Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Reflection: Living On My Own For A Year

It has been one whole year of living on my own in a studio apartment. Taking the time to look back how where my life was this time last year, is truly crazy. I could have never pictured being where I am today when I got the keys to this apartment a year ago.

Regardless of the external factors of 2020 that were taking place, a lot of internal and personal things were taking place that was forming me into the person I am today. I had lost my father about half a year prior which was something I was still very much processing. It was crazy to me that this would be the first place that my dad wouldn't see or know where I lived. Additionally, my mom was also sick which was scary and stressful. I was at a toxic job that penalized me for losing my father and other things out of my control. My self-esteem was low and my motivation to move and fuel my body was at an all-time low. 

Even in those moments, there were still things to be happy about, laughs to have, and love to feel. However, living alone has given me a space to grow, evolve and be the happiest I've ever been. 

In this space that I've made a home, I've reached professional and personal milestones that have been a long time coming. I landed my dream job at a supportive company where my dad always wanted me to work. Mimosas & Lipstick reached 10,000 followers on Instagram. I've soul searched and grown into the person I've always been capable of being and continue to evolve. I faced my anxiety disorder head-on and got the help I needed. I found things that I can do on my own that fill my cup. I've started traveling with my Mimosas & Lipstick brand. I've broken into video editing and TikTok. Decorating and organizing this space to make it my own has helped me unwind and recharge in the space. It's been a pressure cooker for my independence and happiness which is something I could have never imagined.

I often get asked if I like living alone, and I think from above it's clear I've really valued living alone. I think that everyone should live alone in this stage of life to become more comfortable with themselves and create a space that's truly their own. With that,  I do have some tips for living alone.

Chose a Safe Neighborhood and Building

Research different neighborhoods for where you're moving. Make sure that you feel safe that whatever that means to you. My building has a locked door that you need a key to access the building or call up to get buzzed in. Do what's best for you! 

Also, think about the amenities that are deal breakers for you. I live in Chicago so the odds of me having garbage disposal or an in-unit washer and dryer is unlikely for my budget and that's okay! But I wanted to make sure that I was within walking distance of a lot of places and that I have in building washer and dryer which I do.

Take Expenses Into Consideration

You will have to assume all expenses. So keep that in mind for utilities, wifi, cable, and any other fees that might be associated with your living space. Wifi and cable are included in my rent which consolidates some fees and bills for me. When you're touring apartments, also be sure to ask if there are any deals for signing your lease! That can make a huge difference. 

Take Time To Create Your Space

Don't put pressure on yourself to have all the answers right away. Take an inventory of what you have, and once you've toured your spare you can begin to fill it in. My biggest recommendation is to not to rush to buy things because you may find that once your current items are in the space it may flow differently than you originally thought! 

Build Connections and Make Plans

It can feel lonely at first living by yourself, but if you make plans throughout the week you'll be able to invest in relationships and break up the times that you feel alone. Befriending people in your building, through clubs, and organizations in your neighborhood creates a new community for you!

Take Time For Yourself

You will get used to being on your own and you'll honestly come to crave it! Take your weekend mornings slow, allot a weeknight or two where you just hang out at home or do something for yourself. I'm personally an extroverted introvert - so I am the life of the party and can talk to anyone but I need alone time to balance out those times of high energy to recharge. For me personally, allowing time for me to just lay on my couch or in my bed by myself with a gallon of water is really important for my mental health.

Embrace Your Independence and Being Alone

This might sound similar to take time for yourself but it's different to me. In this space, I have truly gotten back to being happy on my own. Separate from two breakups that were close together, my parents got sick, there was a global pandemic and I have a truly toxic job. There was a lot about my life I wasn't happy about for a long time. 

This is probably the only time in my life where I am completely independent, no one depends on me, and I can truly live alone. This has allowed me to sort through a lot of emotions, feelings and come to terms with a lot of what has happened around me and in my life. It's challenged me to be a cleaner person, it held me accountable in ways I didn't have to think about before, and it has allowed me to fully embrace who I am. This time in my mid to late twenties is time I was to look back on and know that I did everything I could with the knowledge I had. And living in this apartment has allowed me to exceed my expectations for myself. 

In this next year, I hope to continue to grow and evolve. I'm actually about to start applying to foster cats in the hopes of falling in love with one. If you know me personally this is definitely a shift from who I've always been (a dog person) but with the lifestyle, I lead and the space I have I know that I am more cut out to be a cat mom at this time in my life. Cheers to the next year in this space, the memories that will be made, the laughs that will be wheezed out, and the growth that will happen that I cannot even fathom. 

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