What Living Alone Has Taught Me

Almost two months ago, I moved into my own apartment… well, I still have one roommate: Zuko, my cutie pie bunny, who is very much loving the new house I built him, and the freedom I give him to roam.  Besides Zuko, who loves to boss me around, it’s just me.  I’ve always lived with family or roommates, all whom I adore, but moving into my own apartment was something I needed to  experience.

Zuko’s house after it took me 3 hours to build.

Being the youngest in my family, I was always bossed around and had to live by everyone else’s rules.  Rooming with two teenage sisters as an eight-year-old, my toys were not allowed to be seen, and they chose the decor and where things went.  I had zero say.

This pattern seemed to continue in my life.  When I moved to Nashville and Florida, I lived in already furnished places for the most part.  Or my roommates already had so much furniture and decor, that it didn’t leave a lot of room for me to add any of my personal touches.  Plus, I moved around so much… it seemed like a waste to buy furniture I’d have to either sell or lug around with me to my next destination.

Kitchens were always shared… since I love to cook, this was a big thing for me.  I hate being in someone’s way, so I usually wait until they’re done in the kitchen before making my meal.  Often times, that meant I was starving by the time I went to make my food, and settled for something quick instead of what I really wanted to make.  I also have this weird thing where I hate being watched or distracted while I cook.  It developed after my mom passed away — we always cooked together, so I think if I can’t have her in the kitchen with me, I don’t want anyone else to be there with me.

A kitchen all my own!

  

I always felt like a guest in someone else’s home for the most part.  It wasn’t anyone’s fault.  Or maybe it was mine… But now, I chose everything in my apartment.  I cook whenever I feel like it.  No one complains if I decide to leave a shoe in the middle of the floor for a day and a half, except for me when I trip over it! LOL.

I can come and go whenever I please without explanation.  If I want to be anti-social, I can be.  If I want to see people, I can go for a walk in my wonderful new friendly neighborhood.

Walking along the water near Astoria Park.

It’s only been 6 weeks and things feel different in the best possible way.  Sure, I’m stuck with ALL of the bills.  Yes, I miss my family and friends I used to live with.  Breakfast with my niece and nephew, late night movies with my brother which he usually falls asleep for, going to the gym with my sister-in-law… or wine and Vampire Diaries nights with my Nashville roommates… But thankfully, my family isn’t too far away.  So I get the best of both worlds there.  Now, I look forward to hosting friends and family at my lovely apartment!

There are a few things I never realized about myself until I started living alone, though…

I’m actually somewhat anal and cleanly!

From an early age, I was dubbed the messy one in the family.  I was punished and lectured for being messy my whole life by my parents and siblings.  As I got older and shared spaces with roommates, I started containing my mess to my bedroom.  Really just clutter and scattered clothing on the floor.

But I don’t know if it’s an age thing or a pride thing because suddenly, I’m more organized than ever.  Things can only stay a mess for a little bit before I have to clean it.  Even the clothes on my floor is no longer a thing, that’s been my longest and worst habit to date.

I’m very unbalanced.

I always knew I was an “all or nothing” kind of person, but it’s become painfully obvious.  Either I’m all work and no play or it’s the other way around. Either I’m eating super clean and healthy or I’m not.  Either I work out every day or not at all.  Either I’m writing all day, every day or not at all.  Etc. Etc. Etc.  I’m trying hard to balance myself more.  I’ve been a workaholic since moving and then last week, I didn’t want to do ANYTHING.  I was burnt out.  This week, I’m doing a better job of making sure I have more of a work-life balance.

I need to be social as much as I need to be alone.

I adore alone time and now that I live alone, it comes super easily.  For a while, I relished in that.  But now, I realize I need to be around people.  Not just people I’m comfortable with already, but new people too.  I crave connection with strangers.  I always have — maybe it has something to do with that faith in humanity thing I talked about here.  Going to cafes or for a walk in the park is therapy to me, and I have to remember not to skip sessions.  Balance is key once again.

I’m looking forward to learning more things about myself as this journey continues and I explore my new surroundings.

If you live alone, what’s your favorite thing about it?  Or do you prefer to live with someone?  Share your roommate stories — the good and the bad!! I want details 😉 

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