The Price of Being Single and Independent

Yesterday, as I waited for the bus to go home, I was talking to my co-worker about being in transition with my career. She asked me about my life and what I did before. I told her – I had a job in printing and that I lived on my own. For a very brief moment, I told her about how I managed to keep my house for another year after being laid off because I had severance pay. It didn’t sit very well with some neighbours, and, although they didn’t do anything crazy like vandalize my home, they weren’t nice and welcoming to a single female like me. They never bothered to ask me about what’s going on.

Even though I could have leased my home, I didn’t want to carry on the responsibility. It was the top of the recession. If I along with thousands of others were being laid off, it would be difficult for me to be compassionate to someone who was just let go and knowing that I still need to collect money. I’m sure I would have to deal with it then. Selling my home was one of the most difficult things I faced.

That aside, I had a discussion with a couple of other single people who own their home. They, too, faced difficulties with neighbours looking upon them weirdly. These are family type neighbour-hoods. So we broke the mold and decided not to live in a condo. As I recounted this story to my co-worker, she commented, “So much for being single and independent.”

As much as I loved living on my own, it was a lot of work and a lot of stress. One income to pay for the entire shebang including utilities and taxes. On top of it all – the maintenance. It’s a wonder I had a life. I worked a lot and was too tired to go out most weekends. If I did want to go out, I stressed about how much money I had. I did have part time jobs here and there to help support myself.

Back in 2000 when I first purchased my home, I believe the Toronto Star ran a story about how many single women owned a home (not a condo) in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and how that is increasing. Back then when I just moved out, it hovered at about 2%. Years passed and I saw a similar article in the newspaper again. This time, the number was higher. With a quick tapping of keywords on the internet, I found a Globe and Mail article (June 8 2012) that states 20% of home buyers are single women in North America.

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While I look forward to eventually moving out on my own again, I will be better prepared as to what I want and how to take care of myself. I know who I can trust and when to trust my own instincts. I’m not saying being independent is a bad thing, it’s just difficult sometimes.

So while all you neighbours are so judgmental of that single person, you don’t know their situation. Offer to help and find out what kind of neighbour you have. Have a BBQ or something.


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