Lately, it seems that many of my conversations with friends concern our living situations, and particularly that condemned-or-commended state of Living Alone as a Single Person. One of my closest friends is adjusting to this after her sister/best friend/flatmate moved out to live with her fiancé. Another friend recently went through a major break-up and has moved to a new apartment by herself. Though I've currently got a flatmate (who is awesome! hi Jo!), I've also been eyeing the London property ladder and dreaming about the day that I too, can count myself as a single-person household.
Like many things, living alone is definitely a double-edged sword, and there will be drawbacks, as well. But in the interest of keeping things positive, here are 7 fantastic things about being and living single. (And no, it's not all the "walk around naked" stuff. Do people really walk around naked that much? Seriously, I want to know.)
1. Decorate exactly how you want to. Go on— paint that wall your favorite neon shade or splurge on that ridiculous piece you've always secretly wanted. You don't need anyone's approval! (Bonus points if that piece is a hot pink bathtub or life-sized horse sculpture.)
2. Be as clean or as messy as you want. I mean, within reason. Sometimes our habits can drive those around us crazy— whether it's our daily polishing of the bathroom mirror (is this you and would you like to live with me please?) or our tendency to leave dishes stacked in the sink until morning (I will work on this).
3. Sleep in the middle of the bed. Very important. None of this "leave space in your home for someone to enter your life" nonsense, please — spread out! You can always buy a bigger bed if you decide to share in future.
4. No more taking turns. This can be both a good thing (as in, no more having to take turns sitting on the comfy side of the sofa when you watch Game of Thrones), and a bad one (no more taking turns cleaning the bathroom). But let's focus on the positives, shall we?
5. Time and space for all your projects. Whatever you're interested in, whether it's painting large-scale canvases or learning Spanish, living alone means you don't have to clear up, keep it down or apologize for your passions. For me, this means no more sheepish apologies to my flatmate when she comes home hungry and with groceries, only to find every square inch of our kitchen covered with food, pots and pans because I went on a surprise baking bender. Oops.
6. Getting out and being with people. When you've got a built-in buddy at home, sometimes days can pass without needing to leave the house. Maybe I'm wrong, but when I lived alone (briefly, and many years ago), I got out more consistently than when I've lived with boyfriends or flatmates. Silence and solitude are fantastic, but they do force you do make plans, call a friend, take a walk, etc.
7. Not using it as a financial excuse. This is one I'm still working on. My city is expensive, and it's frustrating to see your coupled-up friends take incredible holidays, buy amazing (or even tiny) flats, and generally live a lifestyle made more attainable by the fact that their household has two incomes.
(And yes: I realize that the image of my friends and I, sitting around and sipping £14 cocktails while we complain about how we can't afford anything in London as singles, is as ridiculous as it is accurate.)
But no more. So maybe I'll be 50 by the time I can afford to buy and live solo in this town. No matter; I'll be the happiest 50-year-old homeowner ever, and it will feel all the better because I did it myself. That's the plan, anyway.
Do you live alone as a single? Have you? What's great about it for you?