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What You’ll Learn About Yourself When You Live By Yourself

Living Alone

I thought I knew who I was. I thought I had everything about being an adult figured out. Then, a year after graduating and living with roommates and family members, I moved into a single bedroom apartment. Living by myself constantly creates opportunities for me to learn more about myself, my limits, and my abilities. I’ve decided the following highlights are a few things that the majority of women experience when moving out on their own.

Emergency plans aren’t always for emergencies.
My biggest fear when I moved into an apartment by myself was that I would be alone. I know this seems obvious, but it was more than that. I mean, ALL ALONE. This is great news since you don’t ever have to wear pants, but what about everything else? What if I slipped and fell getting out of the shower and I couldn’t call for help? What if I had a heart attack and no one found my body for 17 days? Let’s ignore the fact that living alone had suddenly changed me into a 70-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s–but it scared me! I had extra keys made for my parents and my best friend, and a back-up plan for emergencies: if no one heard from me in 29 hours, they were allowed to use the keys to find my dead body. Currently, my best friend only uses it to get in for snacks and my wardrobe.

Not having to wear pants is amazing.
That’s nothing else to say about that.

I only have myself to blame.
There’s no parent, RA, or older sibling looking over your shoulder, making sure all your bills are paid. Responsibility kicks in real quick when you’re showering in the dark, because you forgot the light bill was due six days ago. Many companies will actually work with you to find the best due date for every bill so that way it doesn’t hit you all at once. I figured out the best way to organize mine was along with my paycheck, so I always had enough money in my account. I also created a foolproof system, which helped me remember what I still needed to pay–I stick them on the refrigerator and then shred them once they’re paid. I didn’t say it had to be complicated. It just has to work.

Life is made for tall people.
I don’t use half of my storage space or cabinets. Why? Because I can’t get to them. I refuse to crawl around on my furniture in order to reach my skillet every other day, so the space stays empty. I am seriously considering writing my landlord and asking if I can pay half of my rent since I can only reach half of my apartment.

The dark is still scary.
If you’ve ever lived by yourself, I would bet all of my monogrammed belongings that at first, you slept with a light on. Sleeping in big spaces with nothing but stuff around you is a transition. It’s a weird combination of total silence and creepy noises. I’m finally to a point where I no longer take off running to my bed in order to avoid the monsters and serial killers, but that doesn’t mean they’re not out there.

My super strength powers exist. Sometimes.
I am an average woman with (probably below) average strength. No, bro, I don’t lift. This is extremely evident when it comes to jars I need to open and wine I need to consume. My Moscato thinks it can get away with being nearly impossible to open simply because I live by myself, because I have no one to help me when I can’t seem to pull hard enough. But, joke is on that bottle of Moscato. That wine cork is no match for me after a long, hard day at work. Nothing will come between me and alcohol. So, out of nowhere, I find this adrenaline and strength deep within me, which helps me achieve my goal: drunkenness.

What I think I need, I don’t really need.
On the other hand, sometimes that inner strength is absent. The jars that need to be opened usually stay unopened. I have attempted every trick in the book: hitting the edges with a knife, rubber grips made specifically to help open jars, and tools sold at kitchen stores. It’s just not happening. So yeah, at 2 a.m., I might think I need French onion dip, but the gods of munchies have a different opinion. Living alone, it’s not like I have an option but to obey.

Convenience costs extra.
In this day and age, manufacturers have been kind enough to take a young, single woman’s plight into consideration. They now offer pop tops and soft covers rather than twist-it lids. Hallelujah! Now I don’t have to shatter a glass open to get into the contents. But, these companies are also not stupid. Every time I have to make a trip to the store, my tab is consistently higher than it was when I lived at home or near males. That’s because they know that I’ll pay 75 cents more just to avoid the fear that I won’t be able to get to my food.

I am terrible at self-motivating.
While you no longer feel the temptation to bash your roommate’s skull in with the dirty dishes she left behind (again) in the sink, there are a few more things you have to worry about. One, there is no longer anyone there to judge you for your consistent 3 a.m. snacking habit. I gained 9 pounds the first month I lived alone. Also, on Saturday morning, it’s a battle to convince yourself to get out of bed. Netflix is much more seductive than cleaning house, and since no one else has to deal with your pigsty, Netflix is usually a clear winner. But then, fast-forward three weeks later and you have no clean underwear and the dishes in your sink are molding.

I am not ready for the “next step.”
I’m only recently discovering this aspect of living alone, so this is really an experimental lesson. When I had a roommate, it was rude to have my guy stay over consistently. So he didn’t. This was mainly an excuse to still have “me” time–and by “me” time, I mean “get drunk with my sisters” or “Food Network and Taco Bell” time. Obviously. Now that I live alone and have a new, more serious boyfriend, it’s a little scary. He stays at my place a lot, and it’s a little less rolling around in the sheets and a little more like playing house. It’s nerve-racking.

Spiders will not kill me…
I will never forget the tearful phone call I made during the first night on my own. I literally begged my (then) kind-of-not-really-almost-significant-other to come over. It involved him driving 15 minutes across town to kill the spider in my bathtub. Now my cowboy boots are my go-to tool, and I don’t even mind cleaning up the guts–as long as there are about 15 layers of toilet paper between us.

…or will they?
I will admit that I did not stay in my own apartment the first night after my run-in with the bathtub spider. Part of me is still partially convinced that all creepy crawlers are part of a secret organization. By partially convinced, I mean I have little doubt in my mind that they are cooking up a scheme somewhere, which involves lots of torture and the eventual takeover of my apartment. I’ll get back to you on this one.

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Anticommitment

20-something alumnae. She worked as a high school English teacher for a couple of years, but couldn't handle the lack of messy buns and yoga pants. Now she's headed back to the world she understands best: college. Graduate school this time, but she's still hoping to make a comeback with Sunday Fundays and Whiskey Wednesdays.

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