A Room of One’s Own

February 12, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Posted in home, living alone, singledom | 3 Comments
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According to the New York Times, 34% of British households have only 1 occupant. I am looking forward to becoming part of that percentage very, very soon.

It’s not as if I don’t like people. In fact, two of my favourite things to do are talking and people watching, and they are hardly solitary activities. But those who know me well will also know that I am intolerant, impatient and argumentative: hardly ideal qualities for cohabiting. Indeed, lovely as they are, and grateful as I am for all the support they’ve given me, I do struggle to live with my parents.

Some people really do not, or would not, like to live alone. Why? I suppose they aren’t comfortable enough in their own company. Whereas I, a quasi only child with a brother of almost 40, a sister of 40 and another of 44, and the only child of my parents’ marriage, really relish my time alone. I spent so many hours as a child playing by myself with my dolls, or on my bike, or writing stories, that it’s never been a problem. It’s actually rather always been a pleasure. Yes, I enjoyed going to friends’ houses and meeting their siblings. It was like watching The Waltons: rather twee, and strange to imagine myself a part of it, but nice to experience for a short while.

It’s a form of selfishness, but I can’t wait to live alone and have things exactly the way I want them. It will be bliss.

One is the loneliest number

June 8, 2010 at 8:05 pm | Posted in debate, family, motherhood, Uncategorized, women | 2 Comments
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Does this baby look lonely to you? Does he????

It’s a strange fact of parenthood that you exchange all ownership of your life for this strange beast called a baby (it doesn’t make sense initially that even your pregnancy will result in a baby, let alone the idea that that baby will be a child, and that child will be an adult…………..).  Bizarre that somehing so biologically related to you can seem like a hostile takeover of your single life at times of nostalgia.  But more on that topic later.

What I mean is, as soon as you are pregnant, everything you do will be judged in relation to how it affects your baby.  I kid you not, the foul look bestowed on me by one person when I dared to ask for a glass of wine haunts me still.  Others warned me not to stress myself out, because it might ‘affect the baby’.  Frankly, that had the same effect as ‘calm down’ usually does on me: to abbreviate for the sense of decency, FOAD was my mental response.  A lot of people have this hippy idea that every pregnant woman should mellow and ‘glow’ in preparation for her new earth mother persona.  Because becoming a mother means surrendering all traces of your former personality, right?  Hmmm………..

The latest I’ve experienced is the ‘When how are you having another?’ question.  Jeez, because being pregnant was such a blast that I want to do it again six months after giving birth?  Erm, no.  It seems that society expects you to fill this 2.4 child ideal, either out of some crazed old-fashioned Tory attempt to keep Britain traditional, or because the person in question has fulfilled their family quota and now expects you to go through the same ‘joy’. 

Let me explain the root of my ranting: as a quasi only child, my half brother and half sisters being eleven, twelve and sixteen years older than me, I spent quite a lot of time alone as a child.  Obviously I had friends, but I treasured the time I spent alone for the independence it taught me and opportunity to develop my imagination.  Not to mention the chance to cycle around the garages for ages with my parrot on the handlebars.  In no way did I ever feel I’d missed out; let’s face it, unless you live in the Gobi desert, you are going to go to school/brownies/ultimate frisbee and meet your peers.

So please: don’t think me selfish, or call me so, as some idiot man did last week.   I think it would be more selfish to have another child to satisfy other people’s opinions.

Rant over.  You can take out your earplugs now.

P.S. The title is an Aimee Mann song and yes, I’m being ironic.

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