3 Life Skills I’ve Learned in 6 Months of Living Alone
The first question I get asked when people find out I live alone, is, “oh… how do you like it?” The question is always asked with a weird sense of mutual exclusivity… Are they trying to hear all of the things I actually don’t like about living alone? Or, are they interested in hearing that I am so happy to be free of living with people that I’m like a kid fresh out of high school who is finally getting taste of the “freedom” that is college. Either way, my answer is always the same-
“I love living alone. It has brought me by far the most intense, impactful & meaningful insights about myself.”
Deep? Maybe for some. Wasn’t quite the simplistic answer you were seeking or anticipating? No problem, you shouldn’t have asked! 😉 If you know me, you know personal growth is my jam. This shit really lights me up. Give me the floor!
When I initially started searching for a new apartment, number of bedrooms was something I struggled with. Did I want to get a studio or 1 bedroom? A roommate was not an option for me, as I have never lived truly on my own and believe it is something every woman should experience at some point in her life, should her circumstances allow. Since I pray that the next stages of my life include new blessings, such as a husband and children, I know that this is truly the only time I have to have definitively my own space. However, I am so high on my personal growth journey, that I also had to consider my goals in my decision making. I am only focused on learning, growing, goal setting and achievement. So, each and every life lesson is an important one. Here are a few that have resonated with me-
I’ve learned the discipline to not allow lonely nights to sway me gently into poor decision making. I remember nights that I’d text my ex (knowing I shouldn’t have) because I knew that my roommates or sister were around to keep me company. To cry to when he didn’t respond, to complain to when his response was poor. When I’m alone, my discipline must be tight. I know that my struggles allow me to go to extremes of emotion, especially if I’m alone and don’t have to be held accountable for keeping my emotions taught. Whether it be texting an ex, participating in a bad habit, or not spending time focused on something beneficial, I had to learn to combat it. And boy, is it been hard. I speak in the present progressive tense because nope, I haven’t mastered this. But, this struggle is one I know I must conquer. If I can’t discipline my mind, I’ll fall for anything.
I’ve learned to be more responsible with my finances. I must admit, living with others gives you a bit of a sense of “family” if your situation is good. You have less responsibility for finances because you’re in a shared space and your spending reflects that. There isn’t as much of a need to be disciplined, so regulating finances often slips through the cracks. Living alone has given me a whole new outlook on my spending. I am 100% responsible for everything in my apartment. If food goes wasted, it’s on me. When toiletries get low, it is my responsibility to replace them. I’m more aware of utility and energy spending, so lights left on, sleeping with my in use is no longer an acceptable option. This has been difficult for me to really get a grip on, and my awareness of the topic has made me a bit more frugal. But, this is a life skill I should’ve worked on mastering years ago. Learning it now, while I’m at the height of my career thus far, has been challenging. I highly encourage you to start an expense spreadsheet! There are plenty of templates or planners you can purchase. I promise you, its some of the smartest money you’ll spend!
I’ve learned to keep promises to myself. Sounds so cliche, I know. but stick with me, I swear I have a point! Self-care comes in so many forms, in my opinion! I love to revert to a few activities for self-care and they are-
- Cleaning while listening to music
- Active yoga/stretching with music
- Taking a bath
- Journaling/Prayer Journaling
Why is it that each and every time I sit down to do any of these activities, I always consider doing another task that I somehow always categorize as “more important.” While I’m doing that task when I choose to prolong a self-care activity, I’m not focused, I’m tired, antsy, or simply just lose motivation. Why? Because my mind told my body that I needed a break and I started! I then substitute that for something, typically for someone else, that I deem more important than refilling my cup. Sending a couple of extra e-mails so my morning isn’t 3 e-mails heavier is not an excuse for taking care of myself. Ever.
But, it’s so easy! I can always do it later… Right? No. Absolutely not. Let me ask you something- do you ever think that when you commit to plans with a friend? Would you legitimately not care about letting them down because last minute you decided to back out on the plan? No. So, treat yourself with the same respect. Even when it’s easy to quit, change your mind, or find something “more productive.” You must be kind and accountable to yourself, even when nobody’s watching.
I’ve been learning quite a bit about thee inner workings of who I am recently. While I still have a long way to go, I’m pleased with my progress. Solitude has allowed me to truly appreciate where I’ve been, how far I’ve come, and where I’m going. You know that moment you think to yourself, “wow, I prayed for this and here it is.” That’s been me a lot recently. Shout out to God for teaching me patience, resilience, courage and grace. And, for ALWAYS coming through on His promises. I’m forever grateful.