DARK - art and words about night, lights out, deepest fears, and obscured perception.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

A Beginner’s Guide to Living Alone

An image from the 2010 Michael Mills film Beginners via grandmastolemycloset.com

By Sandy Caribou

Let’s be frank for a minute. Beginning things is hard. Let me be clear, coming up with things to do, that’s easy. I have the superhuman and rather impressive ability to come up with new exciting projects, ongoing goals, my never-ending-to-do-lists, and forever bookmarked DIY folder. But beginning these conquests (in practice) is one of the most difficult things to do. 

In the years since graduating college, I’ve found it increasingly challenging for me to sit down and actually be constructive with my time. I thought that maybe all of the structure I had accrued from 17 years of schooling would percolate over to my day-to-day life, that my energy and wherewithal to create, inspire, create, inspire, repeat would just continue back and forth forever.

Since I left my bubble of an alma mater, I have experienced a different relationship with beginning and completion. I’m finding that beyond the confines of the regimented schedules and deadlines, I have to be my own mover and shaker. I have to be my best boss, my toughest critic, and learn how to push myself. I’ve never been keen on following my gut, nor have I been big on making myself do things I wouldn’t necessarily do unprompted. But if there’s anything the last few years have taught me, it’s that I need to push myself to begin new things, have the discipline to follow through, and the foresight to know that the end result is worthwhile.

The last year has proven successful in that I have sincerely pushed myself to begin anew. I pushed myself live alone for the first time. Having had a roommate my entire life (parents are roommates IMHO), learning to be self-sufficient and stand on my own two feet was a beginning I knew I had to try. In the span of the last few months, I have done all of these things for the first time:

·       I found my apartment, negotiated on the price, and signed the lease myself.
·       I moved myself out of my last place and into my new place.
·       I cook for myself and I clean up after myself on a daily basis.
·       I have had many irritating interactions with Comcast.
·       I pay all of my own bills, and I am not embarrassed to admit that I still write checks.
·       I hung all of my art on my own, with only my eye to discern if something truly was crooked or not.
·       I learned how to set up a modem.
·       I taught myself how to use power tools.
·       I just planted my first garden.
·       I nursed myself back to health when I was sick.
·       I said happy birthday to myself on my 25th birthday.

The truth of it is pushing myself to do this year of “me time” was both a blessing and a curse. I’m eight months in, and I’m still figuring it out. Every day presents its own set of challenges; one of the biggest burdens is my sudden sense of loneliness. My feeling of occasionally wishing I had a Siamese cat, or a roommate, or someone to acknowledge that I am doing alright. 

But then again, there are the perks of living alone… I spend entirely too much time hanging out in my underwear. I can listen to any music I want, as loudly as I want, whenever I want. I can eat pizza for dinner every day if I so choose. I can watch the Devil Wears Prada, or Eat Pray Love, or Julie and Julia as many times as I want, and I do. And it is glorious, because I am realizing that #YOLO is only true in practice. I wanted a new beginning that was mine. A place to call my own, that I could fortify and build upon. Choosing to live alone, to begin anew was one of the scariest and toughest decisions I have ever made. But for realsies, I think everyone should experience the joy that is pooping with the door open, talking to oneself on a daily basis, and eating ice cream for dinner, because the only person to judge you, is you.

1 comment:

  1. This was a really wonderful thing to read! I'm really excited to start living on my own, and even though that dream has to be put on hold for now, it's really nice to be reminded of why I want to do it.