The other day, I was lying in bed when I decided that I had to go to the bathroom. I reluctantly got up and started walking that direction, but before I even made it out my bedroom door and into to the hallway, I realized that without thinking about it, I had already taken my pants off. You probably could have gone without hearing that little anecdote, but it really got me thinking: a lot has changed in the few months that I’ve been living alone.

I’m so conditioned to living alone that I remove articles of my clothing while walking through the apartment without so much as a second thought – half the time without even consciously realizing that I’m doing it (you’ll think twice about barging in unannounced now, eh Maintenance Guy?). Of all the changes I’ve had to make since moving in here, I consider that one a change for the better (you may disagree with me here), but it started me thinking about all the positive and negative changes I’ve made since moving out on my own.

Pros

– Privacy

You just can’t beat the privacy of living alone. I have the freedom to wander around the apartment in varying states of undress, and there’s no one around to get upset about it. There is no way I can explain to you how cool this is if you’ve never experienced it, but suffice it to say it is incredible. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some kind of a nudist, but when it’s 400 degrees outside like it’s been the past few weeks, it’s kind of nice to be able to lounge around in your underwear all day. Trust me when I say that if you have roommates or live with your parents, this is just weird.

– Freedom

There’s nothing like the freedom of living alone. I’m the king of my castle, and while I’m here, there’s nobody around to tell me what to do. For example, I don’t have to put the toilet seat down after I use the bathroom if I don’t want to. If I wanted to, I could literally take a sledgehammer and bust a hole in the wall of my apartment, and no one could stop me. I might lose my security deposit, and my neighbor might not like it, and I might get kicked out of the apartment and have to pay for the damages… but I could still do it.

– Solitude

I work overnight, so this is a big one for me. I come home from work at 7 in the morning, which meant that when I was living with my parents, I was trying to go to sleep while everybody else was getting up and getting ready to go to work. I love my family, but it’s not easy to sleep through three people trying to get ready to go at the same time, especially when two of them are using a bathroom that shares a wall with my bedroom. But now that I’m living on my own, I can come home and go right to sleep without having to worry about any of that. And I have a two-story apartment, so I don’t even have to worry about banging on the ceiling with a broomstick when my upstairs neighbor starts making noise, because I don’t have an upstairs neighbor.

Cons

– Money

When I lived with my parents, I was living the good life. I was rolling in the cash, and I could go out and buy pretty much whatever I wanted. Then when I moved out, people started expecting me to pay for things like “rent,” “utilities,” and “insurance.” Can you believe that? The nerve. So all of a sudden, I went from having more money than I knew what to do with, to having no money at all. I had to look for all sorts of ways to cut back. I even had to stop using cash as toilet paper – that wasn’t an easy choice to make. It took me a few months, but I’m starting to get everything in order again, so I don’t have to worry quite so much about money.

– Responsibilities

When I first moved out of my parents’ house, I was so excited: never again would I be forced to do chores! No more cleaning up, doing dishes, or taking out the trash. Nobody could tell me what to do anymore! So I tried that for a while. I didn’t clean, I didn’t do the dishes, I didn’t take out the trash… I was living the dream. That worked pretty well for a while, but I slowly started to realize the error of my ways after a militant group of cockroaches forcibly took control of the kitchen. The last straw was when I found my girlfriend buried underneath the massive heap of trash that had piled up on the living room floor. She was not amused.

So I decided I would actually have to take some responsibility around my new place. Now, I recognize that since I live alone in an apartment, I don’t have nearly as many responsibilities as someone who owns a house, or has a family. But I still have a lot more than I had when I was living with my parents. The few chores that I was required to do at my parents’ house turned out to be nothing compared to the chores I have to do to keep those guerrilla cockroaches at bay.

– Solitude

Wait a minute – wasn’t this on the list of Pros? Yes, but this one goes both ways. Solitude is great when you’re trying to sleep, or if you just need a little time to yourself. But there are times when I just don’t particularly care to be alone. I have a girlfriend who comes over a lot, but she doesn’t live here, so I’ve got plenty of time here by myself. Usually this is fine, but every now and then it does get lonely. I guess it’s just a trade off – when I lived with my parents, I was never alone. I have a very good relationship with my parents (not really, but I have to say that, because they’re probably reading this), so I really didn’t mind it. There were times when I wished they would leave me alone, but for the most part, I didn’t mind the company.

Living alone has been a big transition for me, but I’m enjoying it. It’s been stressful at times, but overall, it’s been an awesome adventure that I wouldn’t trade for the world. I don’t think there’s any way I could go back to living with my parents now – my habit of randomly undressing in the living room would be way too weird.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading a few of my observations from my first few months on this adventure. Feel free to share any pros or cons of living alone that I may have missed.

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