Solo dwellers are the fastest growing housing demographic and in 2017 it was reported that 2.3 million 45 to
64 year-olds are currently living by themselves in the UK alone. Of course, not everyone chooses to live alone. In our aging
community, spouses are outliving their partners and people are getting married later or getting divorces. There are also
those of us in the middle who have simply ended up living alone, whether it be by choice or not.
Whether you are living alone as the ultimate compromise or the ultimate luxury, we all agree that it throws up its daily
challenges, such as cooking for one, organizing a holiday, eating out alone, juggling finances, or trying not to succumb
to the siren call of wine, Ugg boots and binge Netflix. And there are less tangible tests that can ambush you, like nailing
the octopus of loneliness to the wall, and holding your head high in a society where living alone is viewed (consciously
or not) as synonymous with failure: the runner up prize.
10 Takeaways from The Art of Living Alone
1. Being alone does not equate to being lonely.
2. Living alone can be the catalyst for transformation.
3. Living alone is a skill that requires effort, but you will find
strength you never knew you had.
4. You have to like yourself. Nothing else will work until you
nail this one.
5. Ignore the advice on the internet. Pets are amazing but
they are not a replacement for a two-legged friend.
6. You, and only you, are responsible for your happiness. It
lies in your hands (the safest place for it).
7. Stare loneliness down and shift from “loneliness” to
8. Buck societies clichés of woman living alone.
9. Tops with buttons up the back are Satan’s triumph.
10. The world belongs to those who do.
In The Art of Living Alone and Loving It, author Jane Mathews writes from her own experience of living alone and
explains how she tackled loneliness right on the head. To truly be content living alone, Jane suggests looking at every
aspect of your life, from relationships (including your relationship with yourself), loneliness and mental strength to
cooking for one, doing things by yourself and taking action (the world belongs to those who do so be bold and be big).
The Art of Living Alone is an honest and funny account of living alone, accepting it and embracing life to the full.
“I didn’t choose to live alone. Few of us do. I fell into it post divorce – not with an elegant swan dive but with a
graceless belly flop. Like a dodgy blind date, I can’t say Living Alone and I hit it off straight away. But now I have
learned not only to appreciate it, but even prefer it, and I can’t see myself ever relinquishing my solo path.
I don’t see it as a compromise, a holding pattern or a bump on the road towards the sunny heights of coupledom. I am happy, but it
took a while to get here. – Jane Mathews
Also by Jane Mathews:
Midlife Manifesto: A Woman’s Guide to Thriving After Forty.