A few nights ago I was having dinner with friends and our conversation landed on the topic of being alone. One of my table mates made the statement that singlehood is acceptable in other cultures, but somehow a “single” or “alone” status in America symbolizes “unbalance”, “undesirable” and “incomplete”. Just then, while waiting for the appetizer and snacking on the more interesting and tasty morsels of my salad I had an epiphany; my proverbial superhero cape materialized and began to sway with the light breeze of the restaurant’s air conditioning, my spandex one-piece suit with my “At Home Girl” logo was apparent on my chest and my Wonder-Woman Go-Go boots replaced the heels I’d worn to dinner. The expressions on the faces of my friends said one thing… “Here she goes, she’s transforming into At Home Girl”, again!” I reached for a pen in my purse and the closest napkin on the table and began to write. I was certain I didn’t have the credentials to analyze, debate or the time or interest to tackle the validity of America’s opinion on being alone, but, I could hardly wait to share some practical tools on how to make being alone At Home an adventure and an opportunity to discover a new you.
A few years ago I wrote an article entitled Home Alone. The information was specific to preparing the home for latch-key kids and it gave age-appropriate tips to moms whose children were coming home to a parent or guardian-less environment. The kid’s version of home alone suggested parents make the child’s At Home experience welcoming by making the house clean, warm and uncluttered and giving the child or children defined, yet simple routines to adhere to. I shared the importance of providing clear expectations by leaving fun, colorful sticky notes around the house to give direction and words of love and affirmation. The notes were also a means to help children stay busy and productive in order to minimize or eliminate the time used to dwell on their fear of being home alone; understanding that being home alone, in the beginning, is as daunting for the child as it is for the parent.
Just as children may encounter seasons that force them to be home alone, we girls, because of death, divorce, termination of a bad relationship, empty-nest or any number of other circumstances can find ourselves living alone. Unfortunately fear will allow us to latch on to the people who cause us pain to avoid being alone. We may even convince ourselves that living or being alone is more traumatic than allowing others to misuse or abuse us. Whether being alone is a choice or the result of circumstances it can create anxiety, loneliness, and uncertainty or we can allow it to be wonderfully freeing and invoke a needed and welcome change. At the end of a busy workday, some will run home with excitement, anticipation and they live in the lap of productivity, and others will find excuses and search for ways to avoid the solitude.
There are small things that can be done At Home to minimize the emotional stresses of being alone and build (yes, home improvement and your improvement) by creating new, positive habits. However, before any structural repair or emotional improvement can occur, one thing is certain – we must make a conscious decision to believe that being alone At Home is not a punishment. It can be a reward or just a change regardless of what happened in the past. It is what happens now and in the future that will make our time alone a success.
Our At-Home environment should always be a place of refuge from the deluge of outside tasks, issues, responsibilities, and societal pressures. Our dwelling should be filled with positive reminders of who we are our hopes, dreams and a place of rest for the mind and the body.
7 Tools for being Alone At Home:
Be certain you are ready, willing and able to accept the situations that led up to this new season in life. Move forward.
Discard items in your At-Home environment that invoke sadness, depression or provoke negative feelings and images.
Clean, brighten and re-organize. You have the right to begin anew.
Replace discarded items by visiting home improvement and home decor stores to purchase paint, wallpaper, mirrors, music, fragrances, home accessories and furnishings that embrace and compliment you. If finances are tight try yard sales and thrift stores.
If you are conditioned to cooking for more than one, visit specialty supermarkets and search the internet for quick recipes for one. Cook what you like. You may find that food preparation can take less time and you can have great fun exploring foods that tempt and tantalize your taste buds.
Make time to do new things At Home: Learn to pamper your mind and your body. Enjoy bubble baths; watch movies that are fun and uplifting or something totally different like a wrestling match on television. Invest in a home study course or grow a vegetable garden in the back yard.
Post scriptures and affirmations in strategic places around your house that will speak positive words to your mind and heart.
Ladies, whether it is temporary or permanent, make your At Home alone time productive. It should be filled with adventure, exploration, and improvement within your home and in you. Sometimes circumstances At Home force us to learn home repair to make our physical dwelling better and stronger. Relationship and family changes in our At Home environment cause us to make repairs and improvements on ourselves and as a result, we become personally better and stronger. Embrace this new season and find your inner superhero. Sometimes we can do it better… alone.