There’s no picking up after anyone else. Even working from home in these times is dramatically better when you live alone, because there is no one who will disrupt your physical or mental space.
4. Peace and Quiet (or Heavy Metal) in the Mornings
This is probably my personal favourite. There’s really not a human in the world I want to acknowledge with any sort of verbal intercourse before I’ve had 600ml of coffee and a couple of hours of me time in the morning. The early morning is precious, productive, and gives me a great head start on the workday. I enjoy doing rather administrative tasks during these quiet early hours, such as project planning, backend maintenance, or accounting.
For many years I also wrote morning pages: three hand-written sheets of a stream of consciousness. It helped me process a lot of emotional baggage at the time. Figure out what works for you and how much time you need to yourself before work. Create your own morning ritual, and celebrate it each day.
5. You Don’t Have to Compromise on Home Decor
Another big benefit of living alone may sound banal at first, but I feel it’s a worthy mention because it really underscores the degree of personal freedom you experience at home. You can design your interior entirely as you like. Or not at all. There are absolutely no compromises you have to make and if you enjoy decorating, you really come to appreciate the creative liberty you have in your own space. You’re essentially only bound by your own time and budget constraints!
6. Cooking & Meal Planning is Easier
I have to include the food factor in this list of benefits to living alone, if only as an honourable mention. For one, it’s just easier and more economical to do the grocery shopping and any meal planning for a single-person household. Plus, if you spontaneously decide you don’t feel like cooking, you’re not obliged to. It’s only you, after all. Cheese and crackers with a glass of wine for dinner? Go for it. Meal skipping? Totally. Cold pizza for breakfast? Absolutely. Pot roast leftovers four nights in a row? Heck yes, it was delicious after all.
Those were my personal six biggest benefits of living alone. Do you live alone, or have you in the past? I’d love to hear what your take is on the pros and cons.
I did try to think of some disadvantages to living alone while writing this, but I could really only think of two! There is no one around to help you lift heavy things when you need to; you always have to call or pay for help.
And there is no one around to give you a spontaneous hug and cuddle when you need it the most.