Tuesday, July 8, 2014

perk #12 – living alone

I haven’t lived on my own for a few years now, and I had forgotten what it felt like. I have now owned my house for a year, and until last month I had roommates. It has only been a few weeks, but I now remember how liberating it feels to have my own place. I love it, especially as a homeowner, not a renter.

I love coming home knowing that I can chill after a hectic day and just sit on my couch or my porch swing, not speak, and relax reading a book or watching TV. But it’s more than just having the house to myself. Owning and caring for a house by myself is empowering. I take such pride in maintaining my house. I feel productive doing yard work, or cleaning inside. I love being handy and fixing things around the house myself. I’m the girl that looks for a reason to bust out my hammer or my electric drill. It makes me feel like Rosie the Riveter. 

Then there is the really fun stuff…decorating. I can consult my plethora of Pinterest boards, and do as many projects as I want. No second opinions, no deciding what to do with the extra bedrooms, I can make my decision and run with it.

People have asked me on many occasions when I’ve lived alone before if I get lonely or bored. The answer is no, I don’t get lonely or bored. I see people and hang out with friends all the time. And I love being able to have my friends over to my house for hang out nights. I’ve always loved being the hostess. But I also love being able to come home and relax by myself. It’s important to have quality time alone. June was a ridiculously busy month at work, and I had very little free time outside of work to be alone and recharge after a long day. So for those particular times, I love that I can have some peace and quiet. In fact, there was one day a few weeks ago when I turned off my phone, and stayed home all day, catching up on housework and enjoying my alone time after having none in over 2 weeks. It was exactly what I needed.

I highly recommend to any singles to look at buying a house. You have no idea how much of a learning and growing experience it is until you try it. Yes, things will break and money will be tight at times, but that will happen whether you’re married or not, and when you come out of those times, it’s so awesome to feel proud that you overcame the challenge. And I know that the knowledge I’ve gained in just one year will help me in the long run when I own another home, or get married and buy a house with someone else.

Living alone and owning a home have taught me a lot about life and how to take care of myself, and I’m so grateful for the experience. I’m thankful that my dad encouraged me to buy a house, and that it wasn’t something I waited to do until marriage. Yes, having an extra set of hands and a dual income would be helpful when owning a home, but I actually like the challenge of relying on my own skills and budget. It’s a reality check when you realize that it’s up to you to allocate your money, keep up with the house, and most importantly, make sure that you develop and maintain relationships so that you don’t become a loner (not a good thing).

Living alone may not be for every single person. If you do currently live alone and you find yourself becoming isolated from the outside world, perhaps it’s time for you to widen your social circle. How you ask? Well, that’s up to you really. One of the ways I found was to host one of our church’s community groups at my house, and I joined another. I met a bunch of new people that way, and many of those people turned into great friends. Or get out of your comfort zone by asking people you work with or go to church with to hang out. That sounds so simple, and I don’t want anyone thinking “this is so obvious, why is she telling me this…” because it was a challenge for me this year. I wrote a previous post about widening my social circle, and at that point, I had a lot of room to grow in this area. Now looking back, I realize I took my own advice and made some new friends just by asking some awesome girls I work with if they wanted to hang out and have a girls’ night. I had never hung out with them before, but I thought they were cool people, so I took the initiative. Now, I have some great new friends. Same with the community group I host. Our group became so tight knit that we were all just in awe of how much we had grown to care for each other, and we can’t wait to start up again in the fall. All of that combined has made me busy, in a very good way. But it makes me all the more grateful I live by myself. I can fill my week with hang outs and get togthers, but I can always come back to a quiet place for some “me” time. And on days like I had a few weeks ago when I need to shut out the world for the sake of my mental health, I can. No need to organize plans or coordinate a time to spend alone, I just shut off my phone and no one can get to me. I can hear myself think, and I can do whatever I want. No one is waiting for me, and no one is wondering where I am and when I’ll be back. I’m free to do as I please.

I know this perk is not as in depth as many of my other recent posts, but I feel it is just as important. When you get married, you will never live alone again. There will always be someone around. That sounds awesome in some ways, but then again that may be a huge change for those of us that are single young professionals. I think of how independent I am and I realize I am thankful for the time I have now to just be me and have my own place. I am in no way opposed to marriage and having someone around the house for the rest of my life, but it’s nice knowing that this actually is a gift from God for this season in my life. I could look at it in a negative way and let it make me feel lonely, but I don’t see it that way. I see it as a positive, growing, challenging, and relaxing gift. I hope that this encourages those of you that may live alone and think that this is not how you would prefer things. Make some new friends or be better about getting together with old friends, and you will quickly be grateful for your little oasis you can retreat to at the end of the day for some good old R&R. 

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