Thursday, August 15, 2013

Guest Post: On Living Alone

Greetings and happy almost-Friday!  I'm got back from New Mexico last night. Err, actually this a.m as my flight was delayed due to weather so I landed around 1:45 am... To say I am exhausted and behind on life is an understatement...  but luckily Stephany from Stephany Writes is here with a guest post about an adventure she'll be embarking on in the future - living alone.  As someone who has lived alone for 9+ years, I can understand her apprehension but am excited for this next phase of her life.  I hope she ends up loving living alone as much as I do!

There are a lot of things I wished for myself when I was younger and I can't say I ever imagined the trajectory my life has taken over the past few years. I never imagined I would go to school for journalism and wind up in an analytical, marketing position. I never imagined I would continue to struggle with my weight and that I would sever my relationship with my father. Mostly, though, I never imagined I would be 25 and still living with my mother. 

There are many, many ways that I do feel like an adult - grown-up job, my own bills, my own car, etc. But then there's telling people that yes, I do live with my mom and it feels like I've stunted myself.

I love living with my mom. It's been me + her for the past 8 years so we understand one another's quirks and idiosyncrasies. She's my best friend so we get along, have the same interests, and generally enjoy each other's company. I lived at home when I went to college which helped me save money and pay for expenses any scholarships or loans didn't pay for. And then when I graduated from college and accepted my current position, it was just never something I wanted to do. I enjoyed living with my mom and if I did move out, I would have to get a roommate or two so it made more sense to me to just continue living with her and helping out with the bills.

A lot of people don't understand why someone in their mid-twenties would still want to live with their parent. We don't have the typical mother-daughter relationship. She's more like my best friend and my sister than a parent to me. Don't get my wrong - she's my mother first and she'll always be the one to tell me when I need an attitude check, but we are super close so when people remark how they would never, ever want to live with their parents, it just makes me grateful to have a relationship with my mom where living with her is a blessing, not a curse.

All this said, yes, I do plan on moving out soon. There are a lot of logistics involved since I can't leave when I want to, as my name is on our apartment lease and I wouldn't saddle her with the extra expenses of a two-bedroom apartment with no help from me. 

I can't deny it's a little scary, thinking of moving out and living on my own. Everything would be on my own shoulders for the first time and all the expenses would be mine alone. I would be the one setting up the electric and the cable and the Internet. I would be the one calling the maintenance department if something breaks. And I know I would get lonely, especially at the beginning as I adjust to being on my own.

But then I think about all the great things that come with living by myself. I've had so many people tell me how much they wish they could have experienced living alone when they were younger, or how awesome living alone was/is. I get to decorate my new place to my liking. I get to be alone if I want to be alone, social when I want to be social. I get a place that is mine alone, where I can engage in fun quirky "secret single behavior." And I get to feel that sense of independence and rightness that comes with moving out and being responsible for maintaining my own apartment. 

The truth is, it excites me more than it scares me. And it scared me for a long time. I felt like I was missing this inherent independent trait that everyone else around me had, and that I was destined to be that kid who never moved out of her parent's house. It wasn't about checking off a "rite of passage" at a certain moment that society deems the right time, but it was about taking my time and doing it when it felt right and good for me. 

Moral of the story here is that we have our own stories to tell. There is no reason for you to do something if you don't feel ready for it yet. Right now, you are building up to getting there. Your timeline is yours alone and nobody can tell you when the right moment is. All you can do is trust the process, be true to yourself, and ask for help if you need it.

So while it may have taken me longer than most to get to a point where I am comfortable with the idea of living on my own, I'm here. I'm ready. It's happening.
Do you or have you lived alone?  If so, did you like it or did you find it challenging?  Like I said, I have lived alone for over 9 years, and as an introvert who needs her quiet time, I actually really enjoy it.


Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

First of all, I just want to say- I lived with both my parents, and my brother and sister after college and overall it was quite great actually. I had yummy food every night, saved a ton of money and very rarely had any problems :)

I have not technically lived alone, but when I was in Australia I had a single dorm room and I absolutely LOVED every second of it. I realize this is a bit different because I didn't have to deal with things that broke or setting things up really because it was a dorm, but I LOVED having my own space to go whenever I wanted. I think you will come to love living alone, just like Lisa does :)

Jeanie said...

Thanks for being Lisa's guest poster (and welcome back, Lisa!)

Everything in life is an adjustment and change -- and just when we get comfy, we change again. Where we live can be the same thing.

I've lived alone since I was out of college, more or less. Even though I have a life-partner of 17 years, Rick lives two blocks away from me. We share space when we want but we have our own spot that is ours -- we can only fuss so much if the other's is messy or isn't our style. And that works for us because our styles and schedules are somewhat different. It's a different situation for everyone, but I think after a bit you will relish your live-alone time.

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

Good luck Steph! I have actually only lived alone when I was traveling for work, so I didn't have to pay "bills" or be responsible for broken things, but I have lived with roommates where I was the main bill/rent payer, so I have had to deal with all of that stuff. I definitely LOVE living alone. I love having my space exactly how I like it without anybody else changing it. I like having quiet when I want it and having people over when I want, and never having to worry about another person. I love "secret single behavior"! You are going to have a great time!

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

I've never lived alone and really don't have any desire to live alone. I went from my parents, to dorm, to apts with friends to living with my husband. While I do enjoy alone time I find it quite often (not as much post child) but I can do what I want. Never felt like I was missing out on an experience because I just never wanted a place of my own. I'd find a roommate off a street corner first hahah.

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