Since 2002, I’ve lived with my family for 20 years. Even after going to college, I didn’t leave my home. While many students moved to dorms or lived on one’s own near the campus, I chose to take the two-hour round trip. I wasn’t ready to live alone.
But for study abroad, the girl who refused to live far away from her family was now on the opposite side of the Earth. All by herself.
Well, turns out, humans are the most adaptive species on Earth. After two months, I found myself getting used to this solitary life. Here are some things that I’ve felt after living alone to help people who are having the same troubles.
I need to do everything by myself
After a week of living alone and being independent, I went to take a shower, as usual. That’s when I realized that I don’t have any underwear left and I needed to do laundry. But laundry was not my job at home: even without noticing, my underwear was refilled in the cabinet every three days. I really took that for granted for the past 20 years. I had to buy detergent for the first time in my life and it also took me a while to learn how to use a dryer.
Plus, when living alone, going to the grocery store is an inevitable assignment. At the beginning, I enjoyed the freedom. I didn’t have my mom telling me, “You can’t buy that. I’m not gonna buy you that stinky food.” I can buy and eat whatever I want! But after shopping, I found myself struggling to carry the heavy shopping bags. There’s no one giving a hand.
Of course, it’s lonely
A room without family is really quiet. Back home, I used to share the bedroom with my younger sister. The annoying girl who was always lying beside me, giggling at funny videos, yelling at me when she was irritated, was not there anymore. The absence of siblings is huge. I realized that she was my invisible best friend. I highly recommend you to find a roommate who can make you feel “I’m not here alone.”
It’s hard to eat a balanced diet
Cooking is the most challenging part of living alone. First of all, I’m not a cook. All I had was the processed food that I brought from Korea. The microwave was my soulmate. I put everything — rice, soup, curry, instant noodles — in the microwave. After a while, I got tired, went to the supermarket and found a soft tofu soup kit. But after running back home and unpacking the soft tofu kit full of expectation, I was shocked and disappointed. The kit only had tofu and soup. It didn’t have other ingredients such as vegetables, mushrooms, onions, seafood or pork that added rich taste. It hit me that it’s hard to make well-made, balanced food.
Staying inside is not healthiest
When you need rest, staying at home all day long sounds like a wonderful plan. However, this can’t be your everyday life. Spending time with electronic devices is not healthy either. After spending the whole day at home, watching YouTube, writing blogs and reading books, I felt so lethargic and useless. Although I liked staying at home (I’m an ‘I’ person in MBTI testing after all), I learned that it’s necessary to spend time outside. Try going on a short walk, exploring the neighborhood, riding the bus, eating out, going downtown and feeling the sunshine.
I made a daily routine
I’m a lazy person. In the morning, my mom had to pull me down from bed. In the evening, my mom had to shout “Go take a shower!” more than 10 times. Oh, now I’m feeling sorry for my mom. I thought my laziness would be more intense after living alone. But unlike my expectations, I made and stuck to a regular daily routine. Considering I’m the only one taking care of my life, I wanted to become healthier and I started to look into my bad habits. Now, I actually hear the alarm and can wake up in the morning by myself. I eat lunch and dinner on time. I never skip a shower in the evening. I go to bed early.
Living alone is tough and your emotions can easily go up and down when living alone. But I learned that there’s also many advantages as well. I hope that reading about my experience and story has helped you make the best out of living alone.