Being a single person certainly has its drawbacks (along with cringeworthy stories of forays into the dating scene); but let's put a pin in the emotional side of it and focus on the practical side of living alone. When you go from being the better half of a couple to a party of one, your lifestyle automatically changes a bit. From grocery shopping to paying all of the rent, we reflect on the pros and cons of living single...
We've conferred with our old buddies Kelley and Russell to compile a list of pros, cons, and tips for living single based on our own personal experiences.
Top 5 Pros to Living Single
1. Being alone.
2. Playing the same album, loudly, 10 times in a row so I can learn the lyrics and still sing the wrong thing. This is usually done whilst cooking (see 3) or getting ready in the morning (see 5).
3. Eating breakfast food for dinner, having snacks as meals and cooking the same thing 4 nights in a row. Oh, and buying only the food I want and like.
4. Going to sleep ridiculously early or ridiculously late. Also waking up ridiculously early or ridiculously late. Oh yeah, and the bed? It's all mine. I'm going to lay every which way and use every inch of it.
5. Changing clothes 5 times before deciding on the first thing I put on and not having to hear about how weird that is. This is a prime example of what is known as "Scary Single Behavior: Stuff You'd Never Do In Front Of Your Mate."
Top 5 Cons to Living Alone
1. Being alone.
2. I swear I just heard a gun shot down the street. What is that weird sound by the window? Sounds like someone is outside the door. Hmm...guess I have to check on all of it by my lonesome self (and possibly a baseball bat and a phone).
3. Leftovers. Just so happens I seem to always cook too much. Then I have 3 more nights worth of the same thing. Not always a bad thing, but I do notice food tends to go bad more often. I could buy less, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. I just gave up clothes shopping, food shopping is my substitute retail therapy.
4. When the toilet paper is out, it's up to me to remember it. Also, when the first of month comes around or those pesky utility bills make their way into the mailbox, it's all siphoned from my bank account.
5. Not quite sure how I will change the light in my ceiling when it inevitably burns out. I don't have a ladder, and I forgot to grow taller than 5'2".
Tips to Living Single
1. We saw this once on the news: A group of college students would go to Costco once a month and stock up on the essentials (toilet paper, dishwashing detergent, laundry detergent, soap, etc) and split the cost of the membership, the bill, and the goods. (Here's a similar story from the Seattle Times). If you've got friendly neighbors, it might be worth splitting a membership to Costco to save money.
2. In theory, cooking for one is not that difficult: modify a recipe and buy the right amount of ingredients. Unfortunately, it never turns out that easy. Remember the scene in Father of the Bride when Steve Martin gets arrested at a grocery store when he goes AWOL on hot dog bun packaging? Or when you decide that you want to make burritos one night, and you end up trying to devise other meals to use up the other nine tortillas (side note: we've found that quesadillas are a pretty good way to use up vegetables). Our best solution to this? Take some extra time when you're compiling your grocery list to plan meals and count the leftovers....you might find yourself having a shorter grocery list for the week.
3. Some single people tend to fall in one of two extreme categories: the ones that go out quite a bit, and the ones who hibernate for weeks or months at a time. And while there's nothing wrong with either option (we've definitely felt both ends of the spectrum), it's always good to take a step back when you're feeling worn out or cabin feverish. Spend an enjoyable night in your home alone if you feel the need to recharge; or plan a night out to reconnect with old friends that you may not have seen in awhile.
4. If you're like me, single living tends to get...messy. A coat thrown over there, clothes on the floor, and glasses tend to be all over the house. I won't lie: sometimes, it's gotten so bad to the point where I will invite a friend over so I have some motivation to clean my house before they show up. What works for me now is to set aside an hour every morning to do a general pick up, things like sorting through the junk mail, going through the recycling, and clearing my desk of paper scraps and coffee mugs.
5. Money may not buy you happiness, but it sure makes life easier. The other day, we were listening to Wanda Sykes talk about Americans and our understanding of money: "We spend $48 million in LOTTERY TICKETS. You can't trust us with our money! 'How're you planning for retirement?' "Powerball.'" It's important to set a few long-term financial goals--especially if you've credit card debts and/or school loans to pay back. Since it's all on you, take some time to make sense of 401(k), IRAs, credit scores, and all the money mumbo-jumbo. The more you know about it, the better decisions you can make. A good primer: Suze Orman's The Money book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke.
Share your own pros and cons list along with any tips in the comments...
[ Photo from Living Single ]