The joy of living alone.

Straight out of college, I moved to a new city to work. I had a lot of college friends living with me and some in different apartments in the same building. I also quickly made new friends in office. So my days used to be filled with a lot of partying around. And when not partying, I used to waste my time binging stuff on the newly bought Netflix subscription. Living in India, we are privileged to afford maids and cooks, hence I did not have to do anything for myself. Buying groceries is a click away. The only time I used to enter a supermarket was to buy junk food to aid with the binge watching. I was good with rents and bills, okayish with my laundry, but could not take care of anything else in my home.

I was just starting to grow up, to improve myself, when covid hit. I learnt to cook a few things, learnt how to buy groceries myself, bit by bit during that time. But then I moved back home to my parent’s place, to avoid giving a huge amount of rent in a different city when we were not even going to the office. Initially I used to help out my mom in few things, somehow also managing work in parallel, but I gradually started taking a back seat. No more cooking, no more groceries, even doing my own laundry stopped.

It sounds amazing to be living a life without any responsibilities, but it actually gets pretty frustrating. “Get up and start doing things then” you would say, but it ain’t that simple. I do not take all decisions under my parents’ roof and I cannot just do what I want to do. I will have to learn to operate in their setting, learn to distinguish my chores completely. If I am cooking, it will be for the entire household. So it was easier to just not do anything.

But I recently took a trip with a friend, a workation actually. We rented a flat for 10 days (Thank you AirBnb), and we did not keep any maid or cook (OMG). Apart from all the personal reasons of that trip, it was actually rejuvenating to do so much work (yes it sounds funny that working more made me relax more). Suddenly, I was responsible for so many things. I could go out to buy grocery right outside my building and I used to do that sometimes just to take a break from my office work. We used to cook together, dividing responsibilities, but in two people, you are fairly responsible for a lot. And I used to really love managing cooking 2 meals a day along with my office work. Taking out time in between meetings, not for scrolling Instagram, but for something meaningful, and I respected myself more. My sleep cycle started improving. Even though working out wasn’t easy, moving around so much during the day used to keep my body functional.

My point is, we, human beings, are conditioned to work, to move around, to not sit still. Doing something, for yourself or others, gives a different kind of peace and satisfaction. And somehow, when burdened with these responsibilities, we become more efficient in everything that we do. We learn how to do our work faster because we know we cannot waste time. We start enjoying the stillness more because they are so rarely found. I cannot wait to do this again, or just move out of the house, and just find myself again. I know I don’t need mountains or beaches to do that, but just taking care of myself is enough.