Flying solo? You aren’t alone.
Have you ever gone to the theatre alone? Dined out at nice restaurant at a table for one? Travelled overseas solo? Society tells us these types of activities can only be enjoyed with a friend or companion. But one in 4 Australian’s currently live alone and this figure has been rising steadily for over 60 years – going from 8% in 1946 to 24% in 2011.
So can we actually enjoy doing sociable things on our own?
Research released in 2015 suggest we shouldn’t be so quick to give into our fears of how being alone in a social setting might be viewed by others. The researchers, Rebecca Ratner and Rebecca Hamilton, of the universities of Maryland and Georgetown believe people should be bolder about doing things alone. They might discover they enjoy the activity more than they expected to.
They carried out a small test to see whether our fear of doing some activities alone was justified. They organised for university students, to be invited to visit a nearby art gallery for five or ten minutes. Some students were with friends, others were on their own. They were all asked beforehand to rate how much fun they expected to have. After their visit they were asked to rate how much fun they actually had. Those who were alone expected to have a worse time than those who went with their friends. But it turned out everyone enjoyed it as much.
You could argue that it might seem easy for a group of university students to say they still enjoyed a trip to a gallery just as much on their own as with friends, but it’s not the same as experiencing things on your own after losing a loved one after many years of companionship. The reasons being alone change as we get older; in the 60-69yr age group, divorce or separation is the main reason for living alone. This continues for men in their 70’s but for women of this age, the main reason is the death of a partner. Both scenarios require a period of adjustment and forging a new path.
If you have always lived alone, then you will no doubt have learnt you can embrace a full and well-rounded life on your own. But if it’s new territory or you have never felt comfortable going it alone there are plenty of ways to meet people and engage with others and it seems travel is a popular way to embrace this. 40% of solo travellers are in the age 50yrs+ bracket with many of those saying experiencing new places is enriched when you have other people to share it with. Meetup is full of groups in your local area with a range of interests making it easy to find like-minded people. Volunteering, mentoring and community groups are also ways to get out and connect. This can be especially important in retirement, when you lose the social aspect of working.
But whatever your household looks like, it’s important to be financially secure. Your financial adviser is there to assist you in making the right financial decisions for your unique situation. So you can be free to take that holiday, upsize or downsize and explore new possibilities whether that’s independently or not.
Online source: Produced by AMP Life Limited
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