The Art Of Living Alone

It's said that living alone is something we should all experience at least once in our lives, and after doing so myself, I can really see why this advice is given. Despite moving out of my family home when I was nineteen, it wasn't until years later when I got a place on my own (without friends or a partner) that I really got to find out who I was as a person. If you've ended up living alone for the first time, perhaps purely through choice or as a result of a family or relationship breakdown- just know that it will be ok. As scary and daunting as it seems at first, if you're in the right frame of mind it can be an excellent learning experience, something you'll look back on in the future and feel proud of how far you've come. It's a chance to mature, to grow mentally and through time alone you can figure out who you really are. Here's my advice on living alone, based on my own experiences.

One of the biggest considerations when you live alone is whether you'll be able to afford it. For me, this meant moving away from the place I grew up in, since the homes there were just too expensive.  Luckily I'm a freelancer and run my own business from home, so I didn't have ties to any place when it came to work. It meant I could pick pretty much wherever I wanted that was affordable, but I do appreciate that not everyone is going to have this luxury. If commuting is an option for you, this is something to consider but be sure to add up the costs. Otherwise, transferring to another location within your company or changing jobs completely could be the only way to go. The tricky thing for me was that while moving away meant I could afford a nice place to live, along with living alone I was also miles away from anyone I knew.  Staying flexible really helped here, as I was aware from the start that I probably wasn't going to be able to tick every box on my list. I felt that a better home in a nicer area was worth the compromise of living further away- but have a think about what's most important to you. Once you've found somewhere with rent costs that you can afford, add up what the bills are likely to be too so you can be sure you're able to cover everything. There are ways you can get your bills down a little, if you have a water meter fitted then your water bill will be far cheaper, as it's only you using it. Council tax also offer a twenty five percent discount to those living alone. However, overall it's always going to be expensive living by yourself, so check that it's something you can realistically do.

When you tell people you live alone, they instantly assume that you spend all of your time sat by yourself. Admittedly, you do get more alone time- and coming home to an empty house is something that can take some getting used to. But it's all about your mindset- instead of feeling that it's lonely, consider how peaceful it is. Think of the freedom you have being able to come and go whenever you like without having to answer to anyone. For me, I spent far more time with friends when I lived alone than I ever did previously. When you have a partner, it's easy to pass up social occasions for a night sat on the sofa not doing much. When you're on your own, you're more motivated to get up and see people. Not to mention you have your own place that you can host people at, so your house tends to become a little hub of socialisation. I loved having friends over for cocktails and throwing dinner parties for them at my home, having them over to stay. It's a great perk of living alone.

Practical issues
When I first started living alone, it was the practical issues that worried me. I didn't know how to set up flat pack furniture, I'd just learned to drive so struggled getting around at first, and was worried about things like safety. However, I needn't have stressed about it. You really do figure these things out as you go, it all helps you to become more independent. If you're worried about being a woman living alone, there are plenty of cctv systems you can purchase without spending a bomb, or you could ask your landlord if they will install a burglar alarm. There are all kinds of guides and tutorials online to teach yourself anything these days, so have faith in your intelligence and know that you'll figure it out. For me, one of the best things to come out of living alone was that my driving ability came on leaps and bounds. Living miles away from family and friends and having no one to rely on to drive me places like the shops or the gym, I had to be brave and do it myself. After a few weeks, it clicked in my mind that I really could do it. If you don't already, I highly recommend learning to drive before moving out by yourself, it certainly made my life a lot easier. I no longer live alone, but it's thanks to that time that I have now confidence to get in my car and go wherever I want.

There's a concept suggesting that to play the game of life to your best ability, you have to be detached. This doesn't mean being cold or uncaring, rather, being detatched from a need to control things, or hold onto the familiar. For me, living alone really enabled me to experience this. Being completely independent, and proving to yourself that you can stand on your own two feet without the help of anyone else does wonders for your self esteem. When you don't need anyone to be in your life, it makes it easy to choose who you want there. This allows you to surround yourself with the very best people for you, and easily cut out those who are toxic or negative.

Have you ever lived alone?