I live alone. This is in sharp contrast to a much larger part of my life. I grew up living with my two parents and two brothers. Two aunts played such key parts in my life, and influenced me so much, that they were virtually two additional parents. My parents had many friends and they entertained often. The result was that our house was constantly full of visitors and guests.

I stayed in my parents’ home until I completed my studies. Then I immediately found a job in another town, and, for reasons of economy, shared a house with two noisy colleagues. They were a perennial source of both amusement and irritation, and, for the first time, I consciously entertained the dream of living alone.

I briefly realized it when I switched to another job in another town and found a pleasant apartment of my own. But I soon met an alluring person and thought a single life wasn’t all that it was made out to be. We married. Soon enough I found married life wasn’t all that it was made out to be. The marriage ended.

What followed was a period of confusion and connection. I threw myself into a lot of activities; my life became a whirl of friendships and relations. It was the least lonely of times, it was the most active, exciting, buoyant, variable and troublesome of times.

It ended with a bang, when I met someone and married and moved to another country, the United States. For her work as well as mine, we moved from country to country for twenty plus years, and saw two children grow to adulthood and leave nest. Our work entailed long periods of separation, and eventually the relationship tapered with an involuntary whimper.

Now I live alone, eat alone, spend most of my time alone. I have felt the keen edge of being alone and wondered whether one can happily live alone in Walden or Washington. But I have also found the peace and wonder of flying solo, listening to the seductive music of silence, walking exactly as much or as little as my inclination guided me, and delighting in the sense of sheer freedom from the compulsions of adjustment. My mornings are mine, so are my evenings and nights and all the aches, pleasures and surprises they can bring.


The writer is a Washington-based international development advisor and had worked with the World Bank. He can be reached at [email protected]