I went out for a couple of hours to visit the W family just now. I had a lovely time with them, but started to develop a headache towards the end of the evening. As I made my way home, I felt really unwell. My head was throbbing, my muscles aching, and I was really nauseated. I don’t really know what led to me feeling so acutely unwell- hunger? dehydration? stress? tiredness? I have absolutely no idea.
It was a long journey home. To get from the W family’s house to mine takes a minimum of 1.5 hours (bus and train ride inclusive). I tried to shut my eyes and get some rest, but I still did not feel right and I could not wait to get home.
To me, it is a place of rest. A place of warmth. A place of comfort. A place of safety. A place that I love to spend many hours in. When I am ill, I just want to stay at home where I can lie down, snuggle under the covers and turn up the heating. I can eat or drink or make tea whenever I please, and have no worries about needing the bathroom for the purposes of diarrhoea and vomiting. When I am at home, I can have showers and change out of soiled clothes into comfy pyjamas. I do not need to worry about “hanging on” and keeping myself upright to prevent embarrassment in the presence of strangers.
I love my home, and this feeling is especially strong when I am ill.
I usually come back to an empty home as I live alone. Living alone has been a completely different experience to living with family and friends. I love the freedom of having the whole apartment all to myself. I get to dictate what furniture I’ll have and where they will go. I can leave my books lying all over the place without pissing anyone else off. I don’t have to clean up after other people’s mess and can keep my home spick and span the way I like it. I can laze around and sleep as much as I want without worrying about how others would judge me. I can play my Chinese music as loudly as I desire and sing at the top of my voice as I please. I can talk to myself as much as I want or cry as loudly as I need without looking like a weirdo. I do not need to worry about competing for the bathroom in the morning. I can come home from work and go straight to bed without feeling obliged to make small talk with my housemates. I do not have to feel left out and lonely when my housemates all cuddle up on the couch with their respective other halves. Living alone has been absolutely fabulous.
But of course, we live in a world of equilibrium. Where there are pros, there must exist cons. Living alone brings with itself many associated challenges. Loneliness certainly features high on this list. When I have had a hard day at work, I often find myself needing to rant about it but not having a listener readily available. There is no one to keep an eye on me to make sure that I am leading a balanced and God-centred life. During times of illness, there is also no one around to offer comfort and support- I often wonder how long it would take for other people to find me should I ever collapse at home! Now that I live alone, I also find myself having to sort everything out myself- council tax, bills, fixing leaking pipes, sorting out blown lightbulbs and beeping smoke alarms, getting the water-heating to work…
My home is truly where my heart is. I thank God for blessing me with such a wonderful shelter over my head. And while I have the privilege of enjoying it all to myself, I am determined to savour every minute of it, leaking water pipes and beeping smoke alarms included.