A Life Alone
Archie Modequillo (The Freeman) - August 21, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — These days more and more people – young people mostly – are living lives alone. They do have personal relationships, yes, but these seem to be quite fleeting; long-term commitment is rare. It now looks like people’s regard of one another is becoming like their regard of things – to be discarded when no longer useful.

Even couples who had vowed to stay together “in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, for better or for worse” may now separate legally. Some people look for a way out of a relationship at the first blow of a problem. Many others try to keep away from possible problems by staying out of a relationship.

A life alone is a modern trend; there’s the so-called “super solo society” developing. Young people today are more self-contained. They want to only focus on their very own concerns, and not be saddled by the quirks or oddities of another.

New “solo” living quarters have been devised – the studio-type pads and condominium units. Even these clustered residences allow for isolation. Residents don’t even have to know or interact with their next-door neighbors. 

And there are a lot of them who claim of a peaceful and comfortable life being alone. They enjoy vast personal freedom. And they relate with others on their own terms – have fun with friends or in some romantic encounter only when they feel like to. 

Truth is, no one is ever totally alone in life. People opting for singlehood still have social or community lives. Singlehood is simply like a virtual bubble to regularly retreat into, perhaps to avoid being overwhelmed by the affairs of the world.

True, there are some perks to have in a ‘life alone’. To a greater extent, one is in charge. He or she almost has the choice of which things to worry about, which problems to have, and only has to fend for oneself.

And yet many people who choose to be single would fall into an intimate relationship every once in a while. The relationship, though, would only be for some time – a few weeks or months, to a few years at the most. Eventually, there would come up something to make them uncomfortable about the other person.

On the other hand, the choice of a life alone could be rooted in a belief that the ‘perfect one’ is waiting out there somewhere or would come around at the right time. It’s an expectation of a “happily ever after.” But it is unlikely to be attained – not really impossible, just very unlikely.

While living alone may have its advantages, somehow it runs against the grain of the gregarious human nature.  Those who choose to be single may even have to try much harder in their social life, for both emotional and intellectual reassurance. And yet, in doing that, they may find it difficult to avoid getting involved in meaningful relationships.

In the end, it may not be possible at all to keep distance or stay detached from others. A life alone may only be possible physically. No one can totally avoid being linked up with the rest, to enjoy others’ support, to learn from others.

Social changes are impacting on traditional human relationships. Today’s society is creating new ways of “being together,” the internet technology being one of those. Amid the changes, people are interacting with one another at unprecedented levels.   

The new setup can be overwhelming for many. Compounded by their dogged professional and economic pursuits due to heightened competition, some people need a breather and opt for a life alone. It’s their way of stepping back a little in order to have a better view for adapting to and embracing the new order of things.

To others, people who choose a life alone could come across as aloof or mysterious. The kind of privacy that these people enjoy is addictive. And so many of them hold on to it… even for life.

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