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things living alone has taught me so far

a little pinch of selfish; just how I make sense of life

By Azreen MahmoodPublished 4 years ago 4 min read
things living alone has taught me so far
Photo by Noah Silliman on Unsplash

I always considered myself inherently able to live on my own even though I'd never done it before. I thought I had a superhuman power to adapt to all setbacks and changes thrown at me. While it's just human nature to adapt, it's a slow process of patience, experience and growth and it sure as hell does not come super-humanly fast. And while I have come so far better than most, it's due to my willpower and I have yet so much more to learn about myself, and everything else around me.

So here's what I've come to realise in the past months from living alone, in a foreign country, on my own.

1. Life is Yin-Yang.

The good, the bad; the dark, the light. The righteous and the corrupt. Black and white.

Life is a harmonic blend of the two polar spectrum of everything.

You cannot survive life sitting on a moral high horse. Sometimes you have to be a little evil to maintain the balance. You cannot be all white, you always need some black to appreciate the existence of white. For the moral to shine, dysfunction needs to be there.

Sometimes you just cannot be nice to everyone, you cannot live morally and kindly in every circumstance. A little cunning to make your way around sometimes is an evil necessity. As long as you're not harming another, being a little selfish to balance the selflessness is needed.

2. There is no constant.

Have you ever sat back and thought, hey, I wasn't like this a few months back. I was a slightly, if not entirely, different person than who I am right now.

It sounds like a silly question. because duh! We always change, but really it isn't a silly answer.

We're told, our situations change but our essence remains the same. To some extent that is true. But how do you define this essence? I do not know.

But what I do know is, how we perceive ourselves today will betray us tomorrow. Our personalities, attitudes, beliefs and convictions aren't constant. They're variable with every small external detail; the people we hang out with, the situations we face and overcome and our own choices.

If I were someone who was self satisfied yesterday, today I am someone who realises the importance of company and people.

3. You need people to survive.

That's the harsh truth, if you are like me and thought I could make through life alone.

You really cannot. Not only because we're hardwired as social creatures who need community to survive, but simply because when you're alone, your perception of the world, within its limits, is skewed. You make assumptions that may at base be entirely false. People help you grow. Knowing people helps you choose your kin among the shoal of 7 billion+.

As selfish as it may be, you need people to help you get through each day, and you need a variety of different people to learn and come to accept differences.

But most importantly, life is too lonely without the company of others even if the times spent with them don't amount to anything memorable.

4. Saying 'no' is important.

I still struggle with enforcing boundaries and saying no. I have my boundaries way too, too high and yet when it comes to making a point that I like my personal space, I am the worst at it.

But to make your stand and establish your own place, saying no to things you don't want to do is essential. Or you're stuck doing ten million things that you would rather stay home avoiding and being frustrated over your inability to simply say no.

5. Cooking isn't bad.

I never cooked for myself before. I've lived with my family until now and have been a rather pampered kid, so doing half of my own chores were never in my roster.

But now, starting from breakfast to dinner and everything in between is on me to make. And I'm not a takeout person. I'd rather have a meal than a burger.

So I had to learn cooking. While living alone has literally taught me cooking too, it's not exactly what I'm talking about. Just the simple act of being able to cook my own food has made me so much more independent than before. Cooking from afar seems time consuming and something you have to do - but it's not all that bad. The trick is to not see it as a chore, and it can be something you come to take a break from long periods of study-sessions.

6. Friendships from home become distant.

You may have vowed to be with your bestfriend forever, and never leave their side but distance exists as a very real, strong force. And then there's also the factor of time-zones.

You may have scheduled hours to speak with pals from back home, or even speak for hours on weekends to catch up on the week's ordeals, but there's so much that's left unsaid; left behind as unimportant, the little details that strengthen your relationship.

And then they become distant. Not out of intention but of variables out of your control.

They're still your friends, it's just the connection you had is no longer the same. They've taken a different form, and all you can do is just simply accept it as is.

Acceptance is the best remedy to any ailment.

7. BONUS: Love Veiled

This isn't something that living alone taught me specifically, but rather it's something I came to realise or learn during the time-being that I'm living alone.

When you're alone, and away from your loved one(s), your feelings, and love for them hide away. There's so much you want to give, but it's just not possible to.

Almost as though it's veiled in thin fabric. There but unseen. Known but unfelt.

You start losing your ability to express what you once could with ease because other things just mask it under.

That is all I can muster up in words for now, but growth is a constant process. Until then, peace out.


About the Creator

Azreen Mahmood

i write

to make sense of what's wrong around me

to let my emotions find a place

to say there's another perspective, always

if you like what i have to say a small tip would be much appreciated,

thank you for taking the time and interest <3

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