I have a lot of friends that have always lived with someone else, whether is roommates, family, or a spouse. They often remark to me "I always wish I had had the chance to live on my own for a bit". Because, when you live with another person, those alone times are these strange, stolen moments that they enjoy. They envision living alone as peace and freedom. I thought I would write a bit today about the truths of living alone.
1. You are alone. A lot.
I work in an office of 3 people. There are many days where I am the only person in the office all day, and then I go home to my condo and sit at home all night. I actually can manage to go through an entire day without speaking! It is really weird at first, but I get used to it. And if I get bored, I make plans with friends to go out. I also talk to people online all day so I never truly feel disconnected. Point is- you have to be prepared to spend the day with yourself. Luckily I have found I enjoy my own company!
2. It's quiet
Like, really quiet. When I lost my voice at New Year's due to a bad cold, I actually found myself talking to myself to test my voice and it was very strange. I also have my TV going all the time at home. I cancelled my cable for a year, but I still found myself turning on Netflix or putting in a movie to break the silence. I don't even watch the TV much, I just enjoy having noise around me. When I have the TV off I feel sleepy because my body has learned that silence= bedtime :)
3. The most terrifying noise is a knock at the door
I know I am not alone in this. I am terrified to answer my door and I often mute the TV and pretend I am not home. The one time I opened the door some kid roped me into buying a bunch of chocolate covered almonds (kid was good). The problem is it isn't always a cute kid selling deliciousness. Most of the time my mind thinks "AXE MURDERER!". But the polite kind- the kind who knock first.
4. No one is watching out for you
The first thing I thought when I moved into my own place was "I am going to eat healthy and exercise more because I will be responsible for only myself!". You know what actually happens? You eat an entire large pizza in one evening because no one is there to witness your shame. I also miss sharing junk food! When I had a roomie, she and I would split that large pizza!
5. It's all on you
No one is there to buy the groceries, clean the condo, or pay the bills but ME. If I lose my job, there is no second income to coast on until I figure stuff out. When I am tired after work, there is no person to cook me dinner and do the cleaning up (I assume all husbands do that, right?). You have to become pretty independent because no one else is going to be looking out for you. For instance- right now my fridge has half a green pepper, some eggs, and some moldy cheese in it. I have no one to blame but me. There is also no one to share the chores with. If the bathroom is disgusting I have no one else to blame.
6. No one is there to take care of you
A couple of years ago I got the flu- bad. Then I was prescribed Tamiflu, which I ended up having a bad reaction to. I have never been so sick in my life! It was horrible and there was no one around to help me. If I wanted ginger ale or crackers I had to put on pants a drag my butt through the cold to buy some. There was no one to rub my back, bring me meds and water, and help me feel better. One of my biggest fears is breaking my leg because I have no idea how I would survive on my own.
7. It's expensive
You can rent a one bedroom apartment in Toronto for like $1600 (depends on the area, but just go with me here). If you are sharing with a significant other, that is only $800 each! A bachelor apartment? It will be at LEAST $1000. Units comparable to mine go for $1200 a month. It is insane! Factor in the fact that you can't split cable, internet, or buying furniture, and you are looking at a pretty expensive lifestyle!
8. Cooking for one is hard
Unless you enjoy eating the same leftovers all the time, cooking for one is hard. I often find I am finding ways to halve recipes or I have to eat the same dish for 4 or more meals! I also find ingredients take so much longer to use up, and this is a problem when a recipe calls for something perishable! You soon learn to shopping and cooking carefully because you and you alone are responsible for eating all that food.
9. No "helping hand"
Need someone to hold up that frame while you look at it from a distance? Or how about zipping up the back of that dress? You won't find any help around here! You will have to get creative or just accept that it will take you a few tries to get something right. I haven't had a properly sunblocked back in years, but that is a sacrifice I make.
That being said, I don't think I will ever regret the decision to live on my own. I love the freedom of living on my own and I think there is no better way to really learn about yourself and become accountable to yourself. I just hope that I haven't become so selfish that living with another person will be a hard adjustment ;)