I’m living alone for the first time in my life. Just me in a little apartment. Granted, it’s only for 6 weeks while I stay in Munich doing an intensive German course, but that’s still a pretty big change from what I’ve been used to my whole life. I’ve gone from living with family to living in noisy student halls with shared bathrooms, to various flat/house shares with 2-4 flatmates, back to adult living with my parents, dispersed with various 1-2 month stints living with my boyfriend, to now being alone.
And I love it.
The first week was a little lonely, as it always is when getting used to a new place generally. I found myself putting Netflix shows on to play in the background just so it was less quiet. Three weeks on, I’m still watching Netflix, but only an episode as I eat my meals at home, and always in German so I am constantly immersed in this beautiful language! I also missed my boyfriend most in that first week, probably with hindsight because I was just feeling a bit lonely/overwhelmed. I got home each day and felt the emptiness of the flat overpowering me.
Once I got into a bit of a routine, however, I found myself enjoying the fact that I can come home from my class and cook whatever I want, with my music as loud as I want. I can shower at whatever time I want and for as long as I want, and wash my dishes/take out my trash whenever I feel it is necessary. It may be only temporary, but I am taking huge pride in my cosy appartment, keeping it clean and sticking up postcards I pick up or things I draw. Because it’s my own little space, and I feel so wonderful when I come home or wake up, look around, and know that this space here is just for me.
If I’m sounding a bit selfish, or a bit introverted here, I’m not surprised. As much as I crave human connection, as much as I love going out and meeting new people and hanging out with friends, when it comes to living I’m actually now not so much looking forward to having to share my space, decisions, time with others again. Then again, as soon as I get back to my normal life, and hopefully move next year into a new flat with some great friends, I don’t think I’ll miss being alone.
It’s been a great experience though. I have learnt to appreciate my own company so much. I am finding such liberation at the fact that I can decide when to come home, when to eat, to have a drink, to go out. There is literally no one to whom I could even mention what I’m doing in passing. I’m proud of the fact that I can really, fully enjoy simply being at peace with myself and my thoughts and my activities. The picture on this post is a breakfast I enjoyed alone at my little dining table, a few days ago.
I feel more connected to my own mind, and I think the total control over my day-to-day home life and routine is contributing to me also feeling more control over my thoughts!
However, living alone has its downsides too. There was an evening last week where I was so sure I had found a mouse in my boot. After 15 minutes of panicking to myself and squealing down the phone, I plucked up the courage to tip my boot onto the balcony. What fell out was a piece of grey tree bark…
Being a huge arachnophobe, I am also in constant fear that a huge spider might just appear somewhere in the flat and I will run outside and be far too afraid to come back in. In times like these, one needs a flatmate!
There’s also the more practical concern that I might one day set off out, and shut my self-locking door having forgotten my keys.
But, overall, it’s a wonderful experience living alone and I have days when I am so productive in terms of both my study and my self-growth, that I go to bed with a huge, proud smile on my face. Of course, I am not here permanently, nor am I here for work. So I may need to write another post about the joys of travelling alone. But, for now, I wanted to praise the beauty of being entirely independent, and having a space that is yours alone to come home to after a long day, whether working, studying or just exploring. Rather than seeing living alone as a lonely experience, if it ever becomes a reality for you – by choice or following a change in personal circumstances, embrace it. Being alone with yourself is always an opportunity to self-discover, and where better to do it than at home?