I’ve been meaning to write something about living alone for ages, almost since I moved down to Brum, so it’s kind of bitter sweet that I’m finally writing this having just recently moved out of my flat.
Whilst living alone did at first seem a tad daunting, it was actually a really great experience on the whole. It was also about as much of a learning experience as the internship that I was in Birmingham for. Here are some of the key things that I learned:
- How to deal with things going wrong
This isn’t to say that I hadn’t had my fair share of house-related trauma before (my room literally flooded when I was at university) but these issues are normally shared with a group. When you live alone and, for instance, your boiler breaks during the coldest week of the year it’s tempting to just sit in the corner and scream. Obviously, however, this won’t actually make your boiler work again so not being afraid to call your letting agent up out of hours and get stuff sorted is pretty vital.
- Random DIY skills
I am the least handy person ever. I can now re-pressure a boiler.
- Being alone is really restorative
I have always enjoyed my own company, but working full time in an open-plan office did really hammer home how nice it is to come back to somewhere peaceful. After a stressful day/week, it was sometimes really nice to just be able to slump on the sofa and not worry about having to be social with anyone.
- How to budget properly (kind of)
I say kind of because this has perhaps been the trickiest part of the last year. My rent was a tiny bit steeper than I could really comfortably afford which meant that my month to month spending had to be kept pretty tight. However, this does mean that I learned how to budget so that I could still enjoy myself and also…eat. It also taught me to get over my pretty irrational fear of my overdraft. As I’m moving to one of the most expensive places in the world, I’m pretty happy that I’ve learnt this now.
- How to cook more than just a pasta bake
I was a decent cook at university, but I’ve definitely expanded my repertoire of meals living alone, mostly as I didn’t have to worry about using too many surfaces/too much equipment while other people are cooking. Plus cooking a proper meal or baking became one of my favourite ways to relax after work
Don’t tell anyone but I soon realised that it is hugely frustrating to have to much stuff floating around in your space. And if you leave washing-up for too long a simple task turns into a mammoth session as you’re trying to scrub off porridge from your cereal bowl. Plus, there is possibly no greater feeling than fresh bedding.
- Doing things on your own terms is pretty great
Being able to shower whenever you want. Being able to cook, make drinks whenever you want. Being able to watch whatever you want on TV without any trauma. Getting to decorate an entire space just the way you like. Being able to go out and come back at any time.
- How to build your own support/social network
Obviously one of the downsides to living alone is that you don’t have a natural support network, which does sometimes suck. However, having to make an effort to arrange things does really help you work out who is really going to be around for you.
- I do have too much stuff
I am in sore need of a clear out, the downside to living in one place by yourself is how tempting hoarding becomes. Which ultimately means that my parents literally had to bring a van to pick me up (this is partly due to there being 2 duvets & a rug to take with me..but…you know). Before my next move, I definitely need to do a bit of Marie Kondo-ing
- Everyone probably should
I realise that living alone is a bit of a luxury for people living in a lot of cities, but if you live somewhere where you can afford to even just spend a few months alone it would be really valuable. You really learn how to be self-sufficient, and there is something pretty great about getting to be just a tiny bit selfish.
Speaking of moving…welcome to my new blog URL. WordPress offers wayy better themes for those of us who are HTML-challenged, don’t you think?