I have written before about how much I enjoy living alone. I got my own apartment shortly after my fiancé and I broke up; though I did very much enjoy cohabiting with him — having roommates in college and in my first years in NYC, not so much — I quickly discovered that living alone was so much better. While I am a big believer in living together before marriage and know I will live with a partner again, it will take a mighty special person to get me to break up with my bachelorette pad.
I recognize I am in a privileged position, being able to afford my own place, especially in New York. But if you ever get the chance to live alone — and this is certainly more economically feasible in other parts of the country where rent isn’t so mind-bogglingly high — you need to seize the opportunity. Living alone has presented me with some awesome perks that I think may sway you to someday ditch the roommate or cohabiting BF.
1. Talking to yourself/your pet for extended periods of time. Everyone — everyone — mutters to themselves from time to time, but it’s when you live alone that you really get to have deep, meaningful conversations with the person who understands you best — yourself. I talk to myself from the time I get home to the time I go to bed, though I do so under the guise of talking to my dog. It’s not a one way conversation either; she responds, asks questions, compliments me, gets frustrated, etc. Here is a conversation we had this morning, as I delayed walking her by changing my outfit three times and dancing around to Janet Jackson:
Lucca: Mommmmmmmmm, hurry up! I have to peeeeeeeeeee!
Amelia: Just a second, Lu, Mommy doesn’t like the way her butt looks in these jeans.
Lucca: Your butt looks fine. I love your butt. You look super pretty right now, puhlease can we go out now?
Amelia: What do you think, do the cords look better with these shoes? Cuffed? Not cuffed?
Lucca: Cuffed I think. Mom, you’re the most beautiful mom I’ve ever had … now let’s go.
Amelia: You’ve only ever had one mom, Lucca.
Lucca: This is true. But you’re still the prettiest.
See? Amazing self-esteem boost that I couldn’t seriously expect to get from anyone but myself/my pet.
2. Being as messy or as clean as you want. I can be really OCD when it comes to my home; an old roommate of mine likes to joke that I always bought dish soap that matched the sponge and she may not be exaggerating. Being as OCD as I am made living with other people kind of hard. I didn’t feel like I could reasonably expect others to be as clean as I was, and I didn’t want to be a nag, so I spent a lot of time cleaning up after other people so it was to my standards. I never lived with anyone who was disgustingly messy, luckily, but I always felt uncomfortable with how much more work I did around the house — for my own totally crazy OCD comfort — especially in my romantic relationship. No matter the circumstances, cleaning up after someone all the time will, eventually, make you feel like a bit of a maid and that can impact the larger relationship. Living alone means I get to keep my apartment as messy or as neat as I want without feeling uncomfortable or guilty or ashamed. The dish soap doesn’t always match the sponge, but my bed sure as hell is made, hotel-style (nine pillows!) every single day.
3. Using up all the hot water. You know how I bathe like a rock star? This only became my lifestyle after I got my own place because filling up the tub 3-4 times per week takes up a lot of hot water that I don’t have to share anymore. Boo-yah!
4. Decorating to exactly your specific taste. So, in all of my previous living situations, I was stuck with some truly terrible wall art. One of my roommates in college was an art major and, while I love her dearly and think she is immensely talented, she unfortunately went through a phase where she painted nothing but fetuses. We had so many goddamn fetus paintings hanging around our house it was like I was living in the middle of one of those horrible anti-abortion films. Another roommate had her ex-boyfriend’s paintings — which she thought were wonderful but they were not – hanging on every spare inch of wall space in our 300 sq. ft. two bedroom (I’m not kidding) apartment. And my ex insisted on hanging his sister’s art in our apartment, which was sweet, but even she came to visit and was like, “Eww, why are these hanging up? They’re awful.” Well, guess who no longer has awful art — at least in my opinion and it’s the only one that matters — hanging on their wall? This gal.
5. Spying on people without judgment. You get to do a lot of things without judgement when you live alone — see a whole list here — but perhaps my favorite thing to do is spy. I am lucky to have a really awesome, expansive view which is made even more enjoyable thanks to a powerful set of binoculars. This weekend, the sun was shining and I was watching the neighborhood basking in it from the comfort of my window. The super hairy guy doing yoga on his roof; the young couple having a fight on the corner (I like to imagine the dialogue!); the woman sitting on her toilet for 20+ minutes. (In that case, I could only see her knees and a hand wadding up fistful after fistful of toilet paper.) Living alone means I can be a nosy creep and no one’s the wiser!
6. Drinking all the wine. You know what sucks? Having a bad day and coming home to an empty bottle of wine because your stupid roommate drank it all. Or buying a really delicious bottle of Pinot and then feeling obligated to share it with her and her boyfriend who never seems to go home to his own place. This never happens to me anymore because the wine is all mine and Lucca insists she prefers a cold beer.
7. Spending a lot of time alone. And, like, really alone. When you live alone, you get solo time in both quality and quantity. As a person who was suddenly single after a five year relationship that I had thought would last forever, this was an invaluable part of my recovery process. I have always been a bit of a hermit, so I will admit that sometimes, living alone is a challenge for me because I have to force myself to socialize, but even that challenge has been good for my soul. I am a firm believer that loneliness gets a bad rap and living alone gives you the opportunity to really experience the benefits of solitude. When I’m upset, sad, happy, angry, whatever, I find myself feeling those emotions to the absolute fullest because I’m not worried about how my response is being viewed by anyone else in the room. I have learned to quiet my own anger, assure my own fear, celebrate my own joy, and soothe my own sadness. And that is really fucking cool.