Ever since I was an angsty teenager, I’ve always had a fantasy of living in my own place without a roommate. A place where I don’t have to clean up after anyone but myself, a place where the hot water never runs out during your shower, and a place I could really call my own. As I am residentially based this year with our Beta Xi Chapter in Memphis, Tennessee, my dream is finally becoming a reality. I moved into my own apartment for the first time a little under a month ago, and since then, I’ve learned a lot about what it’s really like living alone.
I learned that no matter how much HGTV you watch, decorating is hard.
Moving into my apartment, I expected to create a space similar to what you see in a Property Brothers after renovation photo. Instead, I have a fake plant borrowed from my mom, more crafts than I have wall space for, and enough Christmas lights to make Santa jealous. Even though I may not have all the bells and whistles, making a space feel like home is what makes you happy to come home after the end of a long day.
I learned that a gallon of milk spoils way too quickly for one person to drink.
And fresh vegetables definitely do not last forever. Making the transition to cooking for one is interesting and difficult, but there are so many great websites to teach you how to cook for yourself as well as meal prepping for those busy weeks. My favorites right now are thegormetgab.com (which is run by a Sigma Kappa!) and greatist.com/health/healthy-single-serving-meals!
I learned that you can never EVER watch scary movies, or you’ll never sleep or take a peaceful shower again.
I learned this very soon after moving in. I am a huge fan of scary movies but have always felt secure after knowing there were other people living with me. When you live alone, every unknown sound, creak or footstep from your upstairs neighbor immediately makes you think Norman Bates from Psycho is coming after you. Making sure your living arrangements have appropriate security and locking your doors helps with this, as well as keeping a flashlight and a way to defend yourself in reach while you sleep, just in case.
Although I’ve learned the not so glamorous aspects of living alone, I’ve also been able to learn the benefits that come from it!
It helped me become more healthy
Like I talked about above, eating for one can be hard but it’s worth it. Living alone means you have direct control over the food that you buy which means random cookies you just HAVE to help eat won’t show up on your counter. Focusing on making quality food to help get through the day has been my main focus, and it’s really helped me get on a schedule and feel physically better.
It helped me curb my obsession of getting a puppy (for now)
Don’t get me wrong. I still look on adoption sites way too often, but while I live alone I really think of the time commitment a dog would take and the love and affection it would need. Being a leadership consultant, you spend long days on campus and travel a lot which would make keeping a dog that much more difficult. I can’t wait until I’m able to get a dog, but now I know (like always) my mother is right in saying I need to wait.
It’s helped me become more tidy
Living on your own is fun until you realize all chores are your responsibility, but that’s actually not a bad thing. Having a list of tasks you need to get done helps increase your productivity and gives you a break from other things you may be burnt out on. Living alone, every mess is your own, so making sure you give yourself a clean place to work, eat and live is super important.
It’s helped me not take my friends and family for granted
You realize that without the people that mean so much in close proximity, you don’t take for granted the time spent with them. At the same time, you get reminded of how amazing and special they are to you, and it makes you so happy to finally see them again.
More than anything, living alone has taught me to be more confident in myself. Moving to a new place where you don’t know anyone is hard. It pushes you outside your comfort zone and allows you to do so many things you’ve never done before. Push yourself outside your comfort zones and work hard to make your new home feel like home. Try the tourist spots, chat with random people in the local coffee shop, and challenge yourself to do more each day. For all of you who may be living away from home or living alone like me, know that you can do it! Go out and explore new places, meet new people, and make memories that will last you a lifetime.