Living alone is the most overwhelming and exciting experience I have ever had. Before I moved abroad, I used to live with my parents (and even shared a room with my five-year younger sister). Even since, I’ve lived with roomies; my previous accommodation was a shared flat with 27 people!
(FIY, it was crazy and awesome; and surprisingly more comfortable than it sounds.)
So can you just try and imagine the transition: being surrounded by two dozen Erasmus students turned into living solo in a one-person studio apartment. So freaky, right?
Perhaps the most difficult thing to adjust to was the newfound solitude.
I had to get used to living in my own head; eating all my meals alone and being fully responsible for buying milk when it’s finished. I got used to drinking my morning coffee without milk, by the way.
Living the solo life does, indeed, require a certain level of adjustment but in the end, it turns out to be just right.
I’ve learned so much about myself in those eight months (I just counted them and OH MY GOD, time goes so fast). While being on your own can be challenging at times, it is an amazing opportunity to dig deeper into who you are and who you want to become; and dedicate those alone moments to working on yourself and achieving your goals.
I put together a simple list of key takeaways from my personal experience of living on my own. Are thinking about moving out of your shared accommodation? If you’re on the verge of renting your first solo apartment, here’s what you need to know.
Give yourself some time to adjust to living alone
The first week you’ll probably be like “Living on my own feels sooo grown-up. That’s sooo cool!”. Then, things are likely to change. You’ll realize that you have to become more responsible and independent, and to think of a way to fill in those moments that you used to spend chatting with your flatmates.
My advice is: find yourself a hobby.
Challenge yourself with becoming the absolute craft-person, trying out those great DIY tutorials you’ve always admired on Pinterest; mastering the art of paper folding or well, starting a blog (which is what I did). You need to learn to entertain yourself at home, otherwise you have two options: be terribly bored or… be terribly broke.
Take on the opportunity to discover yourself
Living on your own will give you all the time you need to find who you are—without the influence that other people might exert on you; the real and unapologetic YOU. Feeling lonely is perfectly okay but instead of crying it out, use it as a chance to focus on your life and get to know your strengths and weaknesses.
Don’t be a loner, though, do go out
Nearly three months of my living alone experience coincided with a very low point of my life. I had cut off my relationships with almost any living thing in my town. I’d spend days not talking with anyone. The groceries store would be the furthest I’d get. THAT’S NOT HOW THINGS SHOULD BE.
Honestly, this way-too-much-alone time really messed with my head.
That was one of the reasons I started my blog, to remain somewhat sane. The point is, don’t do that. Force yourself to go out and meet people even if you don’t feel like it. Just do it.
Turn your bad habits into a healthy lifestyle
I’ve already talked about my worst habits ever. You need to ditch your unhealthy lifestyle and start building daily habits that are good for your mental and physical health. That means no more binge-watching, less take-outs and more physical activity.
Frankly, when you live on your own, it is much easier to fall victim of bad habits. There is no one to supervise you, no one guide you or give you a little push—no one BUT YOU. Living alone requires a newfound sense of responsibility. It comes with the realization that the way your life is depends on your own actions.
Don’t be scared but make sure you have a good security
Here’s a bit of a scary thought—you wake up and hear some disturbing noise. And BAM, you realize you have to cope with the situation on your own. In the first days of living on my own I was a little bit freaked out. Then I got used to it. All you need to do is ensure you have a good security system. My advice is: meet your neighbors and be nice to them.
Design your space the way you want it
That’s undoubtedly my most favorite part. You get to choose the aesthetics of your own space so allow yourself to get crazy! Really, go nuts and turn all your beloved Pinterest boards into reality. I’ve always tried to customize my living space in a way that fits my personality. But only when I started living alone did I understand what real freedom is.
PS. I admit, I’ve spent way too much money and time in IKEA. Don’t do that. It’s not healthy for your bank account.
Designing a welcoming and comfortable home is extremely important when you live on your own. It helps you deal with the side effects of the solo life; and feel happy to just be there. I love the way my studio looks and feels, with its turquoise accents, walls covered with photos and books scattered all around.
Keep your apartment CLEAN
Another just as important aspect of living in your own place is KEEPING IT NEAT. If you’ve lived with roomies (or your mom), you are probably used to having a cleaning schedule and to maintaining a certain level of cleanliness (well, in the case of living with 20+ people, for me that level was below zero).
You’ll have to develop the habit of looking after your place. Don’t get me wrong. You don’t have to become a Monica but certainly you’ll feel much more comfortable and more grown-up if you use the vacuum cleaner at least once or twice a week.
Last but not least, get ready to kill a spider
I consider killing my first spider one of my greatest solo life achievements. I’m really, really scared of any kind of bugs that exists; and somehow they all insist to share my living space. Seriously, unnamed and terrifying flying insect, GET OUT, I’M LIVING ON MY OWN.
There you have it—my personal experience with living on my own for the first time.
It is scary; it’s totally mind-boggling and eye-opening.
That’s how it is supposed to be. Everything that helps you evolve as a person is supposed to make you feel a little bit terrified and deeply excited.
So, how about you? Are you living alone or you’re still hanging out with your roomies?