New place, new chapter

It’s official. I live alone. Over the weekend I signed my first solo lease and moved into my one bed/one bath with the help of a stellar moving crew – my family and bf. The majority of last week was spent packing and deciding what was coming with me. The night before, everything was stored in the garage to prepare for the following-day transition. Move-in day would’ve been chaotic enough excluding the fact John and I had his sister’s wedding at 4 p.m. Luckily, with the combined effort of six people, we got everything in the apartment in record time, and we got to the wedding early.

living-alone-not-lonely

It’s been a few days since move-in, and I’ve had the opportunity to get my stuff more organized. With a couple shopping trips completed and internet installed, it’s starting to feel more like a home. But that’s doesn’t change the fact that I live alone, which is a situation I’ve never been in before. I’ve always had roommates or family around. The air was always filled with conversation or footsteps. Now, it’s mostly silent with the occassional exceptions of distant barking or hallway chatter.

Before I moved in, I was so sure I wanted to live alone. For months I dreamed about the freedom I would have in my own place:

  • The layout and design of the whole space
  • Full control of the thermostat settings
  • Status of neatness or sloppiness (i.e. dirty dishes)
  • Ability to walk around half-dressed
  • No time constraints or restrictions on company
  • No worries about stuff being used without permission

While these are nice selling points, there are a couple downsides that will take some getting used to: increased feelings of loneliness and anxiety.

  • Anxiety: Before bed, I venture to my front door to double and triple-check the locks. Then a strange noise later on will prompt me to check them again. While a heightened alertness is good, it also increases stress.
  • Loneliness: To cope with the prolonged silence, I always have a movie or music playing. This gives me the illusion that I’m not completely alone.

“When I first lived alone, I was all about the freedom, but I also felt desperately lonely (and scared, and overwhelmed, etc.). It was a major change, and one that took a while to get used to.” – Carolyn Steber, BUSTLE

In a stroke of luck, when I was on Google searching for an image to include in this post, I stumbled across a BUSTLE article by Carolyn Steber called, “13 Tips For Living Alone For The First Time​ & Making The Most Of Your Independence.” As the title implies, it listed 13 ways to make the concept of living alone more enjoyable, safe and less lonely. It was a blessing to stumble across the words of a woman who has been in my shoes. I know now that it’s permissable for me to feel a cluster of emotions regarding this transition. A lifechanging transition like this won’t sink in a day. It will take time, like all good things do.

Advertisements

A new home away from home

“Hi, my name is Amy and I still live in my parents’ basement.” This is something most people my age would be embarrassed about, but not me. After I graduated from college, I moved back home, and I’ve been there for a little over a year. The plan was to move out once I found a job and started saving money. I’ve been employed for over a month now, and the apartment hunt is well underway. As exciting as it is to move out and start my own life, it’s daunting at the same time.

I applaud my parents for the way they raised me, but at the same time, I feel like they coddled me too much. There are huge gaps in my knowledge: what cleaning products to use for certain tasks, cooking elaborate dishes, car stuff (payments, insurance, etc.), finances and more. I know there’s going to be a significant learning curve once I move out and gain full control over my life. It’s going to be confusing and frustrating, and I’ll continue to rely on my family for support during this adjustment period. I’m sure my mom will receive dozens of trivial-question-based phone calls.

Moving out is like a when a baby bird jumps out of the nest to learn how to fly. Does the baby bird want to jump? Absolutely not. There’s the fear of falling to its death. However, with encouragement from mama and papa bird, the baby starts flapping its wings, and when it finally jumps natural instinct kicks in and the baby bird soars.

“To raise a child who is comfortable enough to leave you means you’ve done your job. They are not ours to keep, but to teach how to soar on their own.” 

I know without a doubt that I’m ready to strike out on my own, but that doesn’t mean I’m not nervous for the first step. This Saturday I’ll be touring three apartments. There are several factors that I’m looking for in an apartment – things I need/want and things I want to avoid.

  • Be within 30 minutes of where I work, so my morning commute isn’t awful.
  • Have an in-unit washer/dryer, so I don’t have to leave my apartment to do laundry. I do not want to have to drag a heavy bag of clothes to a laundry facility or worse, a Laundromat.
  • Top-notch security is a must. Since this is my first time living alone, I want to feel safe in my new home.
  • On-time fulfillment of maintenance requests is crucial. Most places I’m looking at have 24/7 emergency maintenance, which is very reassuring.
  • I’m neutral about apartment floor plans. I don’t need excessive space – a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living room is more than enough.
  • Finally, living without a roommate(s) will inevitably result in higher rent, which is why I’m shooting for rent between $500 – $750.

apartments

I pray that I choose the best place for my budget, lifestyle, and location. That is why I’ll be visiting each place with a list of prepared questions, so when I go back to create pro/con lists, they will be honest and thorough. I want to move into my new home knowing exactly what to expect in terms of security, maintenance, neighbors, staff, noise, and utilities. Hopefully, the important people in my life, who will be involved in this decision, will offer words of wisdom during this extensive process.