I can’t lie to you, living alone has been …. an experience.
If you know me personally, you know that I thoroughly enjoy being alone. I am the friend that asks “who all over there” when I get invited somewhere. I am the daughter that is most likely in her room reading, playing video games, doing a puzzle, or thinking of a master plan. I am the girlfriend that is not out with her friends’ majority of the time because she would rather stay home and sleep. I am the person that will take myself on dates and often sit at the bar in a new city.
As the only girl in the house with my parents and brothers, I learned early how to be my own friend. Don’t get me wrong, I loved hanging out with my brothers but I loved hanging out with myself even more. It allowed me to be comfortable with myself. Being an only girl feels like being an only child because though you have male siblings, there are some things they just don’t understand so you learn how to be independent.
There was no one to explore fashion, hair, and beauty with so I did it all myself. There was no one to gossip about boys with, stay up late with, and share a room with. I was a loner and I never saw that as a bad thing. However, now that I live alone — in a city and state 651 miles away from my family — it takes some getting used to.
One of the biggest things I had to get used to was complete silence. I love silence. I am not a fan of unnecessary noise even if people are in the room. For instance, when I used to live with my parents, my mom would see me in the living room watching TV and she would come to sit next to me and talk on the phone or watch videos on her phone with the volume on 1000x. WHY??!! Why would you do that right next to me?
Now that I have an unlimited amount of silence, I sometimes — not always — miss that sound of someone else in the house. When you live alone, every sound you hear makes your heart skip a beat because you know that you are the only one here so what are you hearing?
The next thing I realized is how now I have to take an active role in my safety. Believe it or not, I never really thought that something could happen to me and no one would know. When I lived back home with my parents, I would go on a 3-mile run every day in the dark. If something happened to me, they would know because they always saw me when I left and knew about how long it would take. I didn’t have to tell my parents what I was doing or where I went but I did because I never knew what could happen when I left the house. Now that I stay alone, there is no one to talk to when I leave the house.
On top of that, I try my absolute best to not go out at night and I am more vigilant everywhere I go. I feel like I read more articles about women being kidnapped and killed so I take extra precautions. When I leave an event or store, I do not go directly home afterward to make sure I was not followed. Before I get in my car, I walk around it to check the tires and to see if anyone is in the car. I try to park my car away from other cars in a parking lot. I typically go to stores AS SOON AS they open because that is typically when the stores and parking lots are less busy. I don’t even think I shop on the weekends. I do everything during the week, early in the morning.
Now I am preparing to take self-defense lessons and learn how to properly use a gun so I can build my collection. Sometimes I feel like I am doing the most but then I remember that I am alone here and no one cares about me more than me. I have to do whatever I feel is necessary to protect myself.
Aside from safety, I realized that the more that I am alone, the more I like being alone even though I desire companionship. When you stay by yourself, you start to build a routine and it is not easy to invite someone into that space. Remember, I don’t even like unnecessary noise so just having a guest over can bother me. That is why I do not invite people to my house. In the year and a half that I have lived here, I can count on one hand how many people I have had over. And as the friend that loves to host gatherings, my perspective has changed. I love to bring people together but as an overthinker, I cannot bring myself to have people over.
Lastly, living alone has shown me the importance of discipline and integrity. Back home with my parents, my mom would do certain things for me like cook every day, and would remind me to do certain things like buy groceries. But now, I have to do all that on my own and if I don’t do it, it will not get done. There is no one coming to save the day. So I have to push myself to be productive and tackle my to-do lists. It is what you do when you are alone that exposes who you are.
I share all of this not to deter you from pursuing your independence but just to show what I have learned during my experience. Let’s see what else I learn on this journey.
Until Next Time,