So You're Thinking About Finally Living Alone? Here's What You Need to Know
Living alone is totally the best.
You know what? The psychology studies and researchers can chill, because anyone who's lived alone knows it's amazing. Whether you're living alone in pursuit of personal freedom (see: the ability to read naked) or you joined the club unwillingly (see: roommate was just like, "bye"), there is no shortage of science to show that it can be great for our well-being.
But it's not always easy. In fact, going solo throws you some curveballs. To go beyond the dry statistics (and pop culture tropes), we asked our readers via Tumblr as well as an anonymous Google form for some real talk on what it's like to be a lone ranger.
You may get freaked out on occasion.
"At one apartment, the doorbell rang. I went downstairs to answer it and it was a reporter from the Chicago Sun-Times. He asked me how I felt living next door to a murderer. I had no idea what he was talking about! He told me that my neighbor had drowned a bunch of people in Lake Michigan." — anonymous, age 31
"When a neighbor who shared a wall may have been abusing his girlfriend and realizing I had to call 911, but I was too scared to let him know I'd done it, so doing it anonymously." — anonymous, age 30
But being "lonely" can actually be kind of awesome.
"Being alone is not the same thing as being lonely. The solitude and stillness becomes natural after a while. And suddenly, being surrounded by other people is when you'll feel the most lonely." — uncharted-hearts
"You can feel happy and lonely at the same time. But nothing beats the peace of mind of coming home to silence." — thatcivilengineer
It's important to be a human and actually leave the house sometimes.
"You have to work even harder to go out, you can't just look over at your roommate and say 'Hey, let's go out?' Instead, you have to talk to five people to actually make plans. But at least you can get home whenever you want and not have to worry." — bubblyashell
"I wish someone told me how important it is to remember to leave the house every day." — marcopolio
The free-for-all nudity situation is downright liberating.
"[My biggest mistake was] walking naked when the windows are open and then realizing people outside can see you." — anonymous, age 35
"I tend to walk around naked after I shower and I'm sure everyone on Ludlow Street has seen. Oh, well." — anonymous, age 28
"I poop with the door open a lot. YOLO." — anonymous, age 28
Finding peace and quiet might be tougher than you imagined.
"No one talks about the quiet. I learned to play music the entire time I was awake, just to drown out the oppressive silence." — aelowan
"My neighbors upstairs are always banging loudly. And I'm always like, 'Do I write a note or try to upstage them if I get the chance?'" — anonymous, age 31
You will enter into a potentially abusive relationship with your air conditioner.
"I was actually running late the other day and I left the AC on for the entire day. Sucks sometimes when there's not another set of eyes to watch over little things that could cost you a lot." — anonymous, age 22
"How often you need to change the AC air filter." — taylormariegreen
"I asked a guy on the first floor to install my AC for me. He was obviously a little high, but he managed to do it perfectly." — anonymous, age 22
Your relationship with your neighbors will make or break you.
"Once I was stuck on a layover in Los Angeles, and the girl who was watching my dog broke the key in the lock of my door. I had to ask the girls across the hall to hire a locksmith to break into my home so my dog could pee, then they had to make a copy of the key based on only the lock (as my only spare was now in pieces). Also I was drunk while all of this was happening." — anonymous, age 28
"I accidentally let in a huge butterfly once — I'm terribly afraid of all insects/bugs — and I had to figure out how to kill it, which I couldn't. So I called my next door neighbor." — anonymous, age 21
The chores will be a bitch.
"It's always your turn to do all of the chores. It's easy to overlook how nice taking turns at dishes, cleaning, cooking is when you have roommates. Once you live alone, it's you or no one." — aiksias
The cooking situation? Also a bitch.
"All those great recipes you're gonna try – nah. Groceries are more expensive than you thought, when you get back home you're too tired to experiment." — cigarettehaze
"Cooking for one sucks. Your options are to cook a full meal and eat it for a week or try to scale things down." — thatmennogirl
Forgetting your keys is the biggest bitch of all.
"No more 'ey yo I forgot my keys can you open the door for me??' Put a bell on the damn things and leave a spare key with someone who lives nearby or you will be SO FUCKED." — anhamirak
You'll get some kickass interior design skills under your belt.
"[I'm so proud of] my leopard print comforter with my hot pink sheets." — anonymous, age 26
"I was always just happy that I got to paint the walls whatever color I wanted and did not have to consult with anyone else." — anonymous, age 31
"I have the marijuana American flag on my wall and it's huge. I'm so proud." — anonymous, age 21
"Before I moved to the city where I live now, some friends and I painted a large canvas for my 30th birthday party. It's the first thing I see when I come home now, and it always reminds me that I'm not as lonely as I sometimes feel." — anonymous, age 30
You'll come to value your friends and family like never before.
"My best friend is always, always in my home and practically lives there. She comes over and cooks for me since I barely use my kitchen." — anonymous, age 21
"Have someone – a friend, relative, neighbor, coworker – who is reliable, dependable and trustworthy, who can help you in case of an emergency. There will always be occurrences when you will need help unexpectedly. No one ever really lives alone because at some point you will need another person's assistance. And make sure you are that dependable person's 'dependable other' and return the favor when they need you." — broadstrokesmt
Your most important relationship — the one with yourself — will flourish.
"It is both easier and harder to hide from yourself when you live alone. There's no one around to observe your habits (making it easier to hide from others), and your truest self presents itself (making it harder to hide from yourself)." — idkyoubutiprobablyloveyou
"I think living alone without roommates, constant noise and distraction allows you to reflect on yourself and focus on the people who are really important to you." — anonymous, age 22
"You need to make sure you are someone you can spend time with." — quietandgreen