How to survive living alone

Living alone

I’ve lived alone for just over a year now. At first, I was very overwhelmed and rather lonely. I was dealing with two new jobs on top of all of the responsibilities of apartment ownership (more like “rentership”), and because I work with so many snotty kids, I got sick a lot. I would routinely call my mother and ask stupid questions. I think she sensed my panic, because sometimes groceries would just show up in my fridge while I was at work, and dishes would do themselves (magic!). It was the hugest blessing.

It’s been awhile since a panic-driven phone call (now they’re just regular ones), and I think I’m finally getting the hang of being a real life adult. I’m coping.

I’ve come up with some strategies to keep myself and any fellow lone-dwellers sane. It’s list time.

How to Survive Living Alone

Buy a plant. I have Cynthia, an overly dramatic plant that doesn’t do well in the sun or near an open window. She’s basically the worst plant ever, but I love her like a mother loves her whiny little child. She makes me aware of the space around me. She draws attention to things I’ve been neglecting. She forces me (in a small way) to care for something other than just me.

Watch a lot of TV. I’m not one to sit and veg every single night, but I do have the TV on quite often. I didn’t have a TV for the first six months or so of living here, and I didn’t realize how crazy that was making me. As soon as I got the TV, I found my evenings so much more bearable. Enjoyable, even. TV gets my brain moving. Kevin Arnold is still the best ever.

Cook big meals. Just because I’m alone doesn’t mean I’m eating terribly. I’ll cook a giant meal meant for a family of nine, and freeze the rest for later. Every week I try to buy something new at the grocery store. Last week it was radicchio (ew). Through this process, I’ve discovered that I love goat cheese, beets and brussel sprouts. Any suggestions for what I should try next?

Yell at the parrot in the apartment below you. Sometimes he yells back.

Invite people over. While living at my parents, I was never overly neat and tidy. I couldn’t never understand why my mother was so particular about our living space. I get it now. It’s mine. I don’t want to live in filth. I want to come home to something that makes me happy. However, if I don’t invite people over, I turn into a perfectionist. When people come over they put their feet on my pillows, they sit on my white duvet with their dark wash denim, and they get water spots all over my bathroom mirror. It’s uncomfortable. When people come over, it reminds me that it’s not the end of the world if my place is lived in. That’s what it’s for. Living.

Get out. I’ve started a Zumba class (hate it), Pilates class (like it) and a pottery class (love it). I’m doing things that I didn’t have time to do while I was a student. It’s wonderful.

Write write write. Whether it’s tweets, Facebook messages, emails or actual pieces of writing, living alone lets me write whenever I want. I can write during dinner, when I should be cleaning or when I’m in bed. I can connect with people outside of the apartment at any time of the day. While I’m isolated here, there’s a whole world that can be accessed through words. Twitter is my roommate.

Talk to yourself in silly voices. It’s fun. It also makes your neighbours wonder.

Flickr photo (cc) by  lanonasinfonia.