For almost a year I have had my own place. No roommates, no family. Just me, my books, and my intrusive thoughts. I have obviously lived on my own for most of my adult life, however, this is the first time that I have a space all to myself. It has been a crazy year and having my own space has become a lifesaver.
I had roommates in the past and briefly lived back home since I graduated high school. A few of my roommates I would still regard as friends (who I really should text back at some point). However, I have had my fair share of apartment horror stories during my college years that have made it a life goal of mine to live alone as soon as I could financially afford it.
Cleaning and cooking habits
I have been forced to come face to face with my own cleaning habits and cooking skills. When you live by yourself there isn’t anyone to blame for the dirty dishes in the sink besides yourself. I do clean and try to keep a clean home, but it can be difficult when you’re one person with ADHD and depression. All of the chores fall on me, and it is exhausting. And yes, there are times when the dishes are left in the sink for a day… or two. Living alone has made me become well aware of how bad my cleaning habits were in the past. I can now say I have a favorite floor cleaner brand and using a brand new sponge gives me a rush of serotonin.
Even though my first few months of living alone were rough, my apartment was still a million times cleaner than when I lived with certain previous roommates. I am okay with cleaning up after myself, but I will never go back to cleaning up another grown adult ever again.
Not having to check with a roommate
My place has pretty much become my sanctuary over the past year. It is 100% my own space that is all mine. I don’t have to consult another person when I want to rearrange the furniture or add more wall décor, which I found at a thrift store that I thought would look cute on the shelf. If I occasionally have someone over, I don’t have to check to see if it’s okay. It’s truly an independent place for me to do whatever I want.
This can also be a concerning predicament as well. For instance, if I fall off my ladder or choke on a chip, then there is literally no one around to help. This might be my anxiety talking, but I have developed this irrational fear of dying alone in my apartment and no one knowing where I am. I’ve seen enough of this plot point in sitcoms to make me feel like this is a real possibility. Luckily for me, I have some ‘concerned’ neighbors who notice when my car hasn’t left my spot in more than two days and knock on my door to check on me. Maybe developing rapport with your neighbors is not such a terrible idea.
As an introvert, I need my own space to recharge away from other people. Social interactions can be draining and sometimes I just want to be alone in my reading corner for the night. Yes, I actually have a reading corner now and it is extremely cute. When I was living with family, roommates, or even a significant other I often felt obligated to cut my ‘alone time’ down because I was told I was being anti-social. I still get these comments when I am home alone on a Saturday night. Most Saturday nights. But alone time, I have found, is really important to our mental health. If you are incapable of being alone with yourself, there is something that should be addressed.
I recently saw a quote that stated, “It took living alone for me to really get to know myself”. I have often mirrored my personality and interests with the people I surrounded myself with. The opinions and thoughts of other people had shaped me into someone that I really didn’t identify with. Being left alone with my own thoughts, ideas, and impulses has made me explore who I am as a person. Trying new hobbies and doing things on my own terms opened me to things that I wouldn’t have thought to try if I wasn’t alone. When you are left to your own devices there is no limit to what you can do.
I have legally been an adult for about seven years now and trust me when I say that I am far from having anything figured out. I just learned that my dishwasher has a filter that I needed to regularly cleanout. I have walked this earth for 25 years and someone is telling me this now? Every day when something happens, something breaks, or I need to figure out who to call for certain things, I feel empowered whenever I finally find the answer. Living alone has become my sort-of introduction to being a truly independent adult.
All and all, the experience of living in my own space is a privilege of its own. Not many people have the financial means to have a living space that is not shared with another person. Nor do many people find themselves in a situation where they are completely living on their own. My experience with occupying my own space has been mostly positive. There have been some hiccups along the way, but that is just a part of life. Whether it’s a house, apartment, or even a shed or basement, everyone deserves a space that they can claim as their own.
If it’s financially feasible for you, I would highly recommend you live alone at least once in your life. It gives you the opportunity to explore who you are as an individual and can create positive cleanliness and living habits that you can bring into any space shared with anyone. Plus, there is the perk of decorating without having to consult another person. That is always a pro to any con.
If you are currently living by yourself, what have your experiences been like? Share a comment and let me know!