Are you a lone ranger?

Living alone and loving it!

Not so long ago those living alone were thought of as a ‘little bit strange’, inclined towards hermithood and spinsterism. After all humans are social creatures, design to thrive in communities and have been living communally for thousands of years. It seems this is changing, and changing rapidly.

According to researches, the number of people living alone increased by almost a third in ten years, between 1996 and 2006, and keeps on rising.

Most people live alone in Scandinavia where one-person households account for 40 to 45% of the total. In Sweden’s largest city Stockholm; 60% of all houses are occupied by one person. The proportion of single households is also very high in Germany, France, the UK, Canada and Australia, while in Japan 30% of households has one dweller. The number of Americans living alone has risen from only 9% in 1950 to current 26%. Although there is a very little, or no data for New Zealand, there are indications that trend of living alone is raising predominantly because of aging population.

Apart from aging, other contributors to the single-occupant households are; increase in divorces, separations, and to some extent rise in wealth that enables solo-dwellers to meet their own cost of living. In addition, there is a change in perception; we all know few man and woman who are proud of their solo-living status and independence. Most women living alone in Western societies today are celebrated as free spirits, as opposed to frown upon as spinsters some 50 years ago.

It is not then surprising to learn that a prominent American sociologist, Eric Klinenberg describes this trend as; ‘the biggest social change of the last 50 years that we’ve failed to name and we’ve hardly begun to plan for.’

In his latest book; ‘Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone’, Klinenberg writes engagingly about this phenomenon. Not only we are able to afford living alone, but we also seem to prefer it. Modern cities have been designed, and organized to cater for solo-dwellers who are far more likely to go out to restaurants and entertainment venues than those living in family situations, or other multi-people household.

This is not only because solo-dwellers have more disposable income when compared to those raising family, but also because solo-dwellers naturally seek more interactions outside home. Once they satisfy the need for social interaction, they return home to relax in undisturbed peace.

Technology has a role to play too. Proliferation of social media, such as Facebook and similar, enabled people to develop and maintain social connections, exchange views, and access emotional support. Blogging has a similar affect.

While in his book Klinenberg documents cases of those who found
living alone hard, isolating, and lonely, those cases are by far minority. Majority of those living alone are happier, healthier, and more socially active than those living in multi-people households.

Notably, Klinenberg makes a clear distinction between those living alone, being alone and feeling lonely. It transpires that people, who live alone, do not feel lonely or alone. They simply live their lives on their own terms and interact socially when and how they choose.

Does that mean that future households will be occupied by single occupants?

Not according to Kleinberg. While increasing number of one-person household’s will certainly require some careful planning around welfare, care for sick and frail, type of dwellings built, and similar, humans will always need each other’s. The social fabric is definitely changing and independent living is both; affordable and desirable to many people, but we still remain interdependent only in different way than we once were.

What do you think? Do you live alone and have a great time, or not so much? Would you like to live alone?

Author: Daniela

Reader, Writer, Mother, Freethinker, Habitual Day Dreamer, Blogger - Sharing Ideas, Poetry, Prose, and Conversations on the Lantern Post!

68 thoughts on “Are you a lone ranger?”

  1. My friend Daniela, it’s like you picked my mind. I live alone and I so like it. I hardly ever feel lonely when am home alone but funny enough there are times am in a crowd and would feel lonely. So for me, living alone at least at the moment works well for me. I get home, I can read and blog and sleep whenever I want to.

    Like

    1. Hi there my friend -:)!

      I am glad you liked the post. Throughout my life I have lived both alone and with people. Since February this year I love alone, meaning without my daughter, for the first time in the last 18 years … it has been some experience to say at least! Still, I have learned enough about myself to know that right balance between social interaction and time on my own is very important to me. And I know well the feeling of being alone in crowds…

      Thank you very much!
      Kind Regards,
      Daniela

      Like

  2. I live with my husband who I’m happy to be with. I certainly come and go as I wish, but I admire the total freedom of some of my friends. In my bookclub five are married, and five are not. It sometimes makes for lively conversation.

    Like

    1. Hi my dear -:)!

      Thank you very much for visiting the Lantern -:)!

      You touched upon an interesting aspect; being happy with those we have chosen to live with, while still needing to know and feel free as individuals. I think that might be the key to delicate balance of human condition; fulfilment through family/social contact, balanced by need for individual freedom.

      Kind Regards,
      Daniela

      Like

  3. While I don’t live alone, I have done so for considerable periods throughout my life yet never regarded myself as a loner; rather more as a fringe dweller. Perhaps the current trend towards living alone is a response to our need for personal space in an increasingly over crowded world. Namaste.

    Like

    1. Namaste.

      Thank you very much for reading and commenting -:)!

