Living alone is not something that many twenty-somethings have experience of.
If you were lucky enough to move out of home for college, you most likely lived in a den of cider cans and stolen traffic cones with at least three others. Those of us who took off on J1 summers will know the pain/joy of three months on an air mattress, living with 16 others in a house built for four. Oh, adult life!
After college the thought of renting alone can seem a little daunting. I know for me it did, but after four months of house-sharing with one silent German girl who refused to make eye contact, and another who had pretty much taken on her boyfriend as a fourth (non-paying) renter, I decided it was time for a change.
None of my pals were looking to move out at the time, so I took the plunge and rented a one-bedroom flat. It wasn’t a major decision – the one-bed apartment just happened to be the nicest, best value and most conveniently located of all the places I’d viewed. Before I knew it, I’d moved my stuff in and was suddenly living solo á la Carrie Bradshaw.
Things definitely took a lot of getting used to – there’s something strange about arriving home and realising you’re the only person who’s been in the house all day. And when I ran out of teabags for the first time, for some reason it felt a little lonely not to be able to borrow one from a roomie. It’s the little things!
Aside from that though, living by myself was the best decision I’d ever made. I didn’t spend a whole lot of time alone in the house to be honest – either I was out, at work or having friends over – but I came to cherish the moments I did get to spend there by myself.
There was no one to silently judge my choice of TV (yes, I happen to adore University Challenge – what of it?!), no one to come barrelling into the living room with a gang of mates when I’d planned a quiet night, and no one to hog the shower/kitchen/Wi-Fi. Plus, if I didn’t particularly feel like wearing a bra of an evening, well, who was to know? Bliss!
There is definitely a psychological hurdle that comes with moving into a place by yourself. Just like it can feel slightly odd at first to sit in a restaurant alone or order a drink in a bar with no-one sitting beside you, living alone does take some getting used to. But I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Your twenties are all about getting to know yourself and who you are – and what better way to embrace these years than by going it alone? Never again will you have the opportunity to be so fiercely independent.
Although I only lived my lovely little one-bed for less than a year before a room came up in a pal’s house, it was enough to make me realise that I didn’t necessarily need to rely on other people to be content.
Yes, it certainly takes a period of adjustment and it mightn’t be for everyone, but I truly believe that living by yourself is one of the most satisfying and enriching experiences you’ll ever have. Give it a go!