I’ll be honest, living alone has never been a goal of mine. Out of necessity, I live in my own place, despite having alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (ATTD). After being on my own for a while, I have created a list of pros and cons that I think balance well right now.
I haven’t been on my own a lot, and it’s been more than a few years since the last time I lived alone. I have found a lot of good has come from it. And there are some problematic things, as well.
For instance, there is no one here to take me to the emergency room right away if I need to go. I would have to find someone who is available, wait for them to get to me, and then I would need them to help me get down from the third floor. Of course, there is always the ambulance, but that can be pretty expensive.
Another issue that’s more obvious is that it gets lonely. It can create a sense of “alone-ness” that is something I have to watch. Too much “me” time is not good for a person.
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I grew up in a big family where the noise was constant. I was so accustomed to it when I first moved into my own apartment, I couldn’t stand the quiet. So, I had to be on the phone or have a TV playing all the time. I can handle the quiet better now, but anxiety is not good for a person, especially someone with a lung problem. Learning to be still and quiet is so much harder than it sounds for some people.
It’s also more expensive to live alone. I am pretty sure if I had a 2-bedroom apartment with a roommate instead of a 1-bedroom, I would be paying half as much as I do now. There are bills that pile up quickly if you have lung problems, so that adds to the cost issue.
Also, it was nice having a roommate who cleans. I got spoiled with my last 2 roommates who really kept the kitchen clean and the floor vacuumed. Now, it’s all up to me and it can feel hard to handle when I have little energy. There are some great pros to living alone, though. It’s not all bad. In fact, I have learned to enjoy it.
For one thing, I can listen to whatever music I want, and know it won’t bother anyone (so long as my neighbor isn’t bothered). I can sing at the top of my lungs and no one cares. Again, hopefully, the neighbor can’t hear. It really is great—I can invite someone over for coffee or a movie any time. I can feel good about how the place looks because I made decisions about the décor and cleanliness.
Read more about AATD etiology
I also like that there is no pressure to have certain parts of the house clean every day. Not that the living room is dirty, but I don’t feel like I have to have it all clean and decorated the way another person likes it. I like that I don’t have to make sure I get laundry done before my roommate is going to do theirs. That doesn’t always take coordination but if you planned it too late in the day, sometimes you don’t get that one pair of pants clean in time. Not so when living alone.
Also, I can vacuum whenever I want, respecting quiet hours (in my case), of course. The vacuum is pretty loud and I have decided it counts as part of my exercise routine. It also keeps dust at an all-time low when you vacuum several times a week as I do.
I don’t do well with furry creatures (because of dander issues, I think). I am more of a fish person, so I don’t have much to worry about right now. There are many pros and cons to living alone and I have about an equal amount for both, but they each are going to weigh differently for each person.
Life also has a way of interrupting our goals sometimes. What is it they say about the best-laid plans? Because I have more than one chronic illness, I have begun to enjoy the unpredictable nature of life. I think learning to roll with the punches can really help. Seeing the good in people, and looking at not just possible bad outcomes but possible good outcomes, are lessons I keep having to relearn. They help life become more manageable.