      I very much agree with your views. I have lived alone for long periods of time, and have never regard myself as a loner, even though others have. I love the expression ‘fringe dweller’ … it is the best expression I have come across for those of us who, for whatever reason, found ourselves at the edges of the main stream.

      Many thanks,
      Daniela

      Like

  4. i live alone since i was 18. And i like it. I’m going to live abroad and i will be alone even more until i’ll found new friend or girl-friend. 🙂 I think it’s important to take care of themselves.

    Like

    1. Hi,

      Thank you very much for visiting the Lantern -:)!

      Interestingly enough, I have lived alone from about 18 or 19 until about 26 and loved it too -:)! Since that time I have lived with many people, or just one other, and more recently alone again … different experience each time.

      All the Best with your travel abroad!
      Kind Regards,
      Daniela

      Like

  5. I lived alone for a few years in the days before it was quite so common. It was great, most of the time, but I’m just as happy not living alone now. One way of living isn’t better than the other; they are just different and most of us will experience both at some point in our lives. I think Klinenberg is right when he says that people who live alone simply live their lives on their own terms and interact socially when and how they choose.

    Like

    1. Hi Janet,

      Thank you very much for reading and commenting -:)!

      I completely agree with you; one way is not better than the other, it is simply a matter of preference and choice, except when it is dictated by circumstances rather than person’s choice. I have lived alone and with many people in different periods of my life. Through those experiences I have learned that I need time on my own on a daily basis, even though I do love people and interactions, just not all the time -:)!

      Many thanks,
      Daniela

      Like

    1. Hi,

      Thank you very much for visiting the Lantern -:)!

      I think important to have had that experience of living alone. It helps us found whether or not it is what we truly like. And as you said, while you did not mind, it is not something you preferred either!

      Many thanks for reading and commenting,
      Daniela

      Like

    1. I am glad to hear that -:)! Because there is nothing more important in life than to know that after couple or even a few days of solitary, one can always return to one’s loving family. While I am, probably more solitary person than most, having my daughter is and always will remain the most important for me.

      Many thanks for reading and commenting,
      Daniela

      Like

  6. That figure in Stockholm is astonishing! So Australia is currently about the same % as America..caring for an elderly parent and youngest child I considered myself in the living alone category while reading this post. And, no, not so much….I’d rather not be living alone🙂

    Like

    1. Hi,

      Yes, Swedish seems to love living alone! I can see how you can consider yourself living alone while caring for two people at the opposite side of age spam … I would venture to say that perhaps sharing the load by living with somebody close to your own age, would be your preference. While raising my only child (now 18) by myself, I often felt that way … it was not necessarily about company, but more about an adult company. However, it is also the truth that I have always been rather solitary person by nature -:)!

      Many thanks for reading and commenting,
      Daniela

      Like

  7. “Majority of those living alone are happier, healthier, and more socially active than those living in multi-people households.” That is fascinating and I wonder why that is…did the book go into detail on this fact? There are many, many days that I want to live by myself.🙂

    Like

    1. Hi,
      Many thanks for reading and commenting -:)!
      When talking about majority in this context, it relates to research the author undertook for the book. He found out that those who have chosen to live alone, are happier, healthier and more socially active … as a group when compared to those who do not live alone. However, it is important to distinguish between those who have chosen to live alone, as opposed to those who happened to live alone due to their circumstance.
      During my life I have experienced both; living with many people and living alone … if I have to choose between those two options, I would choose living alone any day!

      Kind Regards,
      Daniela

      Like

  8. I live by myself and feel so much less stress than the majority of the married friends and people I know. It reminds me of a line in the move ‘The Wedding Date’…’everyone has exactly the relationship they’re looking for no matter what they’re in right now’…or something like that. I agree😉

    Like

    1. Hi,

      Thank you so much for visiting the Lantern -:)!

      Yes, you have certainly touched upon one very important aspect of living alone – less stress or at least people who choose to live alone have more time and energy to deal with stress by which ever method suits them best.

      Many thanks for writing and commenting,

      Daniela

      Like

  9. I currently live with my two (soon to leave home) children. I have always been a solitary person so for me being alone is comfortable.

    Like

    1. Hi my dear,
      Thank you visiting -:)!

      I have always been a solitary person too -:)!

      I have lived alone during different periods of my life … but this year is a bit different. After raising my daughter for 18 years, due to her schooling arrangements she has been living in a different city from me since February this year … I am thinking to write about that experience sometime, it thought me a lot on many levels.

