Adulting. Isn’t that what you wanted to do when you were a kid? To have a wonderful life and live alone. As a kid, all you wanted to do was get out of school and chase that “writer”/“doctor”/“lawyer” career, live an independent life and do whatever floats your boat. You thought that grown-ups had their lives so perfectly sorted out on all levels, that you literally imagined them as perfectly finished jigsaw puzzles. You always knew you’d get there eventually, but then months and years pass by. Then, one fine day you hit 25, and voila, you feel like you misplaced more pieces of the jigsaw puzzle on the way than when you began. You may not be ready to seize the ropes of adulthood, but before you realize, you’ve already taken the plunge and are grappling with living on your own.
Trying to master the art of living alone seems formidable during the transition, but these are some of the things you will realize while you’re there all by yourself:
You spell freedom differently now
When living with parents, a day trip with friends is something you’d associate freedom with. Now that you have an un-intruded space to yourself you can literally do what you want, wake up at your whim, step out when you want to, deck your space up as you desire and what not! Of course, your Bluetooth speakers are gonna blare out that cringy song playlist of yours for as long as you want, without having anyone judging your taste in music.
You’re not half as hopeless a cook as you thought
Of course, you had zero confidence in your cooking skills simply because you’ve never stepped into the kitchen. But as they say, necessity is the mother of invention. The person who said that obviously didn’t have YouTube videos for their backing. But you do, so take maximum advantage of that. Videos that show superquick ways of peeling potatoes to dicing onions like a pro to making hotel-like chicken roast are soon going to be regulars on your YouTube autoplay. In case, you have no idea when to switch between high and low flame, I’d recommend you have your mum on Zoom or Botim, the first couple of times, for minute scrutiny and timely instructions. I remember I was swelling with pride, the first time I thought I prepared something without burning or overcooking it. I instantly snapped a pic and put it in my family group, only to have praises flowing in that said, “Great payasam”, “Kidillan payasam”, when all the while my attempt was to make a halwa. But at least it tasted fine!
Home makeovers are as important as your hair makeovers
Spending your Friday night hopping in and out of home decor shops to choose matching curtains for your room makes so much sense once you live alone. This also makes you realize how pathetic you’re at bargaining and you make a mental note to get back and Google how to spruce up bargaining skills. But all in all, you feel a sort of self-validation knowing that you actually ended up making a good choice till your mum tells you she can’t believe the salesperson tricked you into buying those curtains for a fortune!
Chores will gulp down your me-time
So, you think you’re gonna get a hell lot of me-time to pamper yourself once you move out and take a place of your own! Hell no, your weekends are most probably going to be packed with cooking, cleaning, doing your laundry, sweeping, scrubbing, and other such chores. If you’ve only held the mop a little over twice in the last decade, the thought is almost petrifying, but you will soon get the hang of it.
You’re a fussy eater? Time to change!
I was pretty picky when it came to food as a child. When I grew up, hostel life did conquer my neophobia to a great extent. But every now and then, I still turned up my nose to certain food combinations like Puttu and Pazham. When you live on your own, there will come days when you get home so tired that you have to make do with whatever little is stocked in your barren fridge, which is a tad less barren than your pockets which will make you decide against ordering in. Trust me, there have been days I went to bed eating a couple of bread slices and manga achar.
Contemplating over nothing is your sole companion
Thinking of pursuing your long-lost hobbies once you live on your own? Believe me, most of the time you’d be falling flat and lying idle on the couch with your thoughts for company, occasionally scrolling down your phone. One of the things I tried hard to avoid was getting carried away by my thoughts and delving into overthinking. There were days when I’d heard intermittent whining noises coming from the back of the fridge and got myself bone-chilled, imagining a ghost creeping up behind it. Yes, I did watch a lot of horror and thriller movies growing up, you see.
Retail therapy? Nah, grocery shopping!
Every morning when you dragged yourself out of bed, freshened up and entered the dining hall, food was served hot on to your plate. Ever wondered how your household never ran out of supplies when you did not live alone? Cuz your mum created meticulous shopping lists which your dad dutifully did justice to