I was lucky that since our first lockdown in March 2020, I got the privilege of living with my family. And I’ve been staying with them most of the time for this past year as I mostly work from home. Hands down, it’s the best thing out of this pandemic for me.
Anyway, when it was announced that we’re going to have another 2 weeks ‘full lockdown’ this month June 2021 (I’ll skip using the naming convention PKP, PKPB, PKPP, PKP 1.0, PKP 2.0, PKP 3.0, Full PKP 3.0, PKPD, etc. because it’s hella confusing), two things I knew for a fact. One, it’s not gonna be just 2 weeks. Two, I want to give this living alone a try.
Fast forward to today, hate to say this but I’m correct about the first one. While the second one, I’m living through it, alone. It was not an easy decision as I know many would prefer to be with their family if given the chance. But what went through the decision-making process was this:
- Covid-19 cases in our country spiked up;
- I had an outstation work trip the day prior to the lockdown;
- There were positive cases in my office and I did go to the office quite often last month;
- I knew friends who got infected with Covid, though thankfully none that I was close contact with;
- I don’t want to accidentally bring Covid home to my family; and
- I’ve always wondered how people live alone during the lockdown.
Now three weeks of living alone in my rented place without a housemate during a lockdown where we’re not permitted to go out, let me answer my own frequently-asked-questions that I had since last year about this living alone situation. Well because I’m alone, here’s how we’re going to this FAQ session – I’m going to ask the questions, and I’m going to answer them.
How does it feel living alone in lockdown?
Living alone is liberating. I get to do whatever I want without having to think about anyone. I can clean my house at 12.34 am if I want to. I can pile up plates at the sink and wash at one go before I go to sleep, no one judges me. I can read, watch Netflix, work and do my own things freely whenever I want to (so long they don’t disturb my WFH Monday to Friday (have to add this, in case my boss reads this)).
However, the lockdown part of this makes it a bit tough. Because I can’t go out when I want to. I can’t have people over. I must stay at home 24/7. Ah my liberty to move freely has been taken away from me! (drama)
What is your daily routine at home?
My daily routine depends on my workload, my energy, and my mood of the day.
A productive day during the lockdown work weekdays usually goes like this-
- 6 am – 7 am: I wake up, do my morning things getting ready for the day, having breakfast, just sit down to enjoy the morning solitude.
- 7 am – 12 pm: I prefer to start working early before others do so I can have time to focus on work that requires the most mental energy without anyone disturbing me.
- 12 pm – 2 pm: I prepare lunch. I eat. I read. I take nap. Long lunch hours because (a) I start working early; (b) My energy is very low at noon.
- 2 pm – 4/5 pm: Continue working. I stop when I’m done for the day.
- 4/5 pm – 11 pm: My me-time doing my own things.
During a lazy day, I would still make sure I get the important stuff out of the way. So all’s good. And that’s the best part about WFH – I can arrange and manage my work accordingly. There are days that I have to work for an extended time, there are days when I can slow down.
My weekend routine goes like this –
- Whenever I wake up AM – whenever I sleep PM: My me-time doing my own things.
What do you do during the me-time?
It might sound ironic that I still need my me-time considering that I live alone. But I do, I need my me-time to fully disconnect from work.
So when I’m not working, I do things normal people do when they’re resting. I also tackle the admin and domestic things that have been on my to-do list for so long. I carve time for my hobby and some self-development stuff.
- Watching Netflix and Youtube
- Scrolling through social media
- Talking and calling family and friends
- Playing games, solo or with friends
- Elaborate 234 steps skincare routine
- Yoga, pilates, home workout
- Or better, just lie down
Admin and domestic stuff
- (Learn) cooking. Oh, this is the first time in my life that I’ve ever cooked proper meals like real food, e.g., ayam masak kicap, tomyam, etc. As someone who microwaves frozen food, ‘cooks’ maggi, and prepares all-day breakfast food, I’m so proud of myself.
- Cleaning, organizing, and decluttering the whole house
- Digital decluttering, clearing the space in my phone and laptop
- Reading, now on my 30-something book of the year
- Blogging, a bit slow at this
- Painting! Okay who am I kidding, actually coloring by numbers
- Reading and revising on some work-related stuff
- Still learning on stock trading, difficult to find the motivation to do this though
- Taking financial behaviour report – will share the result soon
Don’t you get bored or lazy?
