What I've Learned From Living Alone

It was February of my freshman year. The weather was dreary, everyone was dragging from the withdrawal of winter break, and for all intents and purposes, I was setting myself up for homelessness my sophomore year. Leases had fallen through with past roommates and subleasing was getting pretty “interesting” as my Midwestern mother put it. Finally my parents and I came to a new conclusion -- next year I would get an apartment all to myself. After the first couple weeks of living on my own for the first time, I’ve learned a couple things worth sharing…

You get creative when cooking.

That super weird food dish you saw on Facebook? You can now go ahead and give it a try without having to worry about messing up someone else’s dinner plans if the whole thing goes sideways. Bonus points: say you don’t like olives -- no olives in the entire apartment. There’s no way anything is making it into that dish that grosses you out.

It looks like you.

Every time I have a friend over to my apartment they always laugh and say “this apartment is just so ‘you.’” I got to go completely crazy over decorating it just the way I wanted it. Let’s say you found a wooden corn bowl at the thrift store and you thought it would look great on the living room table? There’s no one to stop ya.

You become your own personal security guard.

Did I lock the door? No really, is it locked? Are the windows shut? Blinds closed? Job well done. Over and out.

The PetFinder app on your phone is much more frequently used.

Every other second is spent scrolling through the adorable pictures of homeless cats and dogs (and even rabbits, chinchillas, guinea pigs, you name it), wondering if today is the day you “foster” a little pet and start your own weird eclectic family of two.

You get to know yourself.

Never before had I considered myself to be a “neat” person, but since having my own place, I realized I really like everything to be just where I left it. I really like to have fresh flowers and go to the farmers market for my groceries. I study best when classical music is playing. Once you don’t need to accommodate other’s schedules or living styles, you really get to form your own. It’s a new type of independence that allows you to be your own person and really live your own life.