Living alone is an important benchmark for everyone in life. Whether you like living alone or not, it is something that everybody wants to try at least once in their life. It is very necessary that you get an experience of living alone, independent of the people you consider indispensable in your life for you develop into an individual, because it is essential that you are comfortable with yourself before you are around other people. So to everyone who wants to give it a shot, here are 10 extremely defining life experiences you gain when you start living alone.
10. Cleaning up after yourself
Remember your mom lecturing you on cleanliness and complaining about how you let all your stuff lie around the place? Living alone is not all bright and shiny. You become aware that you have to clean up behind yourself. There is no room service when you are living alone that a house or room you left dirty will be magically transformed clean when you return home after long, tiring days. If you are lazy enough to not clean your space, then so be it. It will all come back haunting you, that one day you decide to call people over to your place. At some point you will swallow all your pride and laziness and get your stuff together and get down to cleaning. Gosh..then it is going to be a long day of scrubbing, polishing and sanitizing. Though this work may sound dreary, it is also an unique experience in itself, not to mention how proud you are of yourself after all that back breaking, manual labor you put in. You also gain an appreciation for people who manage to keep their places impeccably tidy or hey! you might end up being one of those people. (You never know!)
You realize that bills actually do make people ill. You have to pay for yourself. You start considering twice before showering your money into luxuries. You become conscious of your consumption be it food, water usage, electricity, health care etc., in short anything and everything that will make you end up with a bill. You start becoming thrifty because now you know how everything costs and you create budgets which you hope to religiously stick with but they might go down the tangent, but all the same you are now a responsible consumer who knows his/her means and necessities.
Yep. You have to provide for yourself. You have to stock up on groceries. Now that you have the place to yourself, you start cooking, as it is cheaper than ordering food daily (Because Hey! that costs money). You start experimenting with your gastronomic choices and risking your life by feeding yourself, but you have to do what you got to do. You now know the local departmental stores and have noted down the days when they conduct sales. You have to restock your groceries once in a while because the alternative would be starving yourself to death.
Living alone establishes your validation as individual. You understand that while you may have many people in your life, you are a person with an independent existence and you don’t need anybody to establish that. You realize your true worth and gain perspective by visualizing yourself as an individual entity. This is extremely helpful in dealing with various situations in life and growing accustomed to your needs. It is healthy on different levels that your validation is established by yourself and not in relation to others, hence you grow and develop as a person.
You have complete freedom and autonomy over yourself, your space and everything that you consider yours. You are free to come and go as you please and not give lengthy explanations for any of your activities. You can explore and experience freedom that you hitherto didn’t know existed. You also realize that now you are responsible for yourself. While you may not have to answer to anybody, you still are answerable to yourself. The enlightenment dawns upon you that with great freedom comes great responsibility. You now are responsible for picking yourself up from any situation and bringing yourself home. You start taking care of yourself better while at the same time exercising your freedom because you have to at the end of the day return home to yourself. This knowledge is an exhilaration in itself, that you cannot pass up on.
Though this connected with the earlier mentioned freedom, it is an experience independent of itself. (pun intended!) Independence is an experience combining the aspects of validation, freedom and autonomy. Living alone is a congratulatory experience on its own that now you are officially an independent person and every act you commit from then on is an attestation of the same. You no longer need to rely on others for being responsible for you or sharing your responsibilities. You can exercise your independence to any degree you may want to or wish to without any guilt.
Socializing takes on an entirely new meaning when you start living alone. You have a place of your own where you can invite people over. You can now throw parties at your wish and create social circles of your own. Also by living alone you understand yourself better as a person, hence you can now be around people more comfortably and socialize better. You have friends you can call over or go to their places at your will. Socializing thereby gets very healthy once you start living on your own.
This might sound paradoxical since you might have just recently flew the nest. But all the same you get to create a nest of your own, where you can be with yourself in all your individuality. You can decorate the place as you wish or you can let it be unclean for weeks with dirty laundry lying around, unwashed dishes and all, but it remains your nest and you can do whatever you want for your nest, in your nest and with your nest. You can roam around in your pajamas all day or without it if you wish and nobody would care. But just like a mamma bird you never stop being protective about it. Your place is your child and you would give up your life than let anything happen to it.
2. Difference between being alone and lonely
The realization now strikes that there is an essential difference between being alone and being lonely. While you can be comfortable to lengthy periods of time alone with yourself curled up in a bed in your pajamas with a mug of coffee and your favorite novel it is definitely not you having a pathetic existence and being lonely. While you may like to call people over and spend time with them, you equally if not more, enjoy being with yourself. Once you realize this, that you are comfortable with yourself, you are more comfortable around others, your are more effective in your communication, your confidence increases and you enter healthy relationships.
Living alone is an extremely liberating experience. It is an exhilarating experience with no match to be found. Your life becomes meaningful, you understand yourself better and you understand others better. You become free, responsible, independent and that too without any help from others. Living alone is an impetus to your personal growth and enriches your experience of life.