Damilola O: Why Living Alone is the Best Decision You Will Ever Make
Choosing to live all by myself is still one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The freedom, the peace of mind, the responsibility, the learning and unlearning … it never gets old.
Deciding to get a place of your own can be difficult. It’s either you are wondering how you will cope in a new environment, the free food you’ll miss, having to pay certain bills, or going through the pain of finding the best place to live. However, if you are mentally, physically, and financially stable and prepared, you should take this bold step.
So far, I have no regrets; moving out of my parent’s house and staying alone is the best thing that has happened to me. There’s a kind of solitude I’ve never experienced before, but it’s beautiful. I can decide to move around my apartment in all of my glory, dance freely because no one’s watching, and just truly be myself.
Still not sure of why you should live alone? Let me highlight the beauties of it:
Live by your rules
My house. My rules. Even if my mum pays a visit sef, I can tell her what I want and how I want certain things to be done with my full chest. Turn the house upside down? Dance like there’s no tomorrow? Jump around for no reason? Laugh hysterically? Do yoga naked? There are just so many things you can do in your home.
You can choose whether you want noise or silence, music or movies. You can choose what to listen to, what you want to watch and how you want to watch it. You can be in charge of the atmosphere. There’s that freedom of acting crazy without having anyone around to rain on your parade. Just you, the furniture, and the wall. Bliss!
Get to know you better
Sometimes I could be an introvert, other times I could be an ambivert. There are days when I just want to be left alone and days when I want to be on my worst behaviour with friends. I’ve realized that I recharge best when I’m alone. This lesson was especially potent for me because I work from home, so I don’t have co-workers to get some physical interaction with. There are times I don’t step out of my house for days and I’ve never felt more refreshed. When the pandemic started and there was a shelter-in-place order, I had no issue with it because it was my normal life.
By living alone, I’ve learned to love myself. I’ve learned to be introspective and self-aware. I’ve also learned to be creative in my spare time.
You become more independent
You learn to shoulder the responsibilities that accompany living alone – paying bills and maintaining your home. You become a stronger and more independent person. Living alone can build your confidence, help you become emotionally independent, and learn to make decisions on your own.
Financial independence makes you smarter
Bills suddenly seem enormous, and that’s because it’s up to you to pay all of them, by yourself. Even if you’ve saved as much as possible before moving in, you are still caught off guard with how much you’ll have to spend. This makes you become extremely careful with what you spend your money on. I became smarter with spending (well, not totally). I still beat myself up for how much I spend on food. Food oh!
I learned to keep track of what I spend, and where I spend. I’m not the best person to advise you on spending because I’m still a work in progress, you get the drift? But then, I know when I’m broke there’s nobody to turn to, so it’s just me, my sense and my extra common sense.
The beauty of cooking
I can eat what I want, when I want, and how I want. When you are on your own, you cook every meal for yourself, as opposed to cooking for the whole family. This can get pretty interesting and annoying since you’re always cooking for one person – you. For me, the whole process of making a meal for one serving at that moment seems like I’m in my own cooking show.
Recently, I cooked Jollof rice for the first time and it was amazing. Thanks to the Kitchen Muse. I remember when I tried to make Jollof rice for my dad and it came out like rice and stew. I didn’t hear the last of it that day. At least if you mess up, nobody will make you feel bad – Nigerian parents are so good at this.
You surprise yourself with what you can do on your own
You may have always felt all grown up and mature, but nothing tests you more than living alone. There’s a kind of joy that comes with getting things done on your own, by yourself. The small accomplishments you experience regularly while being alone – whether it’s taking out the trash and recycling, paying every bill on time, fixing something that’s broken, whipping up a recipe – make you so proud of yourself. In short, living alone empowers you in a way you’ve never known.
There is no one to judge you
When you live alone, there is no one to judge you in your home. You don’t have to live up to somebody else’s standards. You can put the groceries away when you buy them or just leave them on the kitchen bench until you are ready. You can sleep as much as you like. Having no one to judge you can be extremely freeing.
Just the other night, I was watching a movie in bed and I cried. I realized how special it was to have the privacy to do so. I was grateful all over again for this time in my life. And the amazing part? I have never felt lonely in any way.
So do you live alone? Wanna share your sweet and not-so-sweet experience?
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