The Grass Isn’t Always Greener: Ways to Find Joy in Your Living Arrangement

The Grass Isn’t Always Greener: Ways to Find Joy in Your Living Arrangement

Adrienne Breaux
Oct 1, 2015

Is there any greater joy than opening your front door after a grueling, seemingly infinite work day and coming face to face with someone who you love, who cares about you and who's happy to have you back home? Living with a partner, with a beloved roommate and even with parents can be full of a lot of great things...except when it’s not. Just like living alone is awesome...except when it’s lonely.

If you ever find yourself peering over the proverbial fence to see if the the grass is greener on the other side, here's how to snap back to the present and find joy where you are now with your current living arrangement.

When you share your space with someone(s) else:

Sure it's cool to not be alone in the house when you hear a scary noise at night and have someone to help share the rent and bills, but living with people is TOUGH. Fights, misunderstandings, having to deal with someone else's sleeping schedule, cooking smells, messes and entertaining habits — there's a lot of compromise. If you've been feeling irritated with your shared living arrangement and dreaming of shucking your partners or roommates to live alone, here's how to get back to a place of excitement and appreciation for who you share your space with:

1. Take breaks
Take day or small overnight trips every once in awhile to give yourself some alone time (or just away from the other people time). You'll find yourself missing their quirks in no time.

2. Work on communication
A tense home thanks to fighting or misunderstanding is no fun to come home to. So do the work needed to make expectations clear.

3. Do the math
Need to be reminded that it's worth it? See how much you're saving by sharing a living space. It might be one of the more cold tips on this list, but it might help making something seem way less annoying when you realize how much you're saving.

4. Do something fun in the home with them
Sometimes doing chores and paying the bills doesn't exactly remind you how much fun it is to live with someone, so make fun and enjoy spending time with people you like in your home.

When you live solo:

Long stretches of time in your home where you can do whatever you want (in whatever amount of clothing you may or may not want to wear). You can skip some chores in you're busy and hear no complaints. You can watch your favorite show for eight-hour stretches without any judgmental looks or sighs. But living alone can be TOUGH. You can get lonely. Depending on where you live, living alone can be pricey. There's no one else to blame a sink full of dishes on. You can realize how stunningly vulnerable you are to attack when you think you hear someone breaking in at night (even if it's just actually a raccoon or branch at a window). You are the sole person responsible with dealing and disposing with bugs. If you've been feeling like you never want to live alone again and are willing to take on a roommate, any roommate, here's how to love living alone again.

1. Don't let yourself turn into a slob
Though there's no one to leave passive aggressive notes to you to clean out the old food from the fridge, you still have to keep your home clean, because living in a mess (even if it's one of your own making) can be pretty depressing.

2. Get out of the house
Even if you love a lot of alone time, don't let your home be a prison or a crutch; get out and see the world a little bit (even if it's just your own city or neighborhood).

3. Invite others into the house
Just because you're the only name on the lease or mortgage doesn't mean you can't ever have people inside your home. Invite trusted friends over every now and then to share your space.

4. Enjoy getting to do things you can only do alone
Did you have an old roommate who complained about your sauerkraut making hobby? An old flame hate that you took up the whole bed? Indulge in the things you can only really enjoy to their fullest when you live alone. Brainstorm a list and put these activities into your regularly rotation.

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