      Many thanks for reading and commenting -:)!
      Daniela

      Like

  10. Very interesting article! I was unaware, that the numbers are that high. Having time for soltitude is certainly something I enjoy, especially after a day with much patient contact, it helps recharge. You might like the book ‘Iwant to be Alone’ by Barry Stone, it is very interesting reading🙂

    Like

    1. Hi Ahmrita,
      Thank you so much for reading and commenting -:)!
      Yes, I can relate well to need for solitude, especially after busy day at work … when we are with ourselves alone, even if for a little while, our inner-selves recharge. Thank you very much for suggestion, I will certainly add the book to my reading list (rather long one I must admit -:))
      Kind Regards,
      Daniela

      Like

  11. I had nine months living with a friend, recently, and our gentleness with each other removed any stress from the living together. That, and a lack of stresses from outside at the time. With little experience of it, I prefer living together, if the stress is not such that it sets two against each other.

    Like

    1. Oh Clare it sounds like a true bliss! Finding that rare and precious equilibrium of being together and yet having outside stresses muted … you must have enjoyed it very much. Good on you -:)!

      Many thanks for reading and commenting,

      All the Best,
      Daniela

      Like

  12. I have lived alone and I enjoyed the freedom of eating what I liked and when I liked. Chilling, reading a book listening to music.

    But.. and it is a big but, I love Mrs Sensible and miss her terribly when she is away, and in all honesty I need her steadying influence to stop me engaging in crackpot schemes and making sure I eat properly and not just curries or kababs. But don’t tell her she thinks I have still not out grown my rebellious childhood.

    Like

    1. Hi there -:)!

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting -:)! I am so happy the Lantern is ‘visible’ in Italy, I love that place!

      And I love your comment … such a lovely title ‘Mrs Sensible’ -:)! It is always so nice to witness genuine affection and interdependency! Those who found it are truly very fortunate! Well Done -:)

      Take Care,
      Daniela

      Like

    1. Indeed, as Donne wrote so long ago … ‘Therefore, send not to know from whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.’
      Many thanks for reading and commenting-:)
      Daniela

      Like

  13. I’ve been living alone for the last 13 years, mostly happily, but sometimes I wish there was someone to come home to. My parents live on the opposite side of the road which can be both a blessing and a curse at times. Unfortunately in most of the communities in South Africa, your still seen as a spinster that couldn’t get a husband if you decide to live alone.

    Like

    1. Hi -;)!

      Thank you very much for reading and commenting. I am glad you spoke about attitude towards women who have chosen to live alone in your country. It was not much different in my country of origin when I was young, although I understand things are quite different now. Here in New Zealand mostly liberal and accepting attitudes prevail. In my view each person ought to be free to make his or hers own choice, and respected for that choice.

      Many thanks,
      All the Best,
      Daniela

      Like

  14. Couple of points:
    1. “Most women living alone in Western societies today are celebrated as free spirits” This is true, however for a Man it is different. My experience is that most people view men living alone as loosers incapable of gaining a mate, or worse that they are some sort of weirdo that needs help or “fixing”. The number of times I have had people, especially woman, trying to “fix” me is amazing and no longer tolerable – I now simply shut such people out.
    2. Loneliness is a feeling that drives emotions, living alone is a state of being. The two are not related in my view. For those who do link the two, life will indeed be lonely.
    3. A little tip: For many who live alone, the “loneliest times are arriving home after work and a meal times, this is not unusual when you consider the social interaction instinct of animals like humans;
    When the hunter returns from a hunt, successful or not, they need the support and sometimes gratitude of the tribe. When eating, a vulnerable time, the instinct is to have someone on watch to ensure they are not attacked or their food stolen.
    So the next time you come home from work say, “Hi home” and touch a wall, even talk to it, ask how its day has been. (You’re in trouble if it answers back though)
    When having a meal make sure you have something visual to stimulate you while eating.
    Good lord perhaps they’re right, perhaps I am a Weirdo! LOL

    Like

    1. Hi there,

      Thank you for those very valid points.

      I can see how it can be quite a different experience for a man, and I applaud your resolve to stay true to yourself despite attempts of self-appointed ‘fixers’ even if well-meaning! I think different people who have chosen to live alone have different experience in regards when they might feel lonely or simply wish to share experiences of their day with someone!

      Thank you very much for reading and commenting -:)!
      Best Wishes
      Daniela

      Like

  15. Yes, Daniela, I’m a lone ranger and while I do enjoy living alone, I cannot say that I can afford it. Chronic disease tends to add many challenges to ones life. Sometimes I think it would be nice to live with someone and who knows maybe one day it will be. Thanks for sharing this interesting topic!

    Like

    1. My dear Marianne,

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

      I do understand, having a chronic condition of my own … life brings us many challenges. It is how we know to have lived. Still sharing it with someone is what makes it all more bearable. I wish it will happen for you.

      Take Care,
      Daniela

      Like

  16. Hi Daniela. I have been living alone for six months now. Do I like it? Yes and no. Yes, because I can do what I wish when I wish. No, because I like female company, someone on the same wavelength and interests….A Croatian perhaps. Do you know of one?😉 Ralph x

    Like

    1. Hi Ralph,

      Nice to have you visiting the Lantern -:)! Thank you!

