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The 3 best (and worst) parts about living alone

The number of Canadians who live alone now outnumber households of couples with children. While the debate over the impact of this demographic swing on the population is far from over, it's worth noting that life as a singleton comes with its own set of perks – and some rather annoying challenges. Here, a lighthearted look at the pros and cons:

PROs

Embrace weird habits

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Maybe you enjoy singing aloud to yourself. Perhaps you see no point in washing the dishes until there is no clean utensil or plate left in sight. Sometimes you just feel like playing video games on your Xbox for 15 hours straight. Only when you live alone do you have the freedom to exercise these quirks. The impact these eccentricities will have on your personality over time? That's another story.

Rule the refrigerator

Go ahead and slug milk right from the carton. Scoop globfuls of peanut butter directly from the container with your hands. No need to adhere to food-sharing etiquette when you're the only one who's going to be dining on the ice cream in the freezer.

No pants, no problem

There's no need to be oppressed by constricting skinny jeans when the only person around is your reflection in the mirror. Not so if your household numbers two or more. Unless you live in a freewheeling utopia where the normal rules of society don't apply (or are an avid follower of the "No Pants" movement) chances are your spouse or kids won't be on board with your decision to forgo garments to cover your lower half.

CONs

You might be broke

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Sure you can sing in the shower at 2 a.m., but you might have to scrimp and save to pay your water bill on time. Living the single live may be rife with freedom, but it comes with a price tag with your name on it. Housing, transportation, cable, food and other costs can quickly add up when you are the household's sole dweller. Admittedly, having a family to support is expensive, too. But more households today than in generations past are made up of two earners, making it easier to pay for the bare essentials with some leftover for wallet-sucking extras like dance class or family trips to Disneyland.

No helping hand

Sometimes you need a warm body to help you with an awkward zipper or to open a stubborn jar of pickles. If no one is around, you might find yourself running next door for assistance. That's certainly one way to get to know your neighbours.

Too much alone time

Everyone wants a little down time to relax and recharge in silence. But sometimes a peaceful break can morph into a cavernous silence. Loneliness can strike anyone, including those who live in a house packed with people. But solo dwellers, who have to make more of an effort to stay connected to the outside world, may be more vulnerable to feeling lonely or isolated, which can have detrimental effects on health in the long term.

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About the Author

Carly Weeks has been a journalist with The Globe and Mail since 2007.  She has reported on everything from federal politics to the high levels of sodium in the Canadian diet. More

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