For my entire life, I’ve been a big proponent of alone time. When filling out my rooming preferences for my freshman year of college, I actually requested a single. If I was going to be surrounded by a lot of people all the time, I was going to NEED my own space. While on a run the summer before I started college, I looked down at my phone to see three new Facebook friend requests. My head starts spinning: who are these girls? I looked at the date and it all clicked. This was the day we were supposed to receive our roommate assignments. Heart sinking, fearing the inevitable, I checked my email and saw the names of the three friend requests listed as my roommates. I began to panic. This is the exact opposite of what I had asked for.
Miraculously, I survived this living situation, and still remain best friends with my roommates. For the rest of my college years, I never had less than three other roommates, and never even had my own bedroom.
Upon graduation and the beginning of my “adulting” career, I had two major goals: 1) find a decent job and 2) find an apartment that I can afford to live in alone. Much to my pleasure, I was able to do both within a matter of months post graduation.
Living alone was a bigger adjustment than I ever expected, but has turned into a huge blessing and adventure for myself. However, enjoying living alone didn’t come easy, and didn’t come quickly. For all my readers who live alone, or are considering living alone, here are some of the tips and lessons I have learned along the way:
- Make the space your own. Since this might be the first time you are living in entirely your own space, make it feel like a space that you want to be in. You have the opportunity to add your own style and accessories to the space. The more you make your home look like YOUR home, the more it will feel like yours. Besides, the only stylist you need to appease is yourself.
- Familiarize yourself with your neighborhood. No matter if you are moving to a new city, or simply a new part of the city, you’ll want to get to know the area that surrounds you and explore. Take time to explore your new surroundings; find your new favorite coffee shop, bar, takeout restaurant, and walking route. The more you make your area feel like your home with your “spots”, the more comfortable you will be.
- Be your own best friend. Living alone, you will no longer have the luxury of just knocking on your roommate’s door and going on some adventure with them. You will have to be content making plans with yourself at times. For me, it took a bit for me to actually get back in touch with what I actually liked to do on my own, and to reconnect with myself. Take time to reflect on what your ideal day to yourself might be, and fill your free time with those activities.
- BUT, regularly schedule dates with your other friends. The key to not get too lonely living alone is to always have some kind of friend interaction planned. Never let yourself go too long being alone; if you don’t have some kind of friend outing planned (or a FaceTime call), get to planning ASAP. It can often help you be more comfortable spending time alone if you know that you have events planned with others.
- Make everything an occasion. Instead of framing time I spend by myself to “just another night alone”, I try to make each night an occasion. Maybe it’s a taco night where I can cook at home and grab a margarita to go; maybe it’s the night that I rewatch my favorite rom com for the 7th time. No matter what it is, give yourself something to look forward to, and it’ll make your time alone all the more valuable.
- Find your allies. Finally, it never hurts to have a couple of friends in your neighbors, especially when living alone. You want to make sure you have some points of contact closeby, in case of emergency, or in case of extreme boredom and loneliness. While it might be awkward at first, take time to introduce yourself to your neighbors, and exchange numbers.
Living alone is an opportunity for you to learn and grow, and be connected to yourself. Take Time to get into your own routine- what is stopping you?