When a mature woman chooses to live life on her own, there are a tremendous number of challenges and rewards associated with this decision. Some of these challenges are expectable and anticipated; others are entirely unexpected and may be either negative or positive.
Most women who choose to live on their own do so because of their decision to leave a marriage or other committed relationship. For women who have not actively been in the workplace for a number of years, this involves a shift to supporting themselves financially, which can be quite difficult. On the other hand, this change also creates the opportunity to live your life on your own terms rather than having to compromise your needs to live with a husband or partner. You no longer have to give up significant parts of yourself to be in the relationship.
The adjustment challenges are numerous and often quite challenging mentally and physically. Pragmatically, this is often the first time a woman has lived alone or on her own for many, many years. I have also heard many women speak of the challenge of dealing with a quiet house—whether the partner they were living with was positive or negative, noisy or quiet, it is different to become accustomed to being the only person moving around in a house after coming home from work or an evening out.
Many women have been in relationships where the many activities required to run their lives were shared between the partners. They feel overwhelmed by the need to figure out how to accomplish these necessary household tasks on their own without someone with whom to share those responsibilities. Limited financial resources also frequently complicate the challenge.
You are right in thinking of this transition as a journey. Here are a few ideas that can help you along the way: First, if you have the luxury of truly being able to choose the timing of your transition, it is very helpful to learn and practice some of the practical skills you will need before moving out on your own. Make a point of learning about the finances of running a household, how to fix basic things that go wrong in your apartment or house and who to call if you can’t fix it yourself. It is also really important to connect with other women and men on a social or friendship basis so that you have people to call to do things with socially.
As you mentioned in your question, this is a process and a journey. Don’t expect everything to run smoothly or to be immediately rewarding, although some parts of the process might be really freeing and joyous immediately. While every day will not be joyful and satisfying, feelings of happiness will occur more and more frequently over time. The shift from feeling stressed and overwhelmed to feeling satisfied and fulfilled comes about as a result of recognizing your likes and dislikes and creating your life both in and out of the home in a way that reflects your needs, interests and tastes. It isn’t always an easy journey, but it is a journey well worth taking.