An Abbreviated Guide to Living Alone

For me, living alone is like what I imagine drugs are like. Sometimes you’re deliriously happy and you’re screaming, “Pants are a social construct!” Then other times, it’s too much and you just have to lay listlessly on your bed and stare at the ceiling for half the day. It’s a give and take, but for me the high is worth the low.

I’ve lived sans roommate for over a year, and it’s better for me and for the rest of the world if I have time to myself—or else I’ll turn into even more of a grumbly old woman. But it isn’t all roses and drinking straight out of the milk carton! If you want to live alone, you have to be able to cope when the going gets tough. For example, no one was with me earlier this semester when the toilet from upstairs leaked into my apartment. No one was able to commiserate with me and kindly dab potentially toxic toilet water from my head. I was on my own for that one. If you should fall ill, no roommate is going to run to CVS for you, or bring a bucket into your room and pat your head sympathetically while also being vaguely disgusted by you. If you live alone and come down with something, notify at least three people so that if they don’t hear from you, they can come break down your door and rescue your nearly-calcified body from your bathroom floor.

There are some major perks to living ~solo~. For instance, no one is responsible for any messes except for you. As I type this, I can see that my sink is full of dishes. “Who could make such a mess,” I might ask angrily if I had a roommate. But alas, it was me. I am at peace with that. Probably the biggest advantage of living alone is being able to choose what music to play all the time. If I’m feeling “There’s Your Trouble,” by the Dixie Chicks for a straight hour, then so be it! I answer to no one!

If you think living alone is something you’d like to try for a bit, I think that’s a swell idea. It’s good to know what you’re like when no one is around. It’s good to be accountable for yourself and like, making sure you’re eating things other than chocolate chips and coffee—not speaking from experience, of course. But, it is hard. Because sometimes you will be a little too much alone. And you’ve finished hanging out with friends and sweethearts and whoever else, and it’s just you. And sometimes this will suck. And you will be faced with the very strong urge to lay on your bed and stare up at the ceiling and listen to Carrie & Lowell or Elliott Smith. Which is how I am feeling right now, which is why I am typing this—to stave off that feeling. “Twilight” will not put me in a productive place. There are dishes to do. Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes, you need to feel all of that. But sometimes you also don’t need to feel those feelings, ya feel?

So instead of spacing out, we are going to dance. You and me in our collective rooms. Each of us alone. Don’t worry I’m not going to judge your grooves. Let’s just get up and boogie because after all, what good is living by yourself if you can’t move freely and with abandon? Dance until you are sweaty and tired—until you feel ready to tell Mr. Smith and Mr. Stevens to call back another night.