I don’t really get the chance to feel bored, yet. Firstly because work does take a lot chunk of time. Secondly, because there are just so many things that I can do (as above, which might look boring to you haha).
But yes, I do get lazy, usually to work. Some days it’s difficult to wake up and sit at my work desk. So I understand how some people just can’t get work done at home. If I’m not careful, I would get stuck doing the first two ‘Normal Stuff’ for hours.
Do you get lonely being alone?
Oh my god, I underestimated how lonely it can be at times. All this while, I’ve always enjoyed my alone time so, lonely what? If you’re a fellow introvert, you would understand this. But sigh, I should’ve picked up the hint when there’s ‘lone’ in both living aLONE and LONEly.
Thank God for technology because I’m always in touch with my family and friends. We text, call and video call. My days are always filled with laughter from virtually talking with them.
But lo and behold – apparently, being forced to sit tight without the liberty to go out and meet people whenever I want to for an extended time is not good. Nu-uh. At the risk of exposing my vulnerability, let me share with you what happened last Saturday, 19 days into the lockdown.
I went out to get dinner and groceries at around 6 pm, after 10 days of not going out. I was pleasantly surprised to see there were many people went out and about getting groceries etc. There were also people jogging and playing badminton in my residential area. And then it hit me –
I am all alone. All these people must have family, friends or someone accompanying them at home, whilst I – I am living alone, all by myself.
What if something happens to me at home? It would be some time before people figure it out. Oh, I’m so so alone. Oh. Crap. I’m sad. Oh. Shit. My family is not here. My friends are living quite a distance from me. This is not good. Tears started falling down my face. Oh. Crap.
After 19 days of having it all together, it just hit me that – I’m on my own – in the most literal sense, and it’s frightening.
How do you cope with it?
I got over the Saturday breakdown the next day after talking with my best friend (aka life partner) about it. So that’s how I cope with it – talking with family and friends.
Also, the part where I’m scared if something happens to me at home? I ask them to call me or do something if no response from me in few hours.
How do you feel seeing other people who are not alone?
Okay, I’ve always wondered about this – how would one feel scrolling through their social media seeing other people living with family and friends during this time.
Other than what happened last Saturday, I don’t have any issue seeing other people having company during this lockdown. Maybe because I choose this living alone life, and I’ve set my mind to focus on the things that I have (health, time, peace of mind, virtual connections) instead of that one thing that I don’t have (physical company). But at times, it does make me miss being around people.
Do you still get ready every day?
This question is from a friend. Yes, this is a must-do. Though I live alone and only I get to smell myself, I do shower and get ready every single morning. Wearing pajamas all day makes me feel sluggish.
What’s the best thing about living alone during a lockdown?
Time and space to do anything that I want, without judgment.
What’s the hardest thing about living alone during a lockdown?
Missing family and friends.
Overall how is this experience?
I’m very glad that I get to experience living on my own during this lockdown. This is the longest time that I’ve been by myself, ever. All the worries that I had before doing this, e.g., feeling lonely and sad, is all manageable. I honestly enjoy this.
I must acknowledge that my positive experience is due to the privileges that I have now – stable job and income, good health, roof on my head and food on my table, safe and healthy family, strong support system, and no big commitment. Whilst many others are having hard times, I’m privileged (not the kayangan level, but still).
Also, I always value solitude and enjoy doing my own things at home. So I’m blissed, as compared to extroverts who thrive being with people.
Tips and tricks for those who live alone during a lockdown?
- Establish a daily routine to maintain normalcy
- Keep in touch with family and friends
- Don’t be afraid to reach out to others
- Get ready every day although we have no one to impress
- Do those things that you’ve always wanted to do
- Don’t beat yourself up for having down days
And that’s all the time that we have for our FAQs session today lol. It’s time that I adopt cats now and settle down as a cat lady. But maybe not cats because I’m scared of cats. Okay, no animals because I’m scared of them all.
Let’s continue figuringgitout.