This is the first time I’ve lived alone. I have a room to myself, a single bed, and some pots and pans to cook as my heart (although sometimes monetarily restricted) desires. There is something big about it though. I find it really very self exposing. A little bit of voyeurism upon the bits of myself that are often hidden between the layers of others coexisting around me. When you strip those layers away, plop yourself down in a single room and are asked to nourish yourself appropriately for the first time, there is a lot to learn about who you are…and also about who you will become.
Some things I’ve discovered:
1.It was not just an inkling. Currently I have 7 oranges lined up in a row on my window sill, two pomegranates, 1 ½ limes, a massive ginger root, ½ a clove of garlic, a clump of dried mint from last week’s farmer’s market and an apple in a wooden fruit bowl on my desk. Not to mention the rosemary and lavender I have gathered from the woods over the past two months and the procession of dried leaves I’ve been pressing in catalogs as autumn descends. I am OFFICIALLY obsessed with living with fresh things.
2.Neatness. All my life I’ve always been notorious of, as I am sure my mom will readily assure you, leaving random tidbits nilly willy. But no. For some reason when alone, I feel the need to have things clean. I blame my Positive Psychology teacher for corrupting my view of living spaces and how they affect the mental.
3.I am a rabbit, as has been asserted by several people sharing my kitchen. Arugula, lentils, avocados comprise like 60% of my diet. The rest is basically honey oatmeal and chili dark chocolate, with possibly tea speckled in between. It is really funny to observe yourself second hand and see what kind of things you’ll eat when no one cares anymore. I have a feeling down the road, I will be the psycho lady with a massive garden in her backyard teaching the different plant species to my grandchildren while a pot of beet root is boiling on the stove. Bhahaha. At least I can laugh at myself.
4.I am also going to be one of those old ladies who saves all of the cards and letters and random things she gets as gifts for decades. I have all of my birthday cards, a champagne cork, maps of the mountains we went to in Switzerland, a picture of my friends here pretending to be Charlie Angels, a beaded necklace said to bring safe travels, some balloons stolen for me from a seaside café, and a painting my Dad gave me from his South Pacific wanderings. A full fledged pack rat.
5.Fresh air, sunshine, and loving people make or break my happiness on a daily basis. The fusion of the three make me able to deal with just about anything life throws at me.
I feel like I am starting to get to a point of maturation (if such a thing even exists) where it is becoming clear who I want to be and who I do not. What kind of life I want to live, and the kind I would prefer to avoid. I think that one of the important parts of being my age, floating about without much tethering to a job, family, or significant other, is solidifying self. It is like sharpening your sword, as my Dad would say. You need to know who you are before you can achieve much else.
Right now, I pretty sure I am partaking in such a sharpening process, with living alone for the first time being a good example. And I think that all of the travels yet to come/significant uprooting,it is even more important. Sometimes I feel a little blown about in the winds of change, that it is easy to lose footing, feel displaced, be pummeled by existential crises and the likes, so working on strengthening a sense of self provides a solidarity no matter the external.
I am grateful for this challenge.