Monday, February 23, 2015

Living Alone After Marriage

There's only one pillow on my bed.

Only one person's clothes in my closet.

Only my food in the fridge.

John and I have been married for 2 and a half years, and we're like annoyingly you-want-to-punch-us-in-the-face happy.

About 2 weeks after we got married I left to live with my sister in Ohio for a month for a clinical rotation. 

Since that time, we've spent no small number of nights apart - like when I traveled for interviews or went home for my Grandfather's funeral. 

However, I realized just in the past couple weeks that I've never actually lived alone.

When I got married I moved from a house with 3 other [wonderful] women to the apartment with John. I had always had roommates.

So now I'm in Los Alamos, in the middle of my month here, and it's the first time I've ever had a long term place to live that's just mine. 

A weird thing happened when I got here, I'll call it:

"Stages of Slovenly"

1. When I arrived I bought 3 pints of non-dairy ice cream but forgot trash bags, I didn't put away a single article of clothing for 3 days and I carried snacks into all the rooms including the shower.

2. I sang louder in the shower, waited a long time before washing any dishes, and experimented more with how many different parts of the floor and furniture I could cover with my clothing.

3. For a solid 2.5 days I couldn't use the big chair in front of the TV because I coated it in sweaters and knitting and bags.

4. Instead of planning ahead, I went to the grocery store at least 3 times in a week. I mostly ate a weird combination of chips, soup and frozen Amy's burritos. I made the bed once? I think?

5. I took my iPad to bed and watched YouTube and episodes of all my favorite shows for another couple hours after I initially intended to sleep. 

6. I did not once close the bathroom door.

7. After about a week and a half, I finally bought trash bags and a candle. Before John arrived to visit I picked up everything off the floor and cleaned up the tables. 

After he left I found myself washing my dishes right away and so far I've at least piled my clothes in the closet or on the dresser, instead of all over the whole apartment. 

I don't envy those who are forced to live apart from their spouses - I'm lucky to be driving distance for the weekend, but some people live across the country or overseas from their loved ones and that is no small thing. I miss John - noises startle me more, it's harder to get up in the morning, it's harder to stay warm and well, I just like hanging out with him. 

With that said, this is an opportunity that I am choosing to appreciate. It gives me the unique opportunity to examine my habits and remember what it's like to be me without anyone else.

Here's the lesson I've drawn: sometimes it's nice to have a space to be irresponsible and sloppy. No matter how tolerant the people you live with, it's sort of like taking a deep breath not having to worry about even perceiving judgment for the things I've left out or the dishes I've left in the sink.

That said, I need my house to feel ordered in order to feel like my life is ordered. 

It doesn't do me any favors to give in to the entropy. 

So I have a couple more weeks here and in that time I hope to balance appreciation of alone time and my own space with order and a certain amount of active care of my environment. 

Living alone after marriage isn't easy, but for me I think it's a good thing, just for a little bit.

Thanks for reading, see you soon.

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