It has been seven years since I left my home in Kent to start life at university in Southampton. Yet, I have never exactly acknowledged the act of “moving out”. It feels way more like I left one day and never returned. I didn’t move out to try living on my own, or with friends. It was all for uni, which in turn lead me to living with friends, in house shares and at one point living entirely on my own.
Living on my own was the one that excited me the most. I longed for my own space that I could decorate however I pleased. I also longed for that sense of ownership, even in a rental property; my own place where I could do my own thing at my own time with my own people. A place where the only concern was my own. It seemed fantastic, and to some degree it was.
Of course it wasn’t exactly perfect. When I made the first steps to moving in to my own single flat, I was told it never goes as smoothly as you think, and it is more than likely that it doesn’t work out. At the time I took this to mean that setting up bills and what not would be tricky, or that I would not have considered the cost properly. Well of course I had figured it all out okay and of course I was well aware of the extra cost. Even then however I was being a little optimistic. I was spending more money on a place to crash than a life to live. Another thing I was perhaps a little naive about was not only how my life would affect my time at the flat (impact of earning less money and all that), but also how living on my own would affect my mental health. Oh, and ordering a brand new sofa that I now simply cannot part with despite not really having anywhere to put it right now.
In all seriousness though, as much as I loved having free reign over a set space, being able to slob out and not wash up for days, it was not doing myself any favours. Of course it took me moving out to really notice this. That’s not to say that living on my own made me miserable – oh no, not at all – but it certainly wasn’t helping matters.
On top of my life at work going completely down the drain, thus affecting the financial side of living alone, I was also spending a lot of my down time confronting my own demons. I like to think I’m little miss independent but here goes – maybe I’m just very shut off. For example, I’ve never had an issue going to a gig on my own. One time in uni I took someone I barely knew, just to not be on my own, but their disinterest in the band, or my perception of that at least, completely ruined my night. So I started going alone, and you know what, sometimes it is pure bliss to spend the night in my own bubble. Other times I am just pining for someone to reach out and pull me out of my shell, and more often than not this results in me heading up the bar a little more often than perhaps I should. Which sounds SO BAD when I say it out loud. My point is that I spent a lot of time going out by myself, only then to come back to who? Oh myself. See how this doesn’t quite work out? Yes, I left my flat because I couldn’t afford it anymore, but silver linings and all that because living with others is definitely what I need right now. I have my own room, en-suite and everything, so I have my own personal space but also the joy of others’ company. I totally regret not realising the value of this sooner, but here we are.
Wow, I was going to focus way more on the practicalities of living on your own, like, I’ll say it again NOT GETTING A SOFA YOU ABSOLUTELY ADORE JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN, GODDAMN IT SAM. Said sofa is currently sitting in storage, so not only am I still paying it off, but I am also paying to keep it somewhere entirely separate from where I am currently staying. Excellent. I mean I guess that is the only key practical point that I even care about in all honesty. Everything else you just kind of figure out on your own because we all have to at some point. All I’m saying is look ahead, get excited about buying new furniture, sure, but just look ahead and if it’s your first solo rental, maybe just get that pull out sofa bed from IKEA after all. Or second hand. I mean I had no idea I was going to quite my job, drop my earnings and HAVE to leave the flat but even before then my flat (as much as I loved it) was holding me back from a lot.
Still, I am glad I lived on my own. I did really enjoy it on the surface, and it certainly helped that I wasn’t living in a complete hole. That being said, it made me appreciate the comfort of other people being around. I mean, thank god for the house share I’m in now, and the people I have lived with before, who I now count as really good friends of mine.