Not everyone is cut out for this
I don’t like living alone.
There. I said it.
I never wanted to live alone. In fact, it’s something I had repeatedly said I would never do. Too scary at night, too quiet, too weird. But when the decision was made to move to Connecticut, where I knew no one, I really didn’t have a choice. So next thing I know, I’m moving into a one-bedroom apartment.
At first I just thought it would take some getting used to, and it did, and used to it I got. I come home, and there’s no one there. The place stays as clean or as messy as I left it. It’s only my food in the fridge (meaning it always looks empty). I’m used to that now; it’s my normal. But that doesn’t mean I love it.
I definitely see the perks. I have tons of space. The place is clean. My stuff stays wherever I put it. I don’t have to wear clothes if I don’t want to. I can go to bed and wake up whenever I want. Only movies, music and TV shows that I like get played. I almost never close the bathroom door. And it’s not that I’m bored or am unhappy being by myself. I am enjoying this new thing called free time, and I’m using it to do a lot more cooking, reading and TV watching than I’ve gotten to do in the past. Not to mention I have fallen in love with playing the guitar.
But, I recently decided and admitted, the adjustment to the working world combined with the adjustment to living alone has been a bit much for me. Between having evenings and weekends free from work and homework and coming home to a place where it’s just me (and having friends who mostly live alone, too), it’s so much more one-on-one with myself than I’m used to.
College, after all, is constant socialization. Between the chaos of classes, meetings, rehearsals and jobs, you’re hardly ever alone (or at least, I wasn’t), and when you do have small blips of free time, they’re quickly filled up with friends. Which is why I think I probably wouldn’t have noticed the aloneness if I’d lived alone while I was still in school; I would’ve been too busy to miss anything. The weirdness, now, comes from having free time and spending it with myself. Free time used to be so rare and precious that it had to be taken advantage of, but now, if I wanted, I could spend every weeknight, Saturday and Sunday just chilling at home with myself.
It’d be very different if I had a roommate or a boyfriend. Because I have nothing wrong with a chill night in. We could make dinner, drink wine, watch a movie, whatever. That sounds great — but not if it’s just me. It’s not that I need to be out doing something crazy all the time; it’s just that I’d rather have company. It took me a while to just accept it and stop trying to force myself to love living alone. I felt pressured, like I had to love it, but I’ve realized that it’s just not my personality. Some people live alone and never want roommates again. I like having others around, people to keep me company, someone with whom to share the random details of my day. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.
In fact, as one of my friends (an only child) pointed out to me recently, I’ve probably been socialized since birth to feel that way. My dislike of aloneness is probably not entirely due to college; it’s likely also because I come from a big family. I had three siblings since early in my life, a stay-at-home mom who was always there for us, and cousins and grandparents who lived in the same town. I knew how to entertain myself and was fine doing my own thing, but the house was never exactly quiet. And I liked that.
For now, though, quiet is what I have. At least for this year. After which, I have the power to change that, or not. I am in a unique position in my life where I alone get to decide where I want to live and with whom. There’s no need to move out after nine months. There’s no need to live with others if I don’t think we’d get along. But if I did, I know I’d jump at the chance.
Still, a year of living alone is probably a good experience. I’m sure I’ll grow from it in some way. I’m sure some day I’ll look back on this and note the things I learned.
One being that I’m just not ever going to love it. Some people do, but I don’t.
And that’s ok.