10 things I learned from living alone

I have had tons of roommates during my seven years of college. After I graduated grad school, I got my first apartment completely on my own. I had been dreaming about this for years; my own space, my own life and all the freedom I ever wanted. Although it has been a phenomenal experience, it was not exactly like I thought it would be.

Here is what I learned:

1. It is REALLY difficult. This is something no one ever talks about. On TV you see a strong, independent female living alone in a luxurious apartment and she has it all. The reality is that some of us don’t have a luxurious apartment, sometimes we have a tiny, old one which needs a lot of work to maintain. Having to take care of everything is extremely overwhelming at times.

2. It’s all on you / no one is there to help you. I’m talking everything – from bills, to cleaning, to grocery shopping, and tons more. You can’t passive aggressively not throw out the trash for a week and wait for your roommate to do it. You are your own roommate, so if you don’t throw out the trash you will get rats and cockroaches (no really, you will). Even if you have friends or family come over and they help, in the end all of the responsibility is on you.

3. It is sometimes scary. I’ve watched way too much Law & Order and now I am constantly worried about getting abducted/ murdered. I can’t even watch thrillers any longer. When I lived with roommates I could watch horror shows for days. There is something about being alone that puts you slightly on edge at times.

4. Try to find a place where your landlord lives in the building. Issues likes pests, heat, and noise are probably your landlords’ favorite thing to ignore. Your property owner or landlord can get away with murder, and probably will. You can try calling them 20x but at the end of the day they don’t have to answer you. You are much more likely to get a response if you were banging on the door.

5. The intangibles add up so budget. There are so many little things you have to buy, which you didn’t have to think of before. Especially if you are coming from living with your family, this will be a huge adjustment. Things like cleaning supplies, toilet paper, forks and other random items like that easily add up to a few hundred dollars of you get everything at once.

6. It can be lonely at times. If you are used to coming home to a big family, or noisy roommates, the silence and loneliness can be a lot to take in. Sometimes you just want to go home to someone and tell them all about your day, but you go home alone.

7. The freedom and peace is incredible. Although it can be lonely at times, I wouldn’t change it for the world. When you have roommates you sometimes have to compromise. For example, I had psychotic roommates who wouldn’t let me blow dry my hair each morning yet they would stay up until 2 am each night talking on the phone. When you live alone, you can blow dry your hair at any hour of the day, and you can even leave the blow dryer out on the counter for days if you so please. It may be seen as selfish, but little things like that make me happy and as an adult I should be able to do what I want and when I want to.

8. Produce expires faster when you are paying for it. It seems as though nothing in grocery stores cater to one person. And if there are individually wrapped goods or items for one, they are more expensive. Although it may be weird, get used to buying one pepper, one onion, one roll. Also, you will likely need to freeze a lot of your produce if you are like me and cannot use it before it goes bad.

9. Be friendly with your neighbors. You don’t know when you may forget your key and your landlord lives an hour away. It is good to have people near that are on your side instead of against you just in case of an emergency.

10. It’s important to enjoy your time alone. You may have the rest of your life to live with a partner, child, or pet. Take this time to be selfish and enjoy your time. If you do not want to have people over, don’t.

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