i lived alone from 2008-2010. for 18 glorious months i was the (only) head of my household. it was a chapter i didn't plan for, with a roommate quite literally moving in the middle of the night. i was scared. still somewhat new to chicago, i wasn't seriously dating anyone, i had a very very small group of friends, and all of a sudden i found myself 23 years old and living by my lonesome for the first time in my life.
i had about an hour long commute on a bus and a train to work, i would walk/run (in fear) the half mile from the el to my desk, a desk that was located in an office, in a homeless shelter, in a not so great neighborhood on the west side of chicago. have you ever been to a homeless shelter? you probably have. and you were probably so grateful to leave after you were done volunteering. i don't blame you. it's depressing. and emotionally draining. and downright scary at times. my job was very much all of those things. but i loved it. and i loved going home. because it meant that for the rest of the evening i didn't have to worry about those 63 souls who were down and out on their luck, drug addicts, pregnant and HIV positive, mentally ill....whatever horrible thing you can imagine happening to you or someone you love, had happened to them. and i was forced to be grateful for the job that i had, the little apartment that i could afford and humbled by the fact that i was so fortunate to have the life that i did.
i was still worried i would be lonely. i was worried i would get bored. but in those 18 months i was anything but lonely and bored. i learned about myself just by puttering around, making my own food, drinking wine by myself (that hasn't changed), watching documentaries and listening to books while i cleaned. it was peaceful. in my teeny apartment, in the middle of my adopted city, i learned that my own company was enough. i fulfilled me. and what a wonderful lesson to learn at the age of 23.