Last winter I had an anxiety attack.  Over the years, I’ve shared my home with flat-mates as well as with romantic partners, but I won’t lie that I love living by myself and the freedom of doing whatever I want in my home. However, having noted that, I’ve come to the realisation that as a single, middle-aged woman with no children, no partner, and no living relatives who live close by that living solo may not be in the cards for me after a certain point.

Why? Because I caught a glimpse of what the future might be like.

It was a very cold Melbourne day, and I felt a heaviness in my chest. I suspected it was the stress of working long hours. The more I thought about it, the more anxious I became. My heart raced and I couldn’t get it to slow down. After some internal debate, I called a cab and off I went to the ER. By the time I arrived, I was calmer but I wanted to be sure I didn’t have a mild heart attack. I had an EKG, blood was taken, and everything was fine. Or was it?

This event started me thinking what if needed to stay in the hospital who would take care of my dogs? I really didn’t know anyone except a few neighbours whom I greeted during my walks. It came as a hard shock I was truly alone. I came to realise I had to get out of my isolated comfort zone.

When I lived with flat-mates, the concerns and anxiety I had this winter never existed. My flat-mates became my friends, I was happy and, more importantly, healthy.

For the time being, I still see myself living alone. However, I’m taking steps to get to know more people and be less quick to dismiss the idea of sharing my home in the future.