To be precise 375 days of my life was spent in the most invigorating solo trip to the familiar land exploring minds of total strangers. 60 days had a well planned route map and a long list of things to do but the rest of the 315 was lived as it came. A trip I thought had totally gone wrong as days went by due to the pandemic in fact turned out to be epic. It made me surprisingly stronger, happier and younger at heart.
2020 was catastrophic for the whole world, if it did not affect your health and family directly then I believe you can work around most other difficulties and inconveniences. Choosing what to feel about the situation you in, how you perceive that will make you happy or sad. For me, to live alone by choice and love it without feeling lonely definitely gave positive energy and contributed to my mental wellness. I encourage women especially Indian women to live alone at least once in their life by choice without being stuck with the nagging and bickering before you turn 50. That is if you can afford to...You gain the most needed confidence no matter what, you are ok when you are alone!
Mine coincided perfectly with the timing of social distancing and what made it energizing is that the group living ensured small dose of in person interaction and feel connected. I picked a spot that is centrally located and well connected, a hostel/ inn with single accommodation with in house unlimited dining (including breakfast, lunch, 4 0'clock tea & snacks and a lavish dinner). This meant there is no one controlling your life starting from what to eat for breakfast to everything we need to do as a family.. trust me when you are accountable to yourself it is so liberating and I mean it beyond words. To wake up late without the guilt of not getting up earlier, not helping your partner or family with the morning chores and going straight for your plate and cup to serve yourself some warm traditional breakfast freshly made like puttu with kadala curry or appam and veg curry... I hope this resonates with the freedom we all are looking for. Something you will never get in the so called comfort of your own home or when you live with family.
To take a break and just do things you always wanted to something like sleep..eat ..repeat. I cannot tell you how many women friends have envied me for being in that lucky spot during the peak of pandemic time when they were coping with the extra burden of work from home with home schooling kids and cranky husband and no domestic help. "The ever hungry family is on the verge of killing each other said one of them." But I on the other end of the phone was telling about how relaxed I felt ...what followed this conversation was pure friendly hate.
Could I afford living alone? Of course, I could. When people were losing jobs left and right during the pandemic I picked up two at the same time. A day job and an another very light evening shift simultaneously. My evening shift covered my room and board and the day job paid me to splurge on everything I was hesitant to do like walk into the best bakers and order 1 kg Mysorepa or a cake and come back to my room and finish it in a blink of an eye ..of course I am kidding. But ya that was definitely my intension. I fed my nostalgia with food till the brink till I almost fell ill from over eating. People who know me in my personal life will vouch that I am not exaggerating on food therapy.
My personal commitments took a lot of my time during the initial days but once the entire world went into lock down condition and everyone cooped inside their houses that's when 20 plus young women half my age and 50 roomed building came alive. Buzzing with activities and creativity like noone had seen before. Life went from drab to fab.There were top class performances happening on most days. The kitchen sprung open with a newly discovered talented cook. The food went from average to finger licking good. Chicken Biriyani was so good that people began fasting in the morning so they could build an appetite for lunch. Oh Sundays glorious Sundays...
To be with happy young women who have solid dreams was a blessing during an otherwise frightening disease looming world outside the building. When the world came to a standstill these women picked pace. No negativity situation itself simply elevated my spirits and their laughter, joy and hope simply translated into a belief that a brighter tomorrow is not far away.
Your takeaways :
- Force yourself to leave the comfort zone and meet new people. This helps you unlearn old habits.
- People of any age can make you happy and become your friends.
- Be amiable not bossy as you get older. No-one needs opinion, young or old everyone has their own solutions to their problem. What everyone needs is space and no overstepping.
- Younger women are not arrogant but so full of life just soak up the bubbling energy .. live your best life and not make an evident generation gap..
- Choose a safe place that has in house dining so you don't have to leave the premises in search of food.
Why did I decide to stay alone?
My family lived far away from where I had stuff to take care of.
Barging into your friends or relatives homes for days together doesn't seem nice if you didn't know it already.
Thinking of dunkin chai tea...na.. this is Indian spiced tea.
While I sit on my bed and pen down this beautiful memory I secretly wish at least one young lady would knock my door and ask, "Aunty how are you?" But life moved on.. I am back home in my usual den and this pin drop silence is killing me.. I never thought I would say this but I enjoyed the noise and chaos I terribly miss my new friends.
Until I make peace with my mind and immerse in my life ...let me have some tea!