I’ve lived by myself for about a year now, and can honestly say I love it. Like properly, selfishly adore it: I feel like I could now never live with roommates after experiencing having my own place – I think I’d kill them. (Just kidding.) (Or am I?)
Living by yourself is seriously different than living with friends or family (duh), which admittedly took a while to get used to. Here’s what I’ve learnt living solo…
close the curtains
Living alone makes you forget about boundaries. And when I say boundaries, I mean walking around in your underwear (or worse, naked. Sorry for that visual image.) Because there’s no-one else at home, I often feel like I don’t necessarily have to put clothes on straight away after a shower, or when I get out of bed – but your neighbors have eyes, so closing the curtains becomes a real necessity.
you’re more resilient than you think
The other week, my bin-bag got stuck inside my bin. It was a weird, vacuum-style situation, where the bin liner wouldn’t budge, and I spent a good ten minutes of my life trying to wrench it out. In a normal situation, you’d ask someone for help, but – bummer – you’re on your own. Learning to (for want of a better phrase) sort your shit out is a huge part of living by yourself – whether that’s doing your own laundry, dealing with spiders, doing some DIY or fixing things, if you don’t do it, nobody else will…
budgeting is suddenly really important
I swear to God, I spend my life paying my council tax. And my energy bills. And the TV license fee, which I pay quarterly so forget all about until it suddenly leaves my bank account. When you live alone, you have to pay everything in full, which sucks – so budgeting is super important. Be vigilant and make sure you’ve set up direct debits and keep all the hard copies of your bills – it’s boring, but depressingly necessary.
the mess is your mess
There’s no one to blame for all that washing up but yourself – but at the same time, there’s no one to destroy your tidy living room after you go out. I love the fact that if I decide to live like a slob for a few days, nobody is going to moan at you; it may be a hovel, but it’s your hovel.
spend some time on the little things
This is a bit of a weird one – but living alone means the simple, everyday things you’d do with other people might be overlooked. Things like breakfast on the weekend: even though it’s just you, have a lazy morning with nice coffee and cute pastries. Light candles, even though there’s no one else to smell them – have music on, even though it’s just you to hear it. In short: treat yoself.
there’s a difference between being alone and being lonely
“But don’t you get lonely?” is the question I’m most asked when I tell people I choose to live by myself, and, undeniably, something which crossed my mind as I signed my lease. Sometimes – when you’ve had a crap day, or you feel a bit down – coming home to an empty apartment can feel a little flat; it would be nice to have someone there to bitch and moan to. But that doesn’t mean you’re lonely – it just means you need to pick up the phone and vent at a friend, instead, and then, like all things, that feeling will pass.