Lessons on Living Alone

Hello!

So recently I celebrated my 1st Year Anniversary of living solo. To be honest, even three years ago I would have laughed and called someone nuts to suggest I would consider living on my own… but now it feels incomprehensibly comfortable. I love the freedom and independence it offers. It also helps me feel empowered and in control. Of course, there have been some things I’ve learned along the way.

Set your own rules. Living alone means that you don’t have to deal with other people’s routines or quirks, but it also means that your routines and quirks can be front and centre. Maybe you hate doing dishes, or maybe you never want to mop… Since no one is there to take over these less-than-favourite chores, make sure you set rules for yourself like you will do dishes every 3 days, or mop once a month. Then stick to them. Really. 

Avoid scary things. I am a total scaredy-cat  slave to my overactive imagination. This means that I have occasionally lost some sleep when my brain latches on to something like a funny noise (or thriller commercial from evening TV). So I’ve tackled this a few ways. 1 –  I avoid thrillers and murder shows (etc.) like the plague after sunset has started. 2 – I strongly, and firmly tell myself that it’s nothing if my brain is playing tricks. Then keep reminding myself that it’s a trick. 3 – I exercise caution (to a daylight reasonable level hehe) and remind myself that I’ve done what I can.

Be social. I’m an introvert, so being around people isn’t always the most desirable activity (doesn’t mean I don’t love my family and friends!)… but it can be lonely to spend every evening on your own. Living alone means that you can have lots of your own space, but remember that ultimately we do need to enjoy the connections to those around us. Remember to do things with people, even if your book or show is calling. Consider going to a movie with a friend – social yet relaxing. Or better yet, have a movie night at your place.

Learn to do (or try) things on your own. I’m not a handy or naturally super-adventurous person, but I am someone who loves to learn. So I’ve tried to stretch my skills to include some things outside my natural abilities. Try something before considering it “not your thing” or “too hard/scary/overwhelming”. For me, this has included:

  • Navigating and using the bus system – I’m sure those of you who lived in legit-transit cities find this one hard to imagine… but this was a totally new skill for me! My hometown was anything but transit-friendly, so figuring out how to plan a bus route wasn’t the simplest of activities at first. Now I’m a bus-riding pro, and will definitely choose the bus over scraping my car any winter’s day!
  • Small repairs – my toilet paper holder hanging off the wall bothered me for a while until I tried to look at it like a problem that needed solving. Guess what? It was actually easy to fix myself! Go me!
  • Cooking meat – although I’m not a vegetarian, prepping raw meat has always bothered me. I started gradually and am definitely getting more comfortable with it!

Cook for one. So this is definitely one I’m still working on. I’m not used to making single batches of anything. I love both baking and cooking, so scaling down has been a bit of a challenge. I’m starting to get it though! I definitely find that if I make too much of something I have to find ways to use it/gift it/freeze it because otherwise 3 things usually happen:

  • I get super sick of the food item in question
  • I eat way too much of something that should definitely fall in the “moderation” category (mmm…cookies)
  • Food ends up going to waste – which is awful for so many reasons!

I have definitely found that meal planning is a lifesaver when you’re living alone. I try to make sure that I know what I want to cook/eat that week and buy accordingly. And buy a little less than you think you might need (within reason). Like, you will not need 2 gigantic Spanish onions for a week consisting of 2 main meal recipes. Not that I’d know from experience…

Budget. Ugh…I know. But bear with me. Not having a roommate/partner/etc. Living with you means that all.your.bills are just that: YOUR bills. Knowing exactly how much you have to work with, where you need the money to go, and where it has gone are super important! Also, remember that using credit doesn’t mean it has been paid for! Be smart and find ways to save where you can.

This is your life. ENJOY IT!  Living alone is kick-ass and means that you can do your thing! Want to eat pie for breakfast? Done. Want to dance around in your kitchen, in your pjs, re-enacting your favourite musical number? ROCK IT! (I have never done either of those… Just trying to give you inspiration!) Remember that living alone can be an empowering and judgement-free experience. Embrace your wild side and enjoy it! 

Love, Jenn

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