In January I went on my annual roadtrip to the Sunbelt. A couple of times I've flown to Arizona, where one of my sisters lives. But usually I drive to Florida, where my other sister lives. This year I was in Florida for a little over three weeks.
I go alone, in part because B still works and doesn't get that much vacation time, and in part because B has a thing about Florida. She hates Florida.
I got her to go with me one time. It was early in 2011, and we drove down together for a week's vacation. Then she flew home, and I stayed on for another week or so. I thought the experience might entice her to see the charms of Florida in February. Instead, it just confirmed her dislike of the whole snowbird thing.
I enjoy being by myself for a while. But after three or four days, I get tired of it. Plus, I find there are a lot of things I don't do by myself. I feel uncomfortable sitting alone in a nice restaurant. So I mostly eat at diners or fast-food places, or get take-out and bring it back to my rental unit.
I have gone to the beach by myself, but it gets boring pretty quickly. I wouldn't go to a live show by myself. I do go to movies or a museum or tourist attraction. One year I went to Epcot by myself. But all I did was remember how I'd gone to Disney with my kids when they were young, and how much more fun it was to share the experience with other people.
So why do I do it? Because I can't stand the long, cold, lonely winter. I need a break. So I travel, and I travel alone.
But like I said, I don't do too well as a single. I find I have too much time on my hands. I get bored. I feel awkward in social situations. I'm not a worrier, so I don't spend my time worrying about things. But I do sometimes fall into negative thinking, harboring regrets or missed opportunities. After a few days out on the road, enjoying my solitude, I start to get sick of my own company.
It's been said that women do better on their own than men do. Perhaps as a general rule they are more sociable, or less self-conscious, or more receptive to new situations. I don't know. Maybe women early on realize that they will probably end up alone in the end -- either through divorce, or the death of their husband -- and so they're more prepared to be by themselves.
Your guess is as good as mine. But if you want to know more -- and it's what got me thinking about this -- go over to Living Richly in Retirement. Barbara has a very interesting post about the perils and possibilities of living alone as an older single person. And like most women, she's better at it than I am.