Introverts unite!

Surviving Living Alone

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One of the benchmarks of adulthood and responsibility in America was moving out of your parents' abode and venturing onto the great unknown - hopefully in a place where you live on your own. As someone who thrives in solitude, moving out was just a way for me to pursue self-improvement and happiness. There is nothing more rewarding than coming home to my empty apartment, putting on Metric or Regina Spektor and dancing in my underwear.

But like everything else in life, living alone comes with its unique set of pains. Since moving out almost three months ago, here are some struggles I've come across and how I dealt with them:

Budget or die. This is no hyperbole - you either know how to handle your finances or drown into an abyss of debt or homelessness. When I lived with my parents, I had extra money to splurge on miscellaneous things that I didn't really need. But living on my own means I take care of all the bills, and if I follow the same money spending path of my teenage years, I'll probably end up back in my parents' apartment before the year ends. Currently, I have a monthly budget plan and I make sure to put in money in my savings first before spending it on anything else.
Financial planning is key. The moment I decided I wanted to move out, I started saving as much money as I can in anticipation of shouldering all my expenses. Skipping another shoe purchase or foregoing another trip to my favorite sushi restaurant was worth it for finally having my own place.

Getting your grub on. You can say sayonara to mom's cooking and consistently having warm food despite being nowhere near the kitchen in the last 48 hours. Now that I'm living alone, meals won't automatically show up on my table. Don't get me wrong - I know how to cook although I'm not necessarily good at it. However, since I'm looking to save money, cooking for myself has been the best way to go. While the cost is initially higher - ingredients, condiments and cooking supplies - it fares so much better for my budget in the long run. This, this and this are my go-to websites for some cheap and easy meal inspirations.

Security. While living in Los Angeles on my own is definitely amazing, it is still important not to ignore the fact that crime exists and security is paramount. I have double and triple locks in my apartment. I bring pepper spray with me everywhere I go. I acquainted myself with the neighbors and the neighborhood in general. While they say ignorance is bliss, in issues as significant as my safety, information and awareness are necessary.

Getting reacquainted with yourself. If I may reiterate, one of the most important reasons why I wanted to move out was in order to pursue self-improvement. And I've come to realize that there is nothing as life changing as living on your own - you end up face to face with yourself and no one else. Loneliness comes knocking on your door more often than you would want it to be. You have more time than you know what to do with. You are suddenly confronted by yourself - your flaws, your strengths, likes and dislikes - without anyone else's influence but yourself. You get to know yourself a little bit more, learn to love yourself a little bit more and learn the things you love to do a bit more. I've been painting and writing poetry more often. I've rediscovered my love for blogging (hence this new blog - yay!), and I've been spending more time finding comfort in solitude. And that's something money can't buy.

Living alone can be uncomfortable, terrifying and completely discombobulating. But it can also been fun, self-empowering, exhilarating and so unbelievably worth it. At least, it has been for me.

Have you lived alone? What did you like and dislike most about it?

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