Six months ago, I found myself sitting outside a coffee shop, eagerly signing a lease for my first one-bedroom apartment in NW Portland. I would be living by myself for the first time and I couldn’t wait. I always thought I’d enjoy living alone, being a rare breed of extrovert that also needs solo time to recharge and get centered. I smiled as my landlord and I flipped through pink pages of paper, scribbling signatures on each one. Total independence felt closer than ever.
I moved in later that week with the few belongings I had leftover from college, and spent a lot of time sitting on my couch happily confused about what to do next. The next few months were a fast learning experience as I became very familiar with the ups and downs of living on my own. Half a year and a lot of Amazon purchases later, these are my insights on the matter.
You’ll get lonely
Yep, you will. And it’s fine. A little loneliness is part of the human experience, and there’s nothing wrong with feeling it. If you live alone, there will inevitably be times you’re bored or wish someone was there to help you occupy your time. Guess what? That’s why humans invented Netflix.
Loneliness can actually be quite empowering because it gives us space to be with ourselves and reflect on what we need. When you’re all alone, it’s easier to see what parts of your life need improvement, as well as the parts you’re perfectly content with. Having my own place has given me even more room to take ownership over my life (a common theme for me) and given me the push I need to make changes that will make me happy in the long run.
You’ll put sh*t together (kind of)
Like anyone else who enjoys poorly made mass-produced Swedish furniture, I shop at IKEA. In the past, I always had a roommate or two to help me assemble my cumbersome purchases. Unfortunately, when you live alone things aren’t as simple. You’ll need to unpack everything yourself and actually read the manual.
Or, instead of doing the very reasonable work of putting together your own furniture, you can make your boyfriend do it like I did. (If you don’t have a boyfriend, I advise getting one prior to living alone so he can build all of your furniture and carry anything too heavy.)
You’ll be responsible
This can apply to any living situation, but my experience living alone has really forced me into more responsibility than I was expecting. From paying bills to cleaning showers, I’m the only responsible party. No one else is going to help with the dishes and take out the trash. You may even experience a “Monica Phase” where you begin cleaning with a frequency and zest previously unknown to you.
Your home will be your oasis
One of the absolute best parts of living alone is the freedom to furnish your place however you want. You can finally make your Pinterest dreams a reality! I’ve spent much of the last six months shopping for the perfect pieces to make my place look and feel just right. It’s surprisingly rewarding when you find that special something you’ve been looking for. Who knew coasters and coffee tables could be so exciting? When you live by yourself, you can dictate exactly how you want things to be, and take pride in the fact that you built your humble empire.