I'm a firm believer in the idea of everyone living alone at least once in their life. In fact, I'm in the solo-living-forever-if-I-can camp. Not only can it be a fun and enjoyable experience for most folks, I think you can also learn a lot about yourself. Here are six of the most important things living alone can teach you about you.
1. Your natural sleep schedule
With no partner tossing and turning every night beside you in bed and no roommates stomping around very early or very late, living alone presents a great opportunity to examine and notice your own sleeping schedules. You never know how many years you've been falsely reporting that you're a night owl that was actually the result of having roommates that kept you up late (and groggy in the morning). Why would you want to get in touch with this part of yourself? Well knowing what your body naturally desires in sleep amounts and times might help you get back on the track of being your most productive. And when you live alone you also have more control over your sleeping environment, which could help you shape your sleep schedule if you discover you don't naturally fall into the time ranges you'd like.
2. How much trash you make
When you live with other people, it's hard to really gauge how much you're contributing to the weekly trash bag. Maybe you think you aren't making all that much? But living by yourself is a great way to see just how much trash you have to take out to the curb or dumpster every week. If you feel like the bag's a bit too heavy for one person, consider ways you might be able to reduce your trash.
3. The upper limits of the size of bug you're willing and able to handle
I can handle most bugs that find their way into my home, but there is a size limit to which I throw an upside down cup over the problem and wait until someone braver than me arrives on the scene to help clean up. It's good knowledge to have on now and in the future.
4. How much or how little you might like to share your home
Living with someone else and entertaining is a bit like wearing a security blanket to a party. Sure you're there shaking hands and getting over social nervousness, but it's a bit more comfortable, too. Until you live alone, it's hard to figure out how much you like it when you invite people to your home and the kinds of parties and activities you like having them over for. There's just something about having people come into a space that's solely your own that helps defines those entertaining boundaries, and helps you shape the kind of entertaining plans you make in the future.
5. Your style
If you struggle pinpointing your own personal home decorating style, you might think that being alone isn't going to be much of a help — especially if you're struggling with design decisions or narrowing down your look. But freeing yourself from the influence of another person's stuff and style will give you insights into your own tastes, even if you don't figure it out entirely.
6. What it is you like about spending time with people
Until you've gone a few days (or if you work from home, weeks) by yourself alone in your own home, you might not know the distinct emotion of feeling like you have to see another person right now lest you turn into a permanent hermit. What this sort of residential isolation can do is help narrow down just what it is you like about spending time with other people the most. Is is it deep, connected conversations? Is it having partners in adventure? These kinds of insights can help inform how you spend your time — and might even lead to more enriching relationships where you're your best person.
- Re-edited from a post originally published on 10.19.2015 - CM