All Articles Tagged "living alone"
Are single people selfish in nature?
More particularly do single people, who live alone, detract away from the greater good of society? According to Benjamin Schwartz, writer for The August issue of the American Interest, they do. In his column called Selfishness as a Virtue, Schwartz says that the more than 31 million Americans, who are single and live alone, are squandering the tradition of moral reasoning this country was built upon just for selfish pursuits of individualism.
Taking particular shots at Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone by Eric Klinenberg, a book that champions the virtues of singlehood, Schwartz writes, “Individuals don’t transfer values from one generation to the next. Individuals are biologically incapable of producing a next generation except in the crudest possible sense of the term. Socialization—the process through which a person internalizes what is good and bad, meaningful and meaningless—is shaped by one’s relatives, the friends and associates who surround a person, and typically a canon of texts that is revered and consulted for guidance. The values of expressive individualism guarantee that the values of future generations will be more or less up for grabs for the simple reason that expressive individualists have a difficult time replicating (the demographic data don’t lie) and an even more difficult time socializing a child. ”
I haven’t read the book Going Solo however I am very familiar with the stigma attached to those who choose to create a habitat of one, especially if you are a woman of a certain age. Single people are supposed to be selfish and lonely and miserable. Your life is a tale of tragedy usually reserved as an example of what not to become. At best you are immature, caught up in a perpetual arrested development, which won’t allow you to face real adulthood. And at the most, you are eccentric weirdo, who is only 12 felines away from being the cat-lady. And now thanks to Schwartz, we can add immoral, valueless sycophants to the list. No way can individuals, living individually, work towards the greater good of society. We are all too caught up in our demands for privacy and single serving packages of meat (seriously, can they get around to making that) to actually want to share any redeeming values, worth sharing with the next generation.
Can single people be self-interested at times? Sure. I used to think that the older I got, the more set in my ways I had become. Now I’m starting to think that it is living alone has more to do with my desire to maintain my blissful habitats and the comfort I created in my own life’s routine. I have a two to three hour window of tolerance for company of others because being around people requires a lot of energy and patience. It’s nothing that they are doing wrong – per say. But let’s face it: Isn’t everyone annoying to a certain extent? Including me.
But does my appreciation of “space” and “privacy” mean that I value selfishness? I think not. I don’t just give to charity, I actually volunteer time in the community, helping neighbors and pitching in wherever I can. I am a mentor to a high school, college bound senior and I am also involved in the lives of my little nephews and niece. I not only spend time with my family; but I am more likely to offer support, financial and physical, to my extended family than my brother, who is married with children (no disrespect to him). In fact, my single status has afforded me more time for sharing and caring, as opposed to doing it out of obligation, which tends to be the case for those who are married or with children.
And this is not just my experience. A recent national survey suggest that single people are more likely to visit, support, contact, and advise their siblings and parents than married or even previously married people. And according to an article in Science 2.0, research in Portugal and Belgium, has concluded that better societies are best formed when individuals are free to act as they wish, as individuals, as opposed to acting in more restrictive social and political dogmas.
I have met many single folks who have packed up their lives on a whim to go off to some far away land for volunteer work through some overseas aid organization. More domestically, we can’t forget about the single folks, who work extra hours at the company while the married folks are off on maternity leave, tending to doctor visits and parent/teacher conferences and jetting off for family emergencies. Without the selfless sacrifices of single people, much of the vital work needed to maintain the ‘greater good’ wouldn’t get done.
Yes it is true that human beings are naturally pack-like creatures. Married people tend to suffer less mental illness and are in better physical health. However, for a growing number of folks, marrying and having kids is not their definition of the good life. And being forced to co-habitat and procreate can have a bigger impact on your health than just remaining a household of one.
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Most single people relish not having to share their home space with anyone else, but a new seven-year study found people who live alone are about 80 percent more likely to be depressed than people who don’t.
Among the nearly 3,500 men and women between the ages of 30 and 65 who were studied by the Institute of Behavioral Sciences at the University of Helsinki, those who lived alone were more likely to be depressed and on medication. Looking at database information, one quarter of those who lived solo filled a prescription for antidepressants, compared to just 16 percent of those who didn’t.
Obviously, no cause and effect relationship could be established since the people studied could have just as easily decided to live alone because they are depressed as opposed to becoming depressed because they live alone. Plus plenty of men and women who live alone have active social lives and aren’t affected by coming home to an empty house. If there’s a sudden change in someone’s behavior that causes them to want to live or be alone all the time, then there may be cause for concern.
“Being depressed certainly can cause you to not only feel, but [also] become, more isolated,” said John Newcomer, MD, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, who commented on the study to MSN Living. “You feel hopeless that you’re ever going to be able to have relationships, but even at another level, you…just don’t feel like getting up and going out. You’re undermotivated to do the various steps that are necessary to achieve social engagement.”
If you’re not feeling any of those things, chances are you’re just fine living single.
Do you think it’s good to live alone?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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From Your Tango.com
Feeling lonely? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one, and whether you’re in a romantic relationship or not, there are ways to get out of your funk and around more people.
In this video, Psychotherapist, Author and YourTango Expert Julie Orlov helps a reader who’s been single for a while after a tough breakup. While happy, she’s also incredibly lonely and feels hopeless about meeting someone who can fill that void in her life. She wants to replace those thoughts with something positive.
See what this expert had to say to help at Your Tango.com.
