I’ve been dreaming of living on my own for as long as I can remember. I used to think that having your own apartment meant you had truly arrived. You were basically Mary Tyler Moore and you could do anything. Living by yourself means you’re an adult. Someone trusts you with your own space. You’re renting an apartment or house or, hell, maybe if you’ve really got your shit together you own the place where you reside.
However, just like Mary Richards, you discover that your fancy new adult life is also full of stresses like starting a new job, making new friends, paying for things on your own like rent and food, and figuring out what to tell people when they ask why you don’t have a boyfriend. I’ve lived on my own for about a month now and some pretty crazy things have happened in that time. Like just the other day when I was sitting in my living room watching TV and the light bulb in one of my lamps completely exploded and shattered glass all over me. I survived but I spent an hour trying to pick it up while I accidentally left the channel on Nickelodeon where the movie “Liar Liar Vampire” was on because I was in too much of a panic to change the channel. Important lessons learned that night: don’t have your light bulbs screwed in too tight. No idea what the Nickelodeon thing means yet.
Here are some other things I have learned living by myself so far:
- You’re by yourself. I mean, duh. But you really are all alone. You can’t walk down the hallway to visit your roommate for a chat. All of my friends are just a quick car ride away but I am essentially by myself a lot more than I ever was when in college and back home. It’s quiet, but after busy days of work or nights out with friends the silence can be weirdly satisfying.
- Sometimes the smoke alarm goes off and there’s no fire. My smoke alarm loves to go off when it’s a little warm in my apartment. Usually if I take a long shower or when I use the oven at a high heat it starts to beep like crazy. And yes, I’ve checked the battery several times. My landlord said it just happens if the apartment gets humid. Joy! The other day it was pretty chilly outside and the alarm started to go off while I was using the oven so I turned my air on and every fan I owned to shut it up.
- You’re exhausted when you get home and no one can judge you for taking a nap. Naps before dinner and TV watching are great. Speaking of…
- You control the TV. Always. You get it.
- Strange sounds are legit everywhere. You’ll hear a lot of weird sounds when you live alone. You’ll be scared at first but eventually you get used to them. Like now I’m totally used to one woman on my floor talking to her cat in the hallway.
- Cooking for one is ridiculous. You make too much and can never eat the leftovers fast enough. There’s only so many nights in a row I can eat sloppy joes! I’m also terrified to leave my crock pot on when I’m not home.
- You’re the one living in your own filth. I can’t blame roommates anymore for a mess. If there’s a mess in my apartment chances are it’s my fault.
- And to that point, you have to clean ALL THE TIME. Since when does stuff get that dirty so quickly?!
- Your parents call a lot more than they used to. Maybe it’s just me, but my parents are constantly checking in on me, even more so than college. I think they knew that in college I would be with friends, in class, or studying. Now that I have my nights and weekend free I could be gallivanting all over the city doing crazy things! But I also just think they miss me and are also confused by my new adult status.
- Suddenly hobbies seem like a good idea. When I was in school I had no time for hobbies unless it was an extracurricular that would get me a job. I would shake my head at people who actually had time to do things like run and knit. Now I have all this free time and I really want to find something to do with it. Maybe I’ll finally take up guitar lessons or learn how to make cheesecake.