If, like many of us here in London, you live in a shared house, be it with people you know, love, loathe or maybe are complete strangers to, you will know what it is like to share your whole living space with other humans, not always related to you. Ideally you find a place with your friends, but friends do not always want to live close to your office or your university. Assuming that the majority of us cannot afford to live alone in a mansion, the second we turn 18, most of us tend to get housemates. The word alone is enough to fill some of us with fear and dread – it is one of those things, if you know, you know!
Over the years I have had my fair share of housemates. Whether I have liked them or been physically incapable of tolerating them, when they are away the conditions are the same. I think it is fair to say that we all do
weird stuff certain things when we are in the house by ourselves that we would maybe think twice about when other people are around, especially if those people are, well, only your housemates and not relations or actual friends.
On the assumption that I do not hate whoever I am living with, more often than not I will clean when I am by myself. I only like to do this alone because it means there is nothing to get in the way and the music can be on as loudly as I like – plus there is nobody around to tell me that I missed a spot or my cleaning method isn’t ‘right’. Plus, cleaning can be so satisfying as it gives you a real sense of achievement sometimes.
My favourite thing to do when I’m home alone is cook. I know, you might be thinking Ellie, don’t you cook anyway? And of course the answer is yes, but when I am in the house by myself, all the doors come open, the music gets blasted and I really COOK. One of my favourite things in life is a house that smells like home cooking and I know I am not the only person using a wooden spoon as a drumstick on my chopping board, so please pass that pepper mill microphone…
Learn. When it is peaceful, I like to take the time to study. Not in an ‘Oh, I need to memorize this stuff because I have a test next week” sort of studying, but learning and personal development. I am curious about so much in the world and I absorb bits of trivia super fast. I am also always trying to learn more about blogging and the technical side of that, but since my interest in IT is wayyyyyyyyy smaller than in say, pretty much anything else in the world, that one really takes some focusing.
Watching a film or TV series when you are home alone can be great. I don’t actually have a TV so when I watch something at home it is always on my computer anyway, but I’m sensing being able to watch something on a TV screen uninterrupted would be a popular choice with most people.
If I am in the right mood, getting my creative juices flowing is one of my top picks when I am home alone. With writing being my favourite pastime, I revel in the silence that an empty house brings. Unlike many writers, I prefer to work in peace. I can write for hours on end about pretty much anything and not get tired, given the right circumstances. But if the radio is on, music is playing or a muffled TV is humming in the background, I simply cannot ‘zone’ effectively.
Relax. Why not put the alone time to good use? Do something good for your health and I am not talking about going to the gym. SLEEP! I like to catch up on sleep when I can and it is always more needed than you ever care to admit or even know.
Have a catch up! When I was in university I spent a lot of the time on Skype to my friends all over the world. From America and Brazil to Malaysia and Peru, my house did not need to be empty for our catch ups but when the conversations are 4 and 5 hours long, sometimes it is best!
What do you get up to when you are home alone? And writers: can you write with background music or do you prefer silence? Let me know in the comments below.