      I hear you my friend … and I do understand, it is nice to have a company of somebody with the same, or similar interests! As it happens I do know one Croatian, but would not recommend her … for one she is across the seas, and this is even before to mention that she is forever with her nose in the books … no use to a respectable gentleman at all -:)!

      Take Care,
      Daniela

      Like

      1. What a great shame, my dear friend Daniela, to know of such a Lady yet is so inaccessible due to her nasal problems. So as a respectable gentleman I must leave NZ and return on the first packet to Spain. Adios Dona Daniela😀

        Like

  17. I’m an introvert. I’ve always been a loner and I live with my husband, but as his position requires travel I’m alone a lot and I love it. I’ve done a lot of reading on introversion and this year I read Susan Cain’s book Quiet. It’s a powerful book that I recommend very highly. Introverts aren’t just less sociable than extroverts; they also engage with the world in fundamentally different ways.

    I found the stats you researched to be very interesting that I did some looking at Canadian stats. The largest group of Canadians living alone are seniors (mostly widows), followed by people aged 25 to 44. Over the last 50 years, living alone has become much more common: the proportion of Canadians aged 15 and
    over who lived alone nearly quintupled from 2.6% in 1951 to 12.3% in 2001. The most recent census data also shows that more Canadians are living alone – 5.6 million people aged 15 years and older did not live in census family. Thirteen per cent of this population lived alone, up slightly from 2006. More Canadians are simply living alone and most are happy with that arrangement.

    Our society undervalues solitude and alone time and overvalues attachment. We have a strong extroversion bias the underlies the prevalent societal belief that we are all happier when we live with others. That bias is not surprising as extroverts make up 60% to 75% of the population, and introverts make up the remainder. Those numbers explain society’s alleged preference for extroverted behavior and prejudice against those who choose independent living.

    Like

    1. Hi my dear,

      Thank you so much for your informative comment. I readily agree with the notion that introverts engage with the world in fundamentally different ways. And because introverts make rather small percentage of society, and are thus perceived as a somewhat of a rarity, they often encounter prejudice. However, I do believe that amongst those that choose to live alone, (emphasis on choice as opposed to circumstantial), there will be introverts, as well as extroverts.

      Many thanks for reading and commenting,
      Kind Regards,
      Daniela

      Like

  18. Sixty percent in Stockholm? Wow! Given a choice, I’d DEFINITELY prefer to live on my own. I think I’d be much happier actually.

    Like

    1. Hi -:)!

      Yes, I was surprised by that number too! Swedish seem to love their independence and they can clearly afford to live alone. At some point in my life I have lived alone and with other people … while both have their pros and cons, living alone and socializing with people in my own time remains my choice.

      Many thanks for reading and commenting,
      Daniela

      Like

  19. I have always felt that loneliness and aloneness are two sides of the same mirror. One reflects the soul, the other its shadow. I take it as a blessing to cherish the “silent aloneness” reflecting my soul!
    Very lovely read, Daniela!

    Like

  20. Another excellent post, Daniela.
    One of the things I’ve noticed is the trend toward groups going together and buying large houses. They remodel them into studio and 1-bedroom apartments and put a laundry room near a community room or library/reading area. They don’t have to be related or even really know each other; the occupants want solitary, complete living quarters but sometimes also the availability of others, too.

    Like

    1. Hi Marylin,

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I really love your comment as it highlighted one very recent trend. Even here in NZ I am starting to notice this, although only on a very small scale at the moment. I think it makes a lot of sense both economically and in terms of community.

      Many thanks for passing under the Lantern!
      Daniela

      Like

  21. I’d give my left lung for 1 hour alone – or even one visit to the loo by myself. I crave silence, but currently that is a commodity I cannot purchase through bribary or bucks. It’s what I ask for in place of gifts at holidays and birthdays.
    I rave a feeling I will be quite content as a woman on my own … one day.

    Like

    1. I have been ‘a woman on my own’ for a long, long time if being a single is what the term refers to. However, all those years I have been living with my daughter who is now 18. During those years, especially when tired, I thought much the same … how nice it would be to have silence! As my daughter has recently moved to a different city, I have plenty of silence. It has its rewards, like ability to do whatever and whenever … but like all things in life it has to be balanced with those times one shares with others. Only then it becomes truly valuable.

      Many thanks for reading and commenting.
      Daniela

      Like

    1. That is indeed true – humans are social creaters and being alone is a challenge indeed … still some people found challenge of being alone less than a challenge of being with others. Thank you very much Gorane for visiting the Lantern and for commenting -:)!

      Like

Has it sparked something in you?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s