Is it Empowering to Move Out on Your Own, or Does it Just Feel Empty?

Not cleaning the bathroom. Invading your personal space. Starting unnecessary drama and fights. If you’re anything like me, you’ve had enough complicated roommate experiences in college to turn you off from the idea of ever living with anyone again. Getting your first job out of school means that you may actually have the opportunity to live on your own, giving you the chance to obtain the independence and freedom that you’ve been craving  for all this time —right? But how do you know whether living on your own is the right move for you? Let’s discuss the perks of coming home to a silent apartment, and whether you think you’ll find comfort – or misery – in the quiet. 

Flying solo

There’s a lot of great things about living alone. Basically, everything you’ve hoped for since your parents first drove your angsty teenage self up a wall becomes a reality.

Living alone, you can invite people over whenever you want, you can eat (and drink) as you please, and you get every single inch of the space to yourself – meaning no more desperately banging on the bathroom door for someone to hurry up and get out, or begging your parents to let you have a friend over late at night.

If you’re more organized like me, you can have everything look the way you want it to, with nothing out of place. If you’re a bit more on the messy side, no one will be nagging you to put away that pile of dishes in the sink or to keep up with your turn on the house cleaning chart.

Plus, you’ll never have to walk or listen in on an *awkward* roommate moment again (is it so much to ask for someone you’re living with to leave the door locked so that you don’t have the misfortune of walking in on them naked?!).

A gif of the cast of Bridesmaid running towards a location Universal Pictures / GIPHY

However, for every perk, there's always a downside, right? While there are times I love the silence that living alone brings, it can feel pretty isolating some days. My significant other and I are in a long distance relationship, most of my family and friends live at least an hour away, and on top of all of this, I cannot leave my home very often due to the pandemic. It’s easy to get sick of the peace and quiet when you’re not coming home from a long and loud day at the office, and instead your source of socialization for the day has been Zoom meetings in your living room.

Plus, living alone means all of the responsibility is on you, including the bills, the cleaning, and the general maintenance of the place. There’s never someone to turn to when you don’t feel like getting up off the couch to turn out the lights and lock the door, or when you’re desperately in need of someone to talk to.

woman sitting alone looking out window Photo by Anthony Tran from Unsplash

Sharing your space with roomies

Living with roommates teaches you a lot of valuable life lessons, even if it can bring you a lot of headaches along with it. I believe everyone should share a space with someone else at one point in their life, because eventually you'll have to learn how to coexist with others, whether it be at school with your classmates or at work with a team putting together a project.

Five people with fist up Photo by fauxels from Pexels

Skyler Ayres, a preschool teacher, says, “Roommates can provide you with company and conversation whenever you are in need of it, especially if they are one of your best friends like mine is.” But that camaraderie comes with a price. “[Having roommates] also means sharing everything, including messes that you may not have made." It’s crucial that you live with someone who you know you can communicate with about the inevitable hiccups that will come your way. 

But Claire Tronrud, a graduate student at Cardiff University, says between lockdown regulations and virtual school this year, “It’s been really difficult to make friends, as well as communicate with pre-existing friends from undergrad, so I would definitely be more lonely if I lived by myself.” Claire shares a house with six other roommates, but she'd take the chaos over being alone any day of the week. 

So check out that Facebook page for places to live, ask around, and do your research. You can’t make a decision as big as what the roof over your head will look like for the next year without having all the facts, and taking some time to consider whether or not you want to live alone. Don’t wait until the last moment to look into anything, or you’ll end up in a desperate situation with an apartment or roommate you don’t particularly like. No matter what you decide, remember that you're taking charge of your own future.

And, last time I checked, there’s nothing more empowering than that.