What I’ve learned from living by myself during the pandemic and lockdown SO FAR:
1. Stock the fridge
It’s a funny thing going from being in a relationship and living together for a long time to living solo. On one hand, you get freed up from an awful lot of responsibility and on the other, you gain sole responsibility for everything.
I love cooking, but most of my joy used to come from other people eating something I’d cooked. It was the nurturing and caring angle. When I was first on my own, I just didn’t feel ready to care for myself that way. So I chose convenience and got acquainted with my microwave. Years of development (and yes, therapy) later and I no longer own one. I cook for myself daily but I never got back into doing big weekly shops. They are less necessary in a big city when you don’t have a car. You buy what you need as you need it, safe in the knowledge that a nearby shop is open until at least 11pm. Fresh food you can carry home easily will last a couple of days, and you’ll restock. An empty fridge is no big deal.
Well obviously that’s over. I know now that I should always have the fridge stocked, do the diligence around meal planning and make full use of my freezer. I feel so much better with food in the fridge.
2. Enjoy the outside
I’ve never classed myself as particularly outdoorsy. I wouldn’t survive in the wilderness; I need a flushing toilet and hot water. I used to think there was plenty to amuse myself with indoors and outside was an optional extra.
But living through the ‘stay at home’ directive, I appreciate the outside so much more. My little patio feels like utopia on a sunny afternoon. Everyday I notice the roses blooming more and the confetti like petals from the tree blossom. I dream about the feeling of sand beneath my toes. I am thinking about moving to live by the sea. Wherever I live though, I won’t forget to appreciate outside.
3. Make little gestures
When I was growing up I used to write letters to my grandmother who was living in Bristol. I was so excited to receive her replies, usually 4 pages of carefully handwritten sentences about her activities.
A lot has changed since then, but receiving items through the post that aren’t bills remains a joy. Since lockdown I’ve been lucky enough to receive postcards and gifts from family or friends and even chocolates from my work colleagues as I crossed my first anniversary with them. I’ve sent a few little things too. It makes a huge difference to know someone is thinking of you. I will continue to make little gestures as the impact is not so little.