Friday, June 29, 2012

Do you really need to be living with who you are staring at? These days there are more and more people living alone or on their own and liking it. Today in the United States there are about 32 Million Americans not living with another person and they do not consider themselves “alone.” It is an unbelievable number; but, with all the media and technology surrounding us, no man is an island. Well then let me live on my own on an island. Go away!
There are the man made islands in the seas everywhere. Yes, earn six figures working on an oil rig. Or there really is a place called the Thousand Islands where they do make the salad dressing. Serenity can be found in the islands of the Appalachians. There are historic islands. Even Franklin Roosevelt owned a second home on an island. Japan has a ghost island where 15,000 people used to live mining coal, now, no one lives there. I want an island where no one can penetrate. We have that too.
This is not a new idea. People have been wanting to be alone for a very long time but few used to act upon the idea. Nearly 4 centuries ago the poet John Donne wrote, “No man is an Island.” What would he think if he could see how isolated so many of us are living now? Greta Garbo famously said , “I want to be alone.” so very dramatically over and over again in the 1932 movie “Grand Hotel.” Howard Hughes was obsessed with being alone. “The rise in living alone now represents the greatest social change in the last 60 years.” says, New York University sociologist, Eric Kleinenberg.
In 1950 there were just 4 Million Americans living alone. According to the American Community Survey taken in 2010 , Seattle 42%
             San Francisco 39%
                        Denver 40%
                    Cleveland 39%
Yes, roughly 4 out of 10 households are single person homes. Like the song, one is no longer the loneliness number. In Manhattan, New York, where nearly half of all households are made up of just one person. So, they must stand in the middle of a traffic island there.
It can’t be that bad to be able to control one’s own time on their own terms, eat when you want, see friends when you want and simply don’t have to make compromises where they spend their own time. Kate Boulick wrote one of the most read articles in 2011 on living alone in The Atlantic Magazine. As a result she has a book deal and is optioned for a TV series. Single people are more social than attached people. They spend time and money in bars, restaurants, in gyms, and clubs and then they say enough an go home alone.
Who are the people who live alone? According to the current Population Survey of 2011, 34% are age 65 or over and about half are between 35 and 64 years old. So, our older population has given up on living with others. The women outnumber the men. About 17 Million are women and only 13 Million are men. So, girls, it really IS hard to find a single guy these days. Sorry.
Men are sadder than women at being alone. They feel waking up alone is hell, going to bed alone is sad and there is nothing worse than being sick by yourself. One guy wrote a book about it after he posted fliers around town that he was lonely, lets talk. It is titled, “Jeff, One Lonely Guy” by Jeff Ragsdale. He has had close to 70,000 responses from people from all over the world and the conversations became like a confessional booth where people unleashed their social problems. According to the US Census, Roughly one out of every seven adults in America lives alone.
So, FDR ran to Campobello an island off the coast of Canada that is also the name of a famous play and film and home to rich people. He had a 34 room cottage set on 3,000 acres of land. They lived there without a telephone or electricity raising 5 children and sailed every day where the tides can swell to about 6 feet higher during high tide. In March 1933 he is known famously to have said, “ The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” I wonder if he was also thinking about living on an island too when he said it.
Living on a island physically or in your mind means you are mentally tough and willing to take risks. If I could, I would live on an island fortress and take living alone to the extreme. A place surrounded by walls and a moat too. It really exists. 70 miles out to sea off the coast of Key West, Florida exists my fortress called Fort Jefferson. It is 10 acres with 45 foot high walls surrounded by a moat and only one entrance. So, go away! Leave me alone!

No comments:

Post a Comment