November 29, 2010

I thought in the past couple years, I had overcome my discomfort for being alone. Unfortunately, I was wrong. It’s somewhat upsetting to me. Being 24, I think this is something that I should have a handle on. I mean, I’ve mastered opening jars, doing minor household troubleshooting, and killing large bugs (though they still make me nervous).

Hotel rooms are still the worst. When I’m home in Madison, I’ve got my office-mate at work for 8 hours and two house-mates at home. The fact of the matter is, I’m never really alone except in hotels. And the comforting factor in having to travel for my job is that I stay in the same hotels. So that makes it a little bit better. I used to have to leave the TV on, just to have some background noise; I’ve gotten over that though. But a while back, I missed a connection and spent the night in Detroit. The room reminded me of the motel in The Devil’s Rejects, which kinda freaked me out. Then my whole theory of being ok with being alone went out the window. Though perhaps the lesson should be not to watch horror movies ever.

Weirdly, in the grand scheme of things, I tend to be more introverted than extroverted. I don’t necessarily want to be interacting with other people all the time. But having people around makes me more comfortable. It’s easier for me to take a nap on my couch in the living room than in my own room (in fact I am awesome at sleeping while other people are around). It feels nicer to catch up on emails when my housemates are cooking dinner or also working on their computers. And coffee shops are the best because there’s always people there doing their own thing.

I’m about 99% sure this is due to growing up in a big family. Someone’s always home, nearby – usually within earshot. I just never spent any time really alone. Then college wasn’t different. I always had a housemate and a boyfriend. And after college hasn’t been different – two housemates and a long distance boyfriend. So part of me feels like I’m missing out on some weird rite of passage into independence and growing up. And then the non-paranoid part of me thinks that’s ridiculous because what else am I suppose to do other than move into a place of my own and become single – both of which I think would be awful and therefore, not really at the top of my to-do list (whether or not I would turn out independent).



  1. I find it kind of odd that your title is independence, but your post is about being alone. In my mind they’re two very different things that don’t necessarily imply each other.

    Personally, I’ve yet to find an advantage to living alone over having a good roommate. I suppose if you really have a need to walk around naked in the house….

    • You’re not supposed to walk around naked in the house if you have roommates?

      • If you live with Nolan, you’re not even allowed to walk around your room in boxers if your room door open!

    • Agreed, it’s not the same thing. But I feel that my discomfort at being alone (which I think is more than most people) is somewhat indicative of me not being independent.

  2. I’m the same way. Sure, I can get by on my own, but I hate it. I’d much rather have a roommate and I’m ok with that. It’s probably because of my similarly large family, but I just don’t like to live alone. Nothing wrong with that.

  3. “move into a place of my own and become single” — a move that almost every international student makes when s/he comes to US — this will definitely not make one independent if the person isn’t already. It might, however, turn a quite cheerful person into a grumpy/cold-hearted/uncaring one.

  4. Ha, I’m the exact opposite – way more comfortable without people around. Not that I dislike having people around, just not all the time, and not people I don’t know well already. But I’m an only child, so the family size issue looks like it plays a big part here.
    However, I don’t think that you can determine that being one of these ways is either good or bad, it’s just a comfort thing. As long as you don’t let your discomfort prevent you from leading a fulfilling life, I don’t think you’re really missing out. I still leave my house and interact with people even when I don’t want to, and you don’t pick up randoms off the street to hang with you in your hotel to avoid being alone. So we’re both fine.

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