Contributor: Devyani Chauhan
In the so-called male dominated society, there exists a whole lot of women who live on their own. A wife waiting for a husband who is posted at the border, or the wife of a sailor who lives at sea for months together. She may be a divorcee or perhaps widowed; the question is, how hard is it to be alone, to raise children single-handedly or for that matter to take care of the mundane activities of day to day living?
Fighting loneliness is one thing, and enjoying it is another. Yes, it is possible to enjoy loneliness. In the midst of mood- swings, daunting in-laws, the non-stop jabber of your child or the endless arguments with your adolescent, your existence remains constant and important. Living life the solo way may be a personal choice or just the way God has supposed it for you. Making the most of it although, is in nobody’s hands but yours. So here’s to ‘being single’. For if there is no other way, single is the way!
While it may seem a herculean task to live a solitary life, once you accept it, it will prove to be otherwise. So, acceptance is the first key. A number of other factors will play a vital role in your solo way of life to make it either positive or negative.
As Anna Neagle, a renowned English stage and film actress said, “But the delights of solitude don’t only consist of dreaming. Next in enjoyment, I think, comes planning”. While most of us plan to keep a routine, only a few actually adhere to it. Leading a planned life may be difficult and may seem a little impossible, but following a certain set, a routine will definitely help immensely.
Loneliness is again something that may catch you off-guard at odd times leaving you to experience conflicting emotions. It’s practically impossible for any person to be perpetually happy. Every person goes through dark phases in their day to day living. But for a person living alone, it may be a bit more difficult. To turn negative energy into a positive one, a conscious effort must be taken. They say “the grass is always greener on the other side”- but, for starters, why not look at the brighter side of your solo existence? For all you know, there are many women out there who crave for privacy and space all their lives and remain miserable when they don’t get it. So, here’s your chance to live your life the way you want, doing the things you want and that too without interference!
Comparing your life with someone who is not in your shoes is probably the worse thing you can do. Rather, just concentrate on what you have and on how you can make your life next to perfect. Start doing things you like and that may include anything and everything under the sun. Be it pursuing a long forgotten hobby, or socialising. It can be exercising or simply enjoying your day at leisure. Do anything that will make you happy and lend you peace of mind. You may just surprise yourself with something you never thought you would or could do.A messy surrounding is sure to bring your spirits down. So try to keep your home neat and clean at all times. Being a recluse will again not help. It’s important to be in regular touch with friends and family and talk to them.
A messy surrounding is sure to bring your spirits down. So try to keep your home neat and clean at all times. Being a recluse will again not help. It’s important to be in regular touch with friends and family and talk to them.
Sometimes, social work proves to be a great morale booster. Helping others accomplish something can be very self-satisfying. You could work for an organisation to lend support or may just be a teacher to your maid. It’s one sure shot way to win gratitude and respect.
Try the ‘Go Green’ therapy. A number or ladies find solace in gardening. It’s like as if they can relate to the little buds and flowers as one of their own.
Unwinding after a day’s work is indispensable. Reading a book or listening to some soulful music is a great way to de-stress.
Taking care of children can be very taxing while you are alone. A fixed routine for them will give you sufficient time for yourself to take care of the household chores and other things. Although a little flexibility will do no harm, children often adapt to a pattern easily, which in turn will prove beneficial to you.
A healthy body will lead to a healthy state of mind. Give yourself enough time to exercise. It will just keep you motivated to keep a happy frame of mind always. Facing day to day challenges will help your inner self to toughen up and that is just what you need. Living independently involves being emotionally independent as well. Don’t just live a solitary life pitying yourself, for if you do that to yourself, you give a chance to people to pity you too. The idea is to remain happy in every situation. No two days are the same. If you feel low and despondent today, you will feel over the top and elated tomorrow. You have the freedom of choice, time, space and moreover your own life. Ask yourself, could it get better? So why not learn to rather enjoy your solitude and know your inner self better? Explore a new territory, open your wings and fly to a brand new horizon!
Safety First, is the next important mantra to follow. Staying safe is of utmost importance while living on your own. Developing a keen observation of your surroundings and its minuscule details can help prevent trouble. Following some basic guidelines given below will help keep problems at bay.
You may be living in an apartment of a bungalow, you need to be familiar with the entire vicinity. Beware of deserted streets, be it during the day or the night. Always take a route that remains crowded.
- While the saying “Good fences make good neighbours” holds true, it will still be nice and helpful if you get an idea of who your neighbours are. You never know who will be of help during times of distress. Keep a friend of two close for those times of need.
- Get into the habit of bolting your doors at all times. Fit good quality locks and keep a track of the number of copies of the keys and choose a trustworthy person to hand over a spare key. Avoid hiding house keys at identifiable places.
- How many entry points do you have to your house? Keep them in mind and double check while moving in or out of your home. Make use of keyholes to make sure who’s at your door. No harm in keeping unrecognisable people outside until you ascertain their identity.
- Keeping a pet, preferably a dog will not only serve you as a great companion, but they are loyal creatures who are sure to protect you from harmful trespassers.
- Avoid being alone at parking lots. You could ask the guard on duty to walk you through the building or the car, wherever you wish to proceed.
While these few tips will definitely be of help to you, it’s important that you stay alert and vigilant at all times. A laid back attitude is a cause of concern and has often proved to invite trouble. The perils of living alone are endless and may make you more vulnerable and susceptible to delicate situations. A strong and positive attitude can make a whole lot of difference. Staying cool, calm and confident can help fend off perpetrators to a great extent.
Says Paramita Basu, wife of a merchant navy officer whose husband stays at sea for months on end, “Loneliness is the biggest problem, but inspite of that the independence and the insight that one gains while living alone is priceless, and kind of equips you for your whole life. Every woman at some point in her life must have the experience of living alone before settling down as it just helps you make better choices in life and take decisions on your own. Travelling alone all over India will always remain a cherished experience and accomplishment”.
Sangeeta, another shippy wife says “Living alone has helped me bring out strengths in a far greater way than would be possible if I was staying together with husband or in-laws all the while. Facing challenges without being dependent on the family at all times is important to shape up your own personality”. She considers herself among the lucky few who gets the golden chance of solo living.
While travelling on a regular basis has become a way of life for Preeti’s husband, she takes solace in raising her two children and looking after them single-handedly most of the time. “My early day’s living alone were filled with depression and loneliness. But as time went by and I got used to the idea of living alone I started to enjoy it. To see my children healthy, happy and smiling became my goal. I had to keep a positive frame of mind for no one else, but for the sake of my children, ” she says.
In the midst of difficult and uncooperative in-law, Seema recollects the hard time she faced during her son’s illness while her husband was away on business for a few months. Lonely and sad, she tended to her son day and night until he recovered completely. The experience made her much calmer and stronger than she ever was, and more determined than ever to keep the zeal in life alive no matter what hurdles one faces.
Contributor: Devyani Chauhan
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