Since my late teens, I’ve always known I wanted to live by myself for at least a year. Being a burden is not something I ever want to be and it’s something I often felt like I was as a child. I think that’s where this idea was born. I also considered personal achievement. If I never lived by myself, how would I know I could survive by myself? This idea strengthened in college. I had friends whose parents lived together though they weren’t happy and would probably prefer a divorce. Unfortunately, they had become financially dependent on each other, so they stayed together. I never want that to be me. That’s not good for either party, friends or lovers. No one wants to exist close to someone knowing the only reason they stick around is because they financially couldn’t make it without you. Especially when it comes to a life partner, I never want the reason I stay to be money.
I never want to settle because I’m afraid of living on my own. So, here I am. I’ve lived on my own for over a year now. For me, personally, it has come with three tiny issues I never expected to be a big deal. Let’s start with the least harmful and most disgusting.
These fugly little creatures are the bane of my existence. Living in a garden level apartment with a lake in the back yard, I am guaranteed to see these guys crawling around. No amount of cleanliness (that I may or may not stay on top of) can stop these guys from appearing.
Being short, these guys are a special nuisance. It’s like they know I’m short. Even using my step stool, I can’t reach them when they are high on the wall or on the ceiling. Then, I discovered the tool every person living on their own needs to own: a Swiffer Sweeper. No creepy, crawly, ugly thing can get past me now! In fact, I’ve become a little spoiled. Even when a spider is close enough for me to touch, I never get closer than the length of my Swiffer. That thing is a godsend.
I never thought I’d actually deal with a peeping Tom while living on my own. I’m not much to look at as it is. Nevertheless, earlier this year, I woke up to see a man staring at me through my bedroom window. So many thoughts rush through your head after that experience. What was he looking for? Was he looking for me or looking for something to steal? How often has he stared at me? What has he seen?
Here’s something I want everyone to know, but especially women. Call 911 if you have even a suspicion of malicious activity. Once I noticed him and the guy ran away, I thought I was no longer in an emergency. My life wasn’t in danger. I called the local police number but I should have called 911 right away. The officer who came told me people call 911 when they lock their keys in their car. I guess you can call 911 for any problem and they go from there. Just don’t call and hang up without saying anything.
Don’t forget your keys! I know this is a thing girls are often told, but I think it’s important for men as well. When walking in the dark, keep your keys in your hand to use as a quick weapon. When you live alone, there’s not always someone to notice if something happens. There’s no one to worry when you don’t come home.
This actually brings me to my last, and most frustrating issue when living alone
Can anyone live on their own without becoming a little paranoid? I’ve done a lot of crazy things just out of extra nervousness. I’ve slept with lights on and currently I keep my sword right next to my bed. Who cares if I know how to use it. At the very least, it makes for a good club. I’ve laid in bed, come close to falling asleep, only to let the thought of my locks wake me up. Sometimes, the worry is so great I get out of bed to double check my doors are locked.
The same thing happens when I leave my apartment. Did I turn off the stove? Are my doors locked? I have actually driven away from my apartment for a few blocks, only to turn around and double check everything is locked up.
You become more suspicious living on your own because you know you are your only defense should anything go wrong. Sure, there are people you can call for help, but you’re on your own until they arrive.
Having been on my own for over a year, I think I’m done. I’d much rather live with a partner or roommate than by self in the future. That said, I am extremely happy I lived on my own for a period of time. The spiders and paranoia aren’t great and I’m sure there are other risks I haven’t even considered, but I know I can do it. If something happens to my partner or if I am ever in a situation where I must live by myself again, I know I can. It’s a big deal to me. It means that, no matter where I am in life, I always have some extra independence. So long as I have my Swiffer Sweeper and a sword, no one can stop me!
Have you ever lived by yourself before? What did you learn? Do you think living by yourself poses different challenges depending on your gender? What advice would you give to someone living by themself today?