The Secret Lives of Single People

Family watching television, c. 1958
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                                                  The Secret Lives of Single People

We can’t imagine how we would feel if others saw us alone at home. They might catch us lying on the couch in the middle of the day reading a junky magazine or eating popcorn for lunch. We might be seen staying home all day without speaking face to face with one single person. We sometimes can be found on the floor with our dog on our tummy just staring deeply into their eyes. Sure some of us work but some of us don’t and if that is the case life can sometimes be a bit perplexing to the subconscious. One hears voices at funny moments and these voices berate us for not getting out there and doing something with our lives. Reading is not an acceptable option. Nor is watching TV unless, that is, it is the middle of the night and you can’t sleep. There are different codes of conduct for all of us single, live at home people, some more strict than others. It is not easy to be past retirement age and living alone. The voices inside our heads are more demanding than those in the real world.

I found myself spending a lot of time at home when I became a full time writer and some days are easier than others. I hate a schedule which is part of the problem. The only thing I seem to be able to schedule is exercise which I do every morning. After that, it’s a crap shoot as to what I do with my day. This is how I like it so I can’t complain.

I have a few nonprofit things I am working on, a writer’s retreat I am organizing, a new house I am restoring, and some good friends, but I still feel I don’t have enough work to do. This feeling started as a child. I liked cleaning up all my toys. I liked this so much I never took them out as then I would have to clean them up again. Once I was in serious school I learned very quickly that it was not a good thing to complete your class assignments in a timely manner or the teacher would see you sitting there twiddling your thumbs and give you more work. I do things quickly no matter how many times I tell myself to take my time, when I have a task to complete I stick with it until it is completed. I am like a dog with a bone. Most people would enjoy their work and spend hours doing what I do in one hour. I hate this about myself. I don’t know what all this speed is doing for me.

Anyway the other day I was talking with a friend about this feeling of worthlessness as I wasn’t going to work anymore and she said she knew exactly what I meant! She told me that she writes down in her calendar exactly what she has done all day even if it is mundane just so she can show herself what she accomplished that week. She has the demon voices as well. It was at that moment I began to realize there were other people who were driven by this unknown taskmaster who tells us we are lazy and useless. So interesting.

I keep buying books. They are my biggest extravagance. There are so many things I want to know about. I like the feeling of all these books surrounding me in piles all over my house. I really want to stay home and just spend all day reading but I can’t because of the voices. At least that’s what I tell myself. I really want to read the classics again and have read two of Fitzgerald’s books in the past month. I am on a tear of watching Hitchcock films as well. Sometimes I feel I want to fill my mind with all these things and then maybe it will be enough. I know it never will be enough, though, as I am always more curious about something else. I exhaust myself sometimes.

Anyway, in the long run, this is the reason single people get more worn out than people who are partnered. If you have a partner you know at the end of the day someone will be coming home to be with you. If you have that simple bit of information in your mind you also have a stopping point to your activities. You have a time to relax. For some reason this is easier to do if there is someone else in the house.

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2 responses to “The Secret Lives of Single People”

  1. Don Avatar

    Have you ever read Fifth Business by Robertson Davies???? A great read – part of the Salterton Trilogy, but I loved Fifth Business the best.

  2. Mary Heafey Avatar
    Mary Heafey

    I agree with you on all counts…Keep writing you blogs. They make me think and I love your writting.

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