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According to the New York Times trend piece, living alone can make you crazy. Seriously, that’s what it says. And here I was thinking that living with a house full of kids and a thankless husband would be a nightmare…
Steven Kurutz, the writer of the Times piece, says that 1 in every 4 American households is occupied by someone living alone. While the benefits are plentiful including the freedom to come and go as you please and the space and solitude to recharge one’s batteries, Kurutz says that the single-occupant home lacks the certain social checks and balances required to keep folks on the straight and narrow. As such, living alone can also be a breeding ground for “Secret Single Behavior. ”
What classifies as Secret Single Behaviors? Well Kurutz uses examples in the form of two people who live alone, who have eccentricities such as running in place during TV commercials; speaking conversational French to themselves while making breakfast; singing Journey songs in the shower; sustaining oneself largely on cereal, nuts and seeds; turning your dryer into a makeshift dresser (because you are too lazy to take the clothes out of the dryer and put them in its proper place), and never closing the bathroom door when…er… handling your business. All this kind of makes you crazy.
Wait, why would you need to close the bathroom door if you live alone? Perhaps Kurutz has never thought about the serial killer, who is waiting to break into your home and plans to sneak up on you while you take care of business on the toilet. He can’t sneak up on you if you see him coming. Or at least that is what I got from watching lots of horror films. All alone. By myself. Hmm, maybe he has a point.
I mean I do talk to both my cat and dog, although it is only my dog Coltrane who pays attention to what I’m saying. And yeah, at times while watching television, I do talk to myself but that is only because I tell funny jokes and it would be rude not to laugh. And okay, I admit it; Lucky Charms taste just as good for dinner as much as they do for breakfast. But is that really eccentric? I mean, I am sort of socially inept out in public, so perhaps my chosen home-based solitary confinement is the source for my own social awkwardness? Nawh, I don’t think so.
For me, living alone is an escape from the outside world. There is a lot of psychiatric illness out there, particularly if you live in the city. Places with denser populations also mean that folks are constantly subjected to bright lights and loud noises, poor environmental climates, crime, high taxes, low wages, long work schedules, proper protocols and greater socioeconomic divide. As such, it is easy to develop or become at-risk for anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and schizophrenia. In fact, in a study of more than 7,000 people in the Netherlands, investigators found that both full-blown psychotic disorders and milder psychosis-like symptoms were more common among those living in urbanized areas. So perhaps having your own personal space, which requires you to spend at least a few hours a day away from other people, might be the therapy that some folks need to not only decompress but also to act out all of those “eccentricities” without fear of looking odd or crazy out in public.
And there are definitely fun perks to living alone. Like being able to walk right into the house, unhinge the bra and throw it on the couch without worrying that someone is going to chastise you for not putting your clothing in the hamper. Like lounging around on my couch, channel flipping and doing absolutely nothing productive without someone saying, “is that what you did all day?” Yes, it is and l liked it a lot. Like cooking unbalanced meals such as corn on the cob, skittles and pita bread and eating it all with my fingers. Like not having to rush to do the dishes or vacuum or even make my bed. Like walking around the house in mixed matched sweats, holey socks and drawers or naked if I want. The possibilities of all the crazy stuff you can do at home, by yourself, are both endless and awesome.
Of course, you can have too much of a good thing. And while I do cherish my moments of solitude, I’m also aware that long periods of time alone can make me feel like I’m becoming lazy and going crazy- especially if Coltrane, my dog, refuses to talk to me. I do have to remind myself to clean, to get off the couch and be productive and social with real people outside of my abode and to eat something nutritious. But that’s when individual accountability and responsibility come into play. If a grown up has to live with someone just to keep him/her in check socially, well then you are not doing it (adulthood) right.
Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.
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The next time your mother or girlfriend asks you how long you plan on staying single, tell them to be grateful for your singleness. CNN Money reports that the nationwide growing number of singles is powering the economy.
These days being single is in. Women and men alike have stopped bemoaning their inability to find “the one,” and have embraced a new culture filled with single-centric fun. Only 51 percent of adults today are married, and 28 percent of all households consist of only one person. It’s a new record in US history, but businesses are thankful for it. Singles spend more than their married friends, earning a higher income with fewer responsibilities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that singles contribute about $1.9 trillion to the economy each year.
There are about 18 million independent single women in the US today, compared to 14 million men. Women from ages 18 to 34 comprise 5 million of that number, but they are the fastest growing section of independent singles. ”I absolutely love having my own apartment,” Marsha Figaro told CNN Money. Despite her traditional Afro-Caribbean background, the 33-year-old has been living on her own since her twenties. “I can do what I want, when I want to do it, whether it’s eating, watching Hulu, going out, or just going to sleep. I definitely want to move in with someone when I find the right person. But it would be hard to give up all of this.”
Businesses are picking up on the strength of singles’ buying power. Ads are popping up featuring single women renovating bathrooms, driving around with girlfriends, and buying their own jewelry. The real estate industry is specifically catering to America’s increasing single phenomena and designing apartment complexes with more studio and one bedroom options as well as lush amenities such as party rooms, spa and billiards lounges that single’s tend to enjoy.
But singles aren’t just renting apartments; they’re also buying houses on their own. Women make up 21 percent of all buyers. ”Our salespeople are aware of this demographic and actually actively go after it. I go on the road all the time and tell all of our associates not to forget about single buyers because they’re everywhere,” Jim Gillespie, chief executive of the massive realty company Coldwell Banker said to CNN Money.
As single life steadily becomes the norm, the days when people thought singles were unhappy and lonely are becoming ancient history. Singles are having all the fun and enjoying fuller, more social and well-rounded lives. As Figaro recalls when she first took on independent single life, “it was totally liberating.”