I am almost 23 years old, but being a homeschool graduate, and having lived with my parents my whole life, some things that other people might have done by this age are still new experiences for me. I definitely don't feel stifled by my parents, they allow me to be as much of an independent adult as I could wish, but living in a relatively large family that usually does everything together, I haven't done much on my own, simply because there was no need, and I would rather be with my family most of the time.
Until I was 20, I hadn't been away from my family for longer than one-night-long sleepovers. Then my cousin and his wife invited me to come visit them after the birth of their baby girl, and that was a lot of firsts: I had never been on a plane before, and I flew to a state I'd never visited before, where I stayed a whole week without anyone in my immediate family.
I also slept in a room by myself, which, while not a first (I'd slept in the room that my sister and I share without her before) was something that hadn't really worked well before... it made me feel very childish, but when one has shared a room for one's entire life (excepting only a few nights) it's just a little unsettling to try to sleep without someone. But for some reason, I slept great without my sister that week, and I've been fine whenever I've needed to sleep alone in our room since.
This past week, I experienced for the first time being alone in a house for over 24 hours. My family went to a basketball tournament in VA and left me alone from Wednesday afternoon until Saturday afternoon. Wednesday night I was entirely alone, and while it was very strange, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I was able to practice the piano for almost 2 and 1/2 hours straight, with no interruptions, when usually the TV probably would have been on (my piano and the TV are, unfortunately, in the same room) and it was so nice!
My general productivity seemed a little higher than normal, too, besides practicing. I suppose conversations and other things involving my family take more time than I originally realized. I vacuumed a lot, and cleaned the bathroom, cleaned up my room, kept the kitchen practically spotless (an easy task when making meals for only person, and when only one person makes any messes) and taught all my lessons, and still had a little time to relax.
By Thursday night, I was already a little tired of being alone (except for my piano students who came during the day) so I was glad that my dear friend was going to come hang out with me. We ate yummy salads while we watched Penelope (a really cute movie with James McAvoy and Christina Ricci), finished up some leftover Mexican and then ate brownies while we watched an episode of Chuck. I've finished Chuck, but she hasn't, so it was fun to watch an episode with her and see her reactions to what I had already watched.
I blame a headache on Thursday for slowing me down. I didn't get as much done as I had intended on Thursday. Also, all that cleaning didn't hold as much delight as I had hoped. Apparently, cleaning for your own satisfaction isn't nearly as satisfying as cleaning for someone else. It was eventually worth it when my family got home, though, and my parents praised how nice everything looked.
Friday night I had plans to go contra dancing with another friend, and while we were out that way, we squeezed in a little shopping trip at a mall that we don't usually get to visit because it's a little far from our houses. We had fun, but it was really weird going contra dancing without my sister, who usually goes with me, and analyses the dance with me afterward. I got home around midnight, and called my family to hear about the late championship game that had just ended. It was a disappointing loss after a previously undefeated tournament, but 2nd place isn't too shabby!
I was hoping that it wouldn't be too frightening to be alone in the house, particularly at night, and I was very happy to discover it wasn't. I was perfectly fine, even the last night when I got home from contra dancing and started imagining signs of an intruder in the house. I walked around with my cat as a weapon (claws are very painful, you know) and didn't find anyone, so I was relieved, and slept fine. No spooky noises alarmed me, not even the branches tapping and scratching on my window one windy night.
My family left VA around 11am the next morning to come home, and I was so happy to have them all back. Peace and quiet can be nice sometimes, but after rattling around mostly by myself in our house for 3 days, I was starting to feel like this house is too big. It was a good little experiment, which gave me the conclusion that I'm not the kind of person who is likely to enjoy living alone. I need my space sometimes, but I love having my family around. I am very happy to be a stay-at-home daughter.
I think being able to practice with no one wanting to watch TV instead was the only real benefit to my family's absence, so now if I could just have somewhere else in the house to put my piano...