Living not-alone

A while ago now I wrote this post about living alone. My intention was always to write a follow up in which I deconstructed living with other people, listed all the the pros and cons. The problem is that I don’t really feel like my current living situation is a fair comparison. And that’s made writing the next post really hard.
There are varying degrees of sharehouse. There’s the kind where you live with several Germans and a few medical students and no one talks to anyone else. There’s the kind where you all have household dinners and bonding afternoons but still cook separate meals. There’s the kind where you live with some people you kind of know, and the kind where you live with people you know very well. Sometimes you start friends, sometimes you become friends and sometimes no one gets to know anyone at all. It’s a strange kind of existence when you think about it.
And then there’s another kind of sharehouse.
To give you an idea of the kind of household ours is, let me explain our system for making tea. There are three steps. The first person puts the jug on and puts sugar (or honey) into the mugs. The second person puts teabags in and fills the mugs with boiled water. The third person puts in the milk and carries the mugs to the lounge room. This system means that no one person misses too much TV while the tea is being made. Feel free to adopt it in your own home.
Here’s another example: last year when Doctor Who was premiering on iView, one of us would set an alarm for 5:30am and then wake the others up. We’d make tea and huddle together around a laptop in the lounge room. Afterwards we’d make a special Sunday breakfast of French toast or fancy eggs and then eat it while sitting on the back deck. In the morning sun we’d talk about the episode and theorise at length about the season to come. When we’d done that long enough that it was a reasonable hour, we’d open all the windows and sit in the office writing blogs or tweets or doing homework. 
I love this house (more than I can say) but it was big and rattly and cold when I lived here by myself. The three of us have filled it with things and put posters on the walls. We’ve dragged home furniture we found on the side of the road and settled into a kind of organised chaos. This house is ours. I love coming home after dark to see light streaming through the side windows. Our household isn’t the kind that has designated shelves in the fridge. We shop together, eat together and watch TV together. It’s a shared existence.
There’s not a whole lot of cons to living like this. I actually kind of loved living alone and I think that, compared to a different kind of household, the Germans-and-med-students sharehouse, I’d prefer it. But the fact is that now I have everything I didn’t have back then – hugs on demand, companions for impromptu excursions, someone to drive me to hospital if I stab myself while cooking. There are things I miss about living alone but I don’t miss them very often.
I’m lucky, I know. There isn’t a single moment when I take this house or these people for granted. I know, even without retrospect, that I’ll look back on these years as a happy time. Life isn’t simple. Of course we fight sometimes and there are days when the stacks of pots are so high that we lose things under them. This house has spiders and possums and rats and moths that eat our cereal. But unlocking the door in the evenings really does feel like coming home.

Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year