Living alone doesn’t always seem like “living,” does it? So often when we’re in that situation, we feel as if we’re waiting for life to begin once we meet somebody.

Obviously, that’s not the case, and one of the reasons I found Live Alone And Like It by Marjorie Hillis (besides the fact that her name is Marjorie. I love that name!) so charming was that it presents a different way of looking at something many people find negative.

Written in 1936 (!!) but completely applicable to today (well, not so much the one or two “colored maid” mentions), this wise, wry and warm book offers suggestions for “bachelor ladies” to make the most of their single status. Some of these are incredibly simple and some are creative, but best of all, it’s all very no-nonsense and cheerful, as evidenced by this line: “There may still be those in Alabama who look upon an unmarried state as an affliction, but in New York it is at most a very minor ailment.”

Some of Hillis’s suggestions are to pamper yourself, to plan ahead so you don’t wind up with long hours of lonely free time (unless that’s what you want) and to pull yourself (and your living space) together as nicely as possible.

Here she is on clothes: “But do have some really smart street costumes—surprisingly, they can cost as little as dowdy ones, and practically no one’s morale can overcome an outfit that’s all wrong. Do have some evening clothes with swish, and—very specially—do have at least one nice seductive tea-gown to wear when you’re alone (or when you’re not, if you feel like it).”

It’s enough to make me wish that I owned a tea-gown (seductive or otherwise). She also gives some awesome recipes for cocktails that I’d love to break out at my next party and offers some great advice for fun activities you probably haven’t thought of on your own.

Her sense of humor totally makes this book, too. Check out what she says about having a circle of acquaintances: “As we have already suggested, one of the great secrets of living alone successfully is not to live alone too constantly. A reasonably large circle of friends and enemies whom you can see when you want to, and will often see when you don’t want to, is an important asset.”

Having a circle that includes enemies is underrated, and I can think of a couple people who fit this description in my life.

Seriously, though, I found great comfort from reading this breezy and charmingly illustrated book—the quality of your life really is up to you, regardless of your situation or circumstance. That’s something I don’t always remember.

One of the great advantages of your way of living is that you can be alone when you want to. Lots of people never discover what a pleasure this can be. Perhaps it was because of its possibilities that the misused expression “enjoy yourself,” came into being.

The more you enjoy yourself, the more of a person you are.

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