‘Congratulations on buying your house with Jamie!’ – Everyone said.
‘I bought it alone’ – I’d reply.
‘What? To, like, live in on your own?!’
I’ve had that conversation one too many times since buying my house.
Of course, they’re all full of congratulatory sentiment, but there’s definitely an unsettled confusion as to why I should want to live alone when I have a boyfriend.
When I met Jamie I’d already made the decision that in April 2017 I’d buy my first house. And when things started to get serious between us I was super clear that that is something I would still be doing.
I’d spent my adult life up to that point being (and feeling) totally dependent on others. I’d been made to believe I wasn’t capable of achieving anything alone and I’d totally got onboard with that notion. It was easier than fighting a losing battle at the time.
But that chapter in my life came to an end and with it a new seed was planted. I bloomed in to independence and flourished with the knowledge I could make anything I wanted, happen.
I wanted to buy a house, I wanted to live alone – and that was what I would do.
That, I should say, is what I did.
I’d never lived alone before and after a laborious six month process of purchasing my little cottage the reality set it.
This space was mine. Just, mine.
Marking six months practically to the day that I moved in I thought I’d share a post on some of the things I’ve learned about what it really feels like living alone.
LIVING ALONE DOESN’T MAKE YOU LONELY.
Even in 2018, women are still seen, or portrayed in the media at least, as tiny fragile birds (who may as well have tiny broken wings).
Oddly, having made the decision to live alone means it is something I wanted to do. I am not lonely because of it.
I work from home and so most of my days are spent by myself (put your violins away, I love it!) and therefore I make sure I plan in time out of the house with others during the week.
Living alone has given me the understanding of how much social time I need in order to feel fulfilled. I’ll see friends and Jamie once or twice a week and that’s enough time to stop me from turning into a permanent hermit. The rest of it I’m more than happy spending an evening in front of the TV or reading a book, they’re my favourite kind of evenings, actually.
There’s a prevalent stigma surrounding women living alone – aforementioned by the looks of horror when announcing I wouldn’t be living with a man or the sneers from tradesmen when asking had I actually turned off the ‘broken’ oven? No, no, it’s definitely broken.
I think many of us believe we couldn’t live alone purely for the stigma surrounding us – many of us believe we’re just not capable.
When in fact, living independently has shown me more about myself than any housemate ever could have. I pay my own bills, cook my own meals and decorate my own rooms. I make choices that benefit my way of living, and my house and I are no-one else’s responsibility. It feels really wonderful to know I can support myself in that way and I’m bloody proud of it.
So I may be a strong independent woman, but I am still scared shitless of spiders, monsters under the bed and burglars in the wardrobe.
I’ve learned over the last few months that if I turn on the bedroom light before it gets dark I can go up to bed at night without having to sprint up the stairs.
I’ve been quite lucky that I’ve only had one or two very small spiders – but the hoover has become my best friend. Who knew the long nozzle and I would get on so well?!
Under my bed is a perfect place for storage of which absolutely zero monsters could fit.
And the wardrobe burglar issues I’m still working on, but I do ask the universe every night to keep me safe and so far she’s doing a great job.
THINGS WILL BREAK AND YOU WILL FREAK OUT
Having never lived alone (or in a property I’ve owned) I haven’t ever had to ‘fix’ anything before. When the beast from the east visited at the beginning of the year my 1800 year old cottage couldn’t hack it. My boiler conked out and I had to nurse it back to life (hooray for actually managing it on my own!) and outside pipes burst (most certainly didn’t deal with this one quite so respectably) – there were tears and I’m ashamed to say full blown
melt downs tantrums; where I had to put my trust in my boyfriend to help me fix it rather than calling a professional. There were a lot of sorry’s after that one.
Yeah, I didn’t know where my water mains supply shut off was, and yeah I massively freaked out when my garden totally flooded and it was -3 outside, but now I do know. If there’s ever a next time (dear god, please spare me) I’ll be more prepared and hopefully, less shouty too.
MAKING A HOUSE A HOME TAKES TIME
Impatient should’ve been my middle name and I know my mum would agree. I want everything yesterday and my house has been no different. I yearned for every room to feel perfect and for them all to be decorated and finished in record time. Half a year on I’m realising a home is never ‘complete’ – there will always be things you want to do or change; and making it feel like a home will take time.
Taking a step back and slowing myself down with its progress has actually made me appreciate my space so much more. I don’t have all the money in the world to do whatever I want and so I’m being methodical in my approach – it feels good to put the breaks on, sometimes.
LOOKING AFTER #1
I feared being on my own each evening would mean all I did was order take-out, wear the same knickers for four days at a time and hardly brush my hair.
I’m pleased to say only the last one is true.
I’ve never been much of a cook, or one who truly invests in me time – but living alone has totally changed the way I look at self-care. I cook fresh meals every night and make sure the end of my working day is exactly that. I feel more relaxed having my own space than I ever have before and truly see the benefits in making that time for me every day of the week.
I thought it would be lovely to write this if only for me to look back in one, two or ten years time. This process is something that was totally alien to me and I’m so excited about documenting how it develops.
Would you ever live alone? And if you do, what would your top tips be for others?