The people you live with may be people who put up with you because you pay your share of the rent or people who love you, or both. They may be very clever, or know a lot about a couple of things, or not too bright about anything. Regardless, they will probably tell you what they think.
When you live with another person or persons, you have an audible conscience. If you are about to do something regrettable, someone will probably tell you that you are being stupid. These are the people who care enough about you to not let you drive drunk, or not buy the latest iPhone just because it is the latest, or not run off with the fairground barker just because you think you are in love. They care, and more importantly, they see the bigger picture.
If you are trying to make a difficult decision, someone will be your devil’s advocate. When you can’t decide which university program to take, they’ll talk you through all the pros and cons. When you have been offered a job in a different city, they’ll figure out how hard or easy it would be to make visits home. They’ll point out that there is always Skype.
If you are being lazy, someone will give you a real or psychological kick in the rear end to get the grass cut or the dishes washed. If you have been postponing doing your homework, they will remind you that you are running out of time. If you have watched three movies today, they will point out that the fourth is probably one too many.
When you live alone, on the other hand, you don’t have those voices of reason, or experience, or common sense. You only have the voices in your head. Sometimes those voices sound like your mother. They will tell you that Monday is wash day, or that you are getting grumpy so you should probably eat something.
Sometimes the voices in your head sound like you in your prime. They are motivating, energetic and inspiring. Heck, they could write Hallmark cards while climbing a mountain and quoting Gandhi. These are the voices that get you to evening classes, or yoga, or a new Meetup.com group meeting.
At other times, the thoughts you hear come from a more intellectual place. They argue. In fact, arguing is their best thing. They will give you a dozen reasons not to go outside, or con you into reading yet another online news article, or detail of all the worst things that might have happened to someone you haven’t heard from recently. These voices are sometimes good company but you need to shut them up after about an hour.
Like actual voices, the voices in your head have their limitations. They need to be heeded sometimes and ignored sometimes. They are sometimes just a pain in the ass and impossible to please.
Now, go and make yourself useful.
Image source: CBS New York