Lessons Learned from Living Alone
By: Sanjana Padmanabhan
Moving to a new city? Tired of having roommates? Living alone can seem daunting at first, but it’s probably one of the best, most life-changing experiences you can have! It allows you to truly figure out your personality and limits, AND, it’s surprising how much you can do on your own. You may find some valuable lessons (and surprises!) in the process. Here are some big takeaways I have found by living alone for 3ish years.
The first one is obvious - there is no one else there when you need someone there.
This means you will have to kill those spiders on your own, ignore those noises from the ceiling on your own, and make yourself feel better with no one else’s shoulder to cry on. These things seem scary initially, but make you extremely self-reliant and resilient.
You may find that you are cleaner/messier than you think!
Living alone means all the chores go to you! That means doing dishes, taking out the trash, and vacuuming becomes a part of your lifestyle. You may also find that you don’t need as much stuff as you think you do. Things accumulate quickly, whether it’s clothes, shoes, or mail (especially mail!), so it’s important to stay on top of cleaning and organizing your home yourself. But don’t worry, this will become second nature to you very soon.
The TV is all yours (yay) - but so is the cable bill!
Another important lesson I learned was how to become completely financially independent. That not only means paying your bills on time but also budgeting the rest of your life accordingly. Since you’re on your own, life can get pretty expensive pretty quickly, so it’s important to keep a budget (and stick to it!).
Cooking for one is surprisingly difficult.
Initially, I figured cooking for one would be easy since I knew my portion size and it was just myself I was cooking for. Surprisingly, it’s incredibly difficult to cook a meal and not have leftovers! Even buying groceries becomes a hassle because it’s hard to use up vegetables and dairy before they go bad. This forces you to reevaluate your grocery choices and plan out your meal prep ideas for the week ahead of time. Staying organized is key!
You will find out whether you’re an introvert or extrovert.
Living alone can definitely get lonely. However, it can also be incredibly freeing to do whatever you please on your own. You will definitely learn whether you prefer nights in with Netflix and wine, or the company of your friends on a Friday night. The important lesson here is finding a good balance between the two since it can get pretty easy to hole yourself up at home. You may also realize that you become more grateful for those precious moments with friends!
Last but not least, you become your own role model (for better or for worse)!
Since you’re on your own and forced to become incredibly independent, you may find that you can do so much more on your own than you thought! Being independent means you have time to focus (or re-focus) on your hobbies and enjoy being with yourself. You may also find that you enjoy drinking alone (which is perfectly fine by the way). All these things allow you to grow into a stronger version of your past self.
Hopefully, these lessons have appeased some concerns about living alone and made you more excited about it. This phase of having complete freedom and space may be harder to come by in the future, so embrace it and enjoy it while it lasts!