“My Own Private Desert Oasis,” by guest writer Susana Rinderle – Who but You? living alone series

My front garden on Mothers' Day 2014.  Photo credit:  the author
My front garden on Mothers’ Day 2014.
Photo credit: the author

Why live alone?

I live alone because I love having my own private oasis where I can be myself 100% and have complete control over my environment.  I highly value beauty and a reasonable amount of order, so living alone means no one messes up or pollutes my space in any way (without my permission).  I also live alone because I haven’t yet found my Beloved with whom to share my oasis!

Managing stress and staying grounded

During times of stress, I typically reach out to my sister and close friends/members of “my tribe” for support, advice or venting.  I journal and put helpful thoughts and images on my visioning walls.  I do self care:  napping, watching a movie, taking a bath, exercising, digging in the dirt, laying in the grass, hugging a tree (really) etc.  The earth grounds me and sci-fi movies help me leave the planet for a while.

Memo, my tabby.   Photo credit:  the author
Memo, my tabby.
Photo credit: the author

I’m a gregarious introvert so being alone rarely bothers me.  I like my own company and my solitude and when I’m content and calm I frequently crack myself up!  I do get lonely at times, but typically I feel more lonely being around the “wrong” people, or in groups of strangers than by myself.  I also have a 15-year old tabby who is the best roommate EVER, and my longest relationship with a male!  Male cats are to me the best of cat and dog worlds.  He waits for me, greets me at the door, follows me around and talks to me… yet also snuggles, keeps himself super clean and entertains himself when I’m away or busy.  Snuggling with him and laughing at his hilariousness is some of the best heart medicine.


As a solo dweller I spend holidays with my sister, friends, parties for “strays”, my partner when I’m in relationship, or even alone.  The latter sounds pitiful to some, but to me it can be quite nice — no drama, expectations, cooking disasters or dishes!

Staying safe

Having grown up in the L.A. area, and having lived in or traveled to some of the biggest cities in the world, I’m really good at paying attention to my surroundings, listening to my instincts, deterring predators with my nonverbal behavior and habitually exercising what I call “urban precautions” whenever I’m walking, in my car, or even in my own yard.  Also, any time I have to climb on my roof to do swamp cooler maintenance I either do it when I know my neighbors are home, or in front of my house (not the back).  This way, anyone passing by will see me lying bloody in my yard or driveway if anything went awry!

Sharing my space

Record number of Goldfinches on my back feeder in 2010.  Photo credit:  the author
Record number of Goldfinches on my back feeder in 2010. Photo credit: the author

I would absolutely live with my future Beloved as long as he’s neat, clean, respectful, and understands my need for physical and emotional space.  (Actually, I don’t think I’d date anyone seriously that didn’t meet those criteria!)  The two times I’ve lived with a man (one partner, one husband) we negotiated that stuff fairly well – that’s not why the relationships ended.  I think sharing space again would involve some negotiation and co-creating clarity, and I envision ease around understanding what each other wants and needs, space-wise and otherwise.

Other singletons I know 

Besides Kimberlee I think I have four other friends my age (forty-ish) and my sister who live alone.  One of my friends has her 9-year-old daughter part time.  We don’t talk about it, other than how much we dig it – unless we’re sick.  Our pets haven’t quite figured out how to make us soup or go to the pharmacy!

My future

I do think about the health risks of living alone as I age (no one around to pick me up off the floor), but if I end up being unpartnered in my crone years I plan to seek some kind of roommate or communal non-nursing home living situation.

–Susana Rinderle

March 2015

Susana Rinderle is an Albuquerque-based trainer, coach, facilitator and President of Susana Rinderle Consulting, LLC.  She’s ending racism by helping good people turn good intentions into positive impacts.  She also equips organizations to create inclusive environments where brilliance and excellence flourish.  Susana has travelled to (for business or pleasure) over half the states in the US and 15 additional countries.  She has lived in Mexico twice and been to half of the Mexican states.  Susana is also a poet and spoken word artist, as well as an occasional singer-songwriter and dancer.  She’s been a competitive runner, fitness instructor, and boxer, but now mostly lifts weights, takes spinning classes and walks a lot.  She’s the oldest of three children and the sixth Jane (her middle name) in a row through her matrilineage.  She loves trees, birds, rocks, gardening, hiking and the outdoors.  

Susana Rinderle.  Photo credit: the author
Susana Rinderle.
Photo credit: the author

This is part of the Who but You? living alone series.  Check out the other posts!  They are published every Monday.

Join the Who but You? project:  e-mail your story, prose, poetry, art and/or photos about living alone to powerofpaperzines@gmail.com for consideration.  Please include a brief Bio.  For more information, click on the Who but You? Project tab at the top of this blog’s main page.  ( https://whobutyouproject.wordpress.com/who-but-you-series/ )

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. christyhardenc says:

    Susana I loved your post and I relate to it completely!!! As I’m reading this, it’s just now occurring to me that we are a little cadre of women who have found a little piece of heaven in our own spaces, and that that ‘s a pretty wonderful thing (Kim, you’re creating a community here where there was only solitude before, what an amazing thing!) I suppose loving our alone time is also a good weeder-outer: if I’d rather be at home alone than with a particular person or doing a particular thing, then maybe that person or thing is not for me. On the other hand, I tend to notice it’s all in the balance of alone/social time, and after I’ve been on a social tear that I crave being alone, although there have been times when I’d just broken up with a boyfriend and was SOOOO happy to have time and space to myself, but then after the three days in which I absolutely relish ever moment to myself, I start looking around and thinking “huh, who can I call for lunch?” If I lived in ABQ, I’d give you a ring, and you and Kimmmmmeeeee and I could have a jasmine tea on a porch under a veranda and watch birds, laugh and know we’ve all found, no matter its downsides, something magical in living alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Cristy, thank you so much! I think you saw my comment on your piece last week? Indeed I can also very much relate to everything you say about balance. When I left my then husband and moved to Albuquerque I was practically gleeful about living alone and thought it would be a temporary phase, but here I am almost 13 years later! YES to what you say about Kim and her brilliant idea and being a catalyst to creating community! I’d love for us ALL to get together. I’m so sad you’re not in ABQ I’d love to meet you!! 😦


  2. Reblogged this on Purple Lyrics and commented:
    It’s been an honor and a personal growth journey to participate in this series by my friend and fellow writer Kimberlee Adonna. Enjoy!


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