Moving out of your parents’ comfortable home for the first time can be daunting. Living alone means you actually have to learn how to keep yourself alive, and there’s a sense of self-motivation to keep waking up every morning that you need to develop.
I wrote a few weeks ago about what I learnt in one week of living alone, so I thought I’d add to this and share what I’ve learnt in the first month. It’s not been the easiest month emotionally, and I say that as someone who is usually quite good at staying calm and keeping a level head.
It’s okay to be lonely
The first two weeks were the hardest. My boyfriend (who I moved in with) was away on a training course for cadets. Once this was over, our work shifts clashed and we didn’t really get to see each other enough for my liking. This led to me feeling isolated and almost regretting the move, but change takes time to get used to and it’s okay (and quite frankly, normal) to feel lonely for a little while.
I was used to being surrounded by living creatures whether that’s my human family or my pets. I went from being able to go spend time with someone to having to learn how to keep myself entertained, and clothed, and fed.
The loneliness passed as quickly as it came, and I’m finally settling into a new routine of feeding, cleaning and looking after myself.
Ovens are gross.
Okay, okay. This one is a bit niche. My flat was supposed to have been deep cleaned before I moved in, but unfortunately it seemed they had just gone over the edges with a damp cloth. That’s fine with me, it means I have a chance to learn exactly how things are maintained.
But, our oven was manky. And I mean, disgusting. It was like it had never been cleaned since it was bought, and not to say anything bad about the previous tenant as I know her personally but that probably is the case.
They collect all sorts of dirt and burnt food collects at the bottom. And don’t even get me started on the grill. Fortunately, the hob is electric and is one of the easiest things in the flat to keep clean (a wipe down with my current favourite, Marks & Spencers Anti-Bacterial Kitchen Cleaner does the trick).
I bought myself two boxes of Oven-Brite from Wilko and got to work. It took HOURS (I mean, it literally does, you have to leave everything to soak for at least 4 hours) but the pay off was great. However, I’m never doing it again and I will either be getting my dad (who thoroughly
hates enjoys cleaning his own oven) or hiring someone to do it for me in the future.
Keeping yourself alive
As I’ve mentioned above, living alone is more than just having your own space. You actually have to learn for the first time how to actually keep yourself alive. As memes shared across the internet mention, we’re all basically houseplants with more complicated emotions.
Learning how to correctly do a month’s food shop is harder than budgeting for it, in my opinion. Knowing what you’ll want to eat 2 weeks Wednesday is quite difficult, yet somehow I’ve managed so far. Sorting out the bills is fine, but what about preventing mould in the microwave? Or changing a lightbulb (something I’ve still not yet done)? Or successfully putting a duvet in the cover?
Spoiler alert: I’m 20 years old, I live on my own and I still haven’t successfully changed a duvet cover by myself. Thanks, Reece for me volunteering you to forever change my duvet covers!
Keeping yourself alive means you are the sole person responsible for making sure you get out of bed in the morning, you clean your teeth and you get to work. There’s no one responsible for you anymore.
Washing up is therapeutic
It takes me a hot second to motivate myself to get off the couch to do it, but once I’m in the zone I find doing the washing up and cleaning the general kitchen quite relaxing. The smell of bleach doesn’t bother me, and seeing everything in its correct place is great. I also have a home for my step-stool I need to reach the top shelf (shut it! I’m short and my cupboards are tall).
I’ve started to organise my top wall cupboards better, and I have plans to organise my lower floor cupboards too once I get a slow cooker! I do need my mum to come and collect her hundreds of bags for life though, because I have about 70 and there’s far too many for just 2 people’s worth of shopping.
However, tidying my own bedroom still sucks no matter what property it’s in.
Living alone is both ridiculously complicated and one of the best things I’ve done wrapped up in a complicated bow. I wouldn’t change my first month for the world!