On Living Alone
To be totally honest with you, I absolutely love it. Love. Nothing is better. If you can afford to live alone, I say do it. It might be a little scary at first, and there’s definitely a transition from living with roommates… but it is the best. I know at some point I will live with a partner. But for now, it’s just the greatest. I like how quiet is, I like controlling the remote. I like that if there are dishes in the sink or clutter on the counter there is no one to blame but myself, I like that no one is taking my clothes or using my beauty products without asking (I’m a good sharer but like to be asked!). And I really, really value quiet time so I like that a lot too.
I think a big factor in whether a person will enjoy living alone comes down has to do with introversion/extroversion.
I am an introvert. A social introvert, but an introvert. Being introverted doesn’t mean you are shy or hate going out but it does mean you recharge by being alone and having some quiet. So having a quiet home really helps me to recharge after a busy or stressful week. I will often play music or listen to a podcast, but a lot of my day is spent by myself sitting and working in quiet and I like that a lot (also along those lines, this book is amazing if you want to understand more about this). I am also a neat freak but non-confrontational… So when I lived with roommates I would be internally freaking out about the mess but not wanting to say anything!
I had roommates all through my twenties and didn’t know about introverts and extroverts. I knew the words but thought introvert meant shy and extrovert meant outgoing so just assumed I was an extrovert. One of my old roommates is/was such an extrovert. We both had demanding office jobs and would be so tired at the end of the day. We’d get home and I’d want to sit down in quiet and read or watch a show and she would want to talk about our days. I didn’t understand why I found it so overwhelming until I learned more about introverts and extroverts. We had so much in common as friends but just recharged differently: I needed quiet, whereas she needed to talk and be around people! Neither thing is good or bad, they just are what they are.
When I first lived alone, I was a little scared at first.
I think it was maybe 2008? My roommate had just moved out of my apartment (it was a tiny one bedroom in Chelsea on 8th Avenue, we’d been dividing the living room with bookshelves to make a makeshift second bedroom… needless to say it was really cramped. My early New York living situations were pretty interesting). I was really, really nervous. Every night when I got home I would check behind the shower curtain and in the closets for “intruders.” I remember calling a friend and saying, “Just stay on the phone with me while I search the apartment.”
This stopped after a month and after that I never looked back. I will say that it was definitely hard during the first few months of the pandemic when we were fully locked down (I did not see another person in the flesh for the first three or four months?) but to be honest, I kinda think living with a roommate might have been worse? I am genuinely not sure.
Of course, living with friends is fun. The movie nights and group dinners and all of that. Those were highlights of my twenties but I was also a lot more outgoing in my twenties. The best situation, the dream, was probably my last apartment (in Brooklyn) where I lived in a building that had four units and my friends and I controlled three out of four. We saw each other a lot and planning hangouts was so easy but I lived on the ground floor and had my own entrance which meant I could literally go days without seeing or talking to anyone if I was feeling extra anti-social. Separate spaces, but still close!
Do you live alone? Do you like it?
photo by Clay Austin.