If you asked me a couple of years ago whether I could live on my own at 20, it would have been a definite no. In fact, I kind of assumed I’d always be living with someone, be it parents, roommates or somewhere way down the line, a family of my own.
For the last ten months I’ve been living on my own in a studio flat – see the picture above – and I’ve absolutely loved it. It wasn’t the initial plan for my third year at uni, but as it happens it’s worked out pretty well and I think it’s taught me a lot. Now I only have a couple of months until I move out, I can honestly say I’m really going to miss this place.
– Me time. All the time. You learn to really appreciate your own company.
– You’re forced to learn how to do all the boring adult things, like setting up your water and electricity bills. Dull, but useful.
– It’s your space to do whatever you want with. My flat was unfurnished when I moved in, and has been kitted out almost entirely from IKEA. I love having a space that’s truly my own.
– Similarly, FRIDGE SPACE. No more fighting over who gets the biggest freezer drawer.
– Any mess is your mess. If you decide to clean up, you know it’ll stay that way.
– Clothing is optional (but recommended, if the blinds are open.)
– There is nobody to judge you when you cook pizza at 3am, put on a face mask and stay up watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race.
– The only distractions are the ones you make. It’s a lot easier to stay in and study when nobody can tempt you out partying with tequila. I’m no stranger to locking myself away like a hermit to get work done.
– Bills. Letters about TV licenses. Council tax letters demanding money even though you’re a student. They’re all addressed to you, and you alone have to deal with them.
– Nobody is there for moral support when you have to deal with spiders.
– When the fridge is empty, it’s empty. You can no longer bargain for a slice of someone’s bread.
– You have conversations with yourself far too often and sometimes question your sanity.
– In spite of the occasional passive aggressive dirty dish war and the arguments over who bought the toilet roll, you will miss your old housemates. There is seriously nothing better for a hangover than crawling into bed with your friends and watching puppy videos. And then ordering a Domino’s meal deal and napping off the food coma together. Awww.
– If you lock yourself out, you’re screwed. Yep. Did that one. Calling my Mum at 1am was not well received.
Honestly, if you get the chance and it’s something that appeals to you, then you should go for it! It doesn’t have to be a permanent thing, even just a year can teach you a lot about how to fend for yourself in the big, scary adult world. I’m not saying you’ll become independent overnight, but it will probably push you out of your comfort zone. Seriously, this time last year I was still terrified to answer my own phone – is phone answering anxiety a thing? – but now I’ve been forced to do things for myself, I realise just how irrational most of my fears were.
Even though I hope to move in with friends again in the future, I’d also love to spend a year by myself in a European city, like Barcelona or Paris. Ultimately, it’s made me much more confident to embark on new adventures on my own.