Home Alone: Should You Live by Yourself?
The perks and pitfalls of living solo.
Often considered an important milestone for young people in their 20s, most people will live alone at some point in their lives. However, with rent and property prices skyrocketing this option is becoming increasingly distant for many. Should we really aspire to live alone for a period?
For many splitting the rent or mortgage with a few housemates or a significant other is the only way they can afford to live in big cities or desirable areas. Given the opportunity however, I would argue that living alone is not only an enjoyable experience, but a learning curve that everyone should pursue at least once.
Finding myself alone in my shared house for the first time in perhaps my whole university career, I discovered some unexpected perks to not having my usual cluster of housemates around, and got a glimpse of life in my own space.
First of all, more generally, I loved the feeling of coming home and knowing I will find my surroundings exactly how I left them. No new mounds of dirty dishes piling up on the counter, no empty loo rolls left in the bathroom and best of all, no mysteriously missing items from the fridge. My supplies lasted much, much longer than during any given week when my housemates were about, a miracle in house where washing liquid seems to vanish overnight, yet mouldering pots and pans do not.
The freedom to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, was amazing, yet also a double-edged sword. Don't feel like doing the dishes immediately? No one's problem but mine. Want to sing loudly and badly in the shower? Who cares? Possibly the neighbours, but definitely not me. I could stay inside and do absolutely nothing, and there would be nobody there to judge me, and it was bliss.
However, as I said before, this was blessing and a curse. Not having housemates around removed any motivation or fear of judgement, making it easier to skip gym days, important reading or just basic chores. It also made dealing with problems harder. If the gas ran out, I was the only one who could top it up. Boiler on the blink? Guess I'll have to fix it. Perhaps most horrifying though, was the realisation that any big spiders I came across I would have no choice but to vanquish myself.
More unexpectedly, I came to realise that I really missed being able to talk to someone about everyday things. Whilst it was great to come home and not to have to deal with anyone if I was in a bad mood, it was also difficult not having anyone immediately to vent to, or seek advice from. Despite my tiny kitchen I enjoy cooking with people, and meal times began to feel rather lonely. The paranoia of bumps and creaks in the night was not something I expected either.
All in all, I found my brief time living alone to be interesting, though perhaps not something I feel the need to pursue just yet. I definitely loved the freedom of it, but I also learned a lot from the added responsibility living alone demands. And as an arachnophobe, perhaps it's best if I keep my more brave housemates around for now.