Top 5 Things I Realized Living On My Own

One of the many milestones we look forward to in our young adult lives is moving out of our parents’ home or out of our campus dorms and into a place we call our own. By happy misfortune, I was not picked in the housing lottery for my junior year. My saved searches on Zillow were already prepared for this day since freshman year. I went on house and apartment tours all over Atlanta and fell in love with their perfectly decorated displays and ridiculously good impressions by my neighbors. After tackling the tedious process of house hunting and moving into your new abode, you come to realize some things about this side of adulting. So here are five realizations I came to in my first year living on my own.

1. No Place Is Perfect, Not Even Home

Embroidered yellow house with saying "There's no place like home" in red embroidery

No matter how enticing of a first impression your landlord or apartment leasing office makes upon the tour, no place is “perfect.” Do not take this as a direction to expect and choose the worst. My advice to anyone deadset on getting their first place soon: do not let the model fool you. Understand that even the best property, in the best zip code or side of town, is still far from perfect. Unless you have planned and saved accordingly, your first place is most likely going to focus on living comfortably before you can live luxuriously.

2. Everything Counts. Everything.

Black calculator and ink pen on top of blank ledger

Did you think that your parents were melodramatic when they lectured you about leaving the lights on and the water running too long? Oh no, it is real. Living on my own has made me incredibly conscious of quite literally everything. From leaving my bathroom light on, leaving the water running as I brush my teeth to how often I even breathe near the thermostat. I might be a tad dramatic, but you get the point. This sentiment especially applies to rent. Whether you are paying rent entirely on your own or receiving help from your parents, everything counts. If you weren’t detail oriented before, living on your own will make you pull out a fine tooth comb without realizing it.

3. Neighbors Can Be A Nuisance & An Ally

Neighbors in front of their windows interacting with each other

No one wants to deal with a nosy neighbor. However, those nosy neighbors can come in handy from time to time. It can be easy to fall into the mindset of keeping your head down and minding your business, especially you are shy and or on the introverted side. Some neighbors want tea, and some neighbors genuinely care about you and your wellbeing. Make friends with your immediate neighbors or at least get on good terms with them. You’ll need someone to look out for you.

4. There’s Just Something About Solitude

Young woman enjoying alone time in her living room

Before I got my apartment, I thought that I would be hosting every weekend. And boy, was I ten types of wrong. My friends are always welcome, but there’s just something about “me time” in my own space. More than likely you are used to constant stimuli from being under the same roof as family members or in close quarters with classmates. After becoming used to that continuous stimuli, the shift can either be unsettling or blissful. Even if troubling, there comes a part of you that appreciates that alone time. Plus your place stays cleaner longer.

5. Not Always A Dream But Doesn’t Have To Be A Nightmare

"It's Not So Bad!" coming from red megaphone against golden background

It’s no secret that living on your own for the first time, be it with roommates or entirely by yourself, is a big jump. Some may even consider it scary. My immediate and extended family made sure to continually remind me of the dangers of being on my own in an entirely different city and state. The world can be a scary place, let’s not pretend that it is a utopia. But living on your own does not have to be frightening. Embrace this newfound independence- while being safe of course. While embarking on your journey of freedom, do not allow for pride and ego to prevent you from asking for help. Taking advantage of your available lifelines makes the transition a lot less scary.

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