Today, more than a quarter of American households are home to just one person. And living alone has its perks. You can eat what you want, crank up the stereo and let your dishes pile up for days. But there's also no one to help foot the bill, and no one to turn to for reassurance when things go bump in the night.
Last year, I asked you to send in your stories about living solo. Listener Ashley Ward decided it was time to get her own place after dealing with a less-than-ideal roommate. But living alone can also be a consequence of bigger life changes. Arlene Pickett’s husband died four years ago after a long decline. She liked the freedom that came with living by herself. But when she was diagnosed with cancer, solo life just felt hard. Walid Shantur's wife moved out about eight years ago. His daughter left for college the same day. He told me last year that he'd come to embrace living alone—he found it "intoxicating." But when I checked back in with him this year, he told me that he'd met someone new, and added, "I no longer can say that living alone is pleasing and satisfying."
I caught up with everyone who talked with me last year about living alone. As you'll hear, some of them are still living alone and loving it. And some aren't.