As a little girl, like most little girls, I used to dream about what life would be like when I was a “grown up.” And unlike most little girls who dreamt of being married with kids by age 23, I dreamt about living all by myself in a kickass apartment in a city somewhere. I’m sure that this dream was at least partially bred by the overcrowding in my childhood home, and the fact that for most of my childhood I had to share even a bedroom with one or both of my sisters. Being of a more solitary disposition as a child, often trapped in a book or getting elbow deep in nature, digging up worms or looking or frogs, this was what I considered torture. I usually took to camping out in one of the bathrooms in our house with a book just to have my own space, which of course led to constant sibling ribbing (which continues to this day) about my “epic bathroom sessions.”
And now, here I am. Living all by myself in my kickass one bedroom beach apartment in a major international city. Since this is the first time I’ve ever lived without a roommate or significant other, I’ve decided to document some of the things I’m loving (and not loving) about this realization of my childhood day dreams.
1.) Pants? Nah, I’ll Pass
I’ve now become accustomed to waltzing around in the nude, or in various states of undress. In fact, my average weekday morning goes something like this: Wake up, go for a run, shower, eat breakfast, dry hair, procrastinate until I only have 15 minutes til the last bus, hastily apply makeup, get dressed quickly, leave house in haste. Clothing myself is the last thing I do. Well, I go for a run with clothes on, otherwise you’d have seen a post from an Australian jail. I’ve also started down the slippery slope of viewing pants as optional when I come home from work, and just remain pantsless until it’s time for PJs and bed. I should probably invite company over more often or pretty soon I might make like Lady Gaga and leave the house without pants on. (Note to former roommates: I do realize that I’d often run around the house in only my underthings, but it has gotten much, much worse.)
2.) The Mess is Mine
Anyone who has had roommates knows it’s a study in getting over your own petty annoyances. And the older you get, the harder it can be to overcome those petty annoyances. It’s never as annoying when you need to clean up last night’s dishes that you dirtied so you can make an omelet the next morning, but your roommates? Suddenly you’re a long-suffering Molly Maid, grumbling as you rinse and toss whatever fits into the dishwasher in there, thinking about how YOU always clean up after yourself (though this is a total lie). When you live alone, the mess is always yours. Always. So if it’s annoying, you can only be annoyed with yourself (and who really does that, anyway?).
3.) The Chores are Mine, Too
There are a few household duties I have the most irrational aversion to. Taking out the trash is one of these. It’s just such a hassle to pull the smelly bag out of the bin, tie it up, and haul the stinking mess all the way to wherever it’s supposed to go to be collected. I can think of about 1000 things I’d rather do, and every time the trash is full, I usually do them instead. I’m sure this has annoyed former roommates to no end (thanks for putting up with me, guys!) but it’s like I intentionally blind myself to the overflowing mess when I lift the trash lid and just scrunch everything down so my new piece of debris can fit. It’s usually the smell that finally propels me into action, once the garbage has rotted to a nuclear level. Not having a roommate means that I actually have to take out the trash. Every. Time.
4.) Weirdness has Reached an Entirely New Level
In prior living arrangements, I always had to keep not socially accepted behavior to a minimum (at least when in danger of having a roommate unexpectedly arrive home). Now? Total freak show. Do I suddenly feel like belting out a country jam at the top of my lungs? Call me Reba-freaking-McIntyre. Feel like dancing a little victory jig over loading the dishwasher properly? My awkward white girl rhythm will be unleashed. Feel like having an argument with myself? I’ll have at it, complete with slamming cabinets and shooting dirty looks into a mirror just to make sure my mean mug hasn’t lost it’s luster. Basically, I’m 6 cats short of being a crazy cat lady now. I’m going to pretend that this will change once my dog arrives, but honestly, I’ll probably just start having conversations with him instead of just myself.
5.) The Disaster Zone has Expanded
When living with roommates, I was always conscious of the state of the common areas in the home. I’d frequently straighten up and declutter the living room, making sure personal goods like shoes or coats were returned to the appropriate closet. Meanwhile, my bedroom would look like a clothes bomb had exploded, flinging garments in every direction. Now that I have run of an entire apartment, the clothes bomb has improved in it’s shrapnel-scattering capabilities. I’ll come home from work and find a bra on the kitchen counter, a pair of jeans on the couch, three different tops that didn’t make the cut that morning in the bathroom sink. And the worst part of all – sometimes I’ll just let them pile up for a few days before I do anything about it. Any unexpected guest might get a nice view of my underwear collection on the dining chairs, or my Spanx on full display on the coffee table.
Other Pros to Flying Solo:
– No pee splatter to clean up. All. Over. The. Bathroom. (If you live or have lived with a man, you know what I’m talking about).
– If the Tupperware goes missing, I know the culprit (evil plastic-eating kitchen elves).
– No fighting over the remote!
– Not needing to drunkenly tiptoe around if coming home late, and no getting woken up by drunk roomies who think they’re tiptoeing.
– No one to feed the pup when I have post-work plans
– No automatic buddy to crack a bottle of wine and validate my emotions with (unless prior plans are made)
– Not coming home and finding the dishwasher magically unloaded
– No one to goad me into doing my laundry (another despised chore)
– No one to kill spiders or other weird bugs that wander in
– if the jar lid is stuck, it stays stuck
Real world example: Just the other day I was eating a lovely dinner I had made for myself, and in my haste to get it in my belly I failed to fully chew a piece of meat before I tried to swallow it. I started to panic as it lodged itself at the top of my throat and refused to go any further, thinking about how I was going to have to run across the hall and pound on Suzy’s door for help while pantsless and covered in paint. Fortunately, I managed to swallow it, but I think this also highlights a major con of not living with anyone: no emergency Heimlich when needed.