Two years ago I was living alone in a house paid for by the Nature Conservancy on Main street in Karlstad, Minnesota. The pleasure center of nowhere. But I enjoyed myself immensely.
I had never lived alone before in my entire life. I wasn’t even supposed to be living alone. My roommate and coworker had quit, leaving me the entire somewhat dilapidated two bedroom house. It was far from paradise, but it was closer than I had imagined.
Growing up with two brothers and being the youngest meant that I received what I needed and not always what I wanted. Prime on that list was space. I shared a room with my older brother until I was twelve or so. Not a big deal, but it wears on you.
My first semester in college I had a similar taste of solitude when my creepy roommate caught Mono and left school. It was nice, but I wasn’t as much an introvert back then and really didn’t like that dorm. People were always knocking on my door and it was a bit too communal to be considered living alone.
The next college domicile had two roommates, the next three, the next one reached peak roommate at six. That’s right seven people living in a house built in the fifties. To be fair, I was living in a tent in the backyard so they weren’t technically my housemates, but that’s another story.
Ever since college I’ve always lived with at least one other person. I’m not an antisocial curmudgeon, but I had no idea how much of a blessing solo habitation could be.
Midnight guitar practicing, pants optional, early bacon festivals, no squabbling over bills, dishes, or chores. Wait, there’s more: not having to partake in small talk, avoiding their friends coming over, different schedules and morning and night clamoring, full stove and fridge ownership, other’s pets you somehow become part owner of, immediate toilet access, man this list could really go on forever. But this is nothing new to you. It surprised me.
It seems natural though that most people are aware of the panacea that living alone can be. In fact, an unscientific study I just made up claims that 84% of adults would choose to live alone if they could afford to. And there’s the crux; it costs more to dwell independently.
The price disparity between cohabitation and loner habitation is basic economics and I really don’t feel the need to explain why. I won’t go around parading that my own personal domicile is a right because it works best for me. But it is a damn shame.
Now, I fully realize that many disagree with my penchant for household sovereignty. It surprises me when I hear people say that they prefer roommates over none. Perhaps they are sometimes fooling themselves because they know they can’t afford to live alone so why not believe it undesirable rather than be miserable.
I am not a miserly misanthrope about all roommates. I have actually quite enjoyed some roommates in the past. It is nice coming home after a hard day and talking about it over a beer in the kitchen or making a huge pot of stew that can be shared. Friends of roommates are also great ways to meet new friends. However, I find all of these cases to be in the minority of actuality. 24/7 human interaction saps me of my happiness. I need a retreat at the end of a day to create and recuperate.
What I’m really trying to say is that one of my life goals as paltry and abstract as it seems, is to live alone. For how long I’m not sure. I would think that at least a year would be fruitful to glean data from. My creativity and productivity increase for some reason when I can wake up with the knowledge that I don’t have to tiptoe when I’m feeling boisterous or contrarily be confronted by an incendiary roommate when I’m feeling dogged.
Why should you care about any of this? I’m not sure. But now you know of my desire and so do I. Sometimes it takes a bit of writing out my thoughts to understand what I really think.