Adulthood is the evil stepmother of life that none of us ever asked for. Yet, it’s a pretty necessary component of life.
If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that being on my own and living alone has taught me a lesson in independence that I would never have understood.
I have definitely learned a lot about myself these past six years of living on my own - like, I am a horribly unhealthy eater.
Exercise? Running alone sounds like an episode of "Criminal Minds," and going to the gym always results in that creepy guy moving to the equipment behind you to stare at your ass. I see you, bro.
But one look at the bathroom scale in the morning and I realize that number is the only thing lower than my problems!
And a career? Whoever told you a Bachelor’s degree would take care of you was lying. It was also probably a man. I’m not even going to talk about college debt right now. Buy a house? My credit score is a daily reminder that there are things scarier than bears!
I keep telling myself that my job of five years is temporary, and my apartment has practically no closet space. Though I can’t decide if the space is for my clothes or the skeletons I keep.
Even though things feel chaotic, and maybe I'm not where I want to be, being on my own has been a crucial step in getting me to “adulthood."
Living alone is important for figuring out how to BE on your own. It’s more responsibility than splitting things with a roommate, and it teaches you how to feel safe and secure by yourself.
Living on my own taught me to feel safe at home, which then carried over into my relationships. Knowing I was already taking care of myself, it made it easier to make decisions in relationships because I have always known that I don’t need someone.
It has allowed me to break up with people more easily and to fall for others without concerning myself with whether or not they could take care of me.
Sure, sometimes it gets a bit scary. And I’d be lying if I said I haven’t heard a loud noise and immediately called someone while freaking out. But at the end of the day, I have this life that I have built all on my own.
People can support me from the outside without having to take care of everything on the inside.
I think of it as a sport. My life is a race, and I certainly don’t want people running on my track or tripping me up, but I do want to hear them cheering on the sidelines.
Living on my own has taught me how to take care of myself, and it has made me more attuned to my own needs. Allowing myself the space to grow and mature has made a big difference in how I handle things, both at work and in my personal life.
It has made me more confident in my decisions because I have learned to trust myself. I have had to pick myself up from every mistake I have made living on my own. Forcing myself to be by myself has benefited me in more ways than one.
It is not wrong to depend on other people or to even have a man that you can depend on, but too often women become so dependent on men and being taken care of that we lose our own voices.
We forget what we want and how to make decisions for ourselves. It becomes about your husband or your kids, and you barely even hear your own voice anymore.
So, if you can, I encourage every woman to take a year and just live by yourself. Date. Don’t date. Do whatever the hell you want.
But along the way, it will teach you how to trust yourself and make your own decisions. It makes you self-aware and helps you put a value on your decision making.
And hey, all that free time might teach you some things. You'll develop new hobbies. Learn how to cook. Or learn all the names of the delivery guys when you order takeout.
Start 57 new Pinterest projects. And finish none of them! Read a million books or try new hobbies.
You'll explore yourself and your interests. And you'll learn how to be you. Whoever she might be. Maybe you haven't fully met her yet.
But make a home for yourself and IN yourself. It is the best place you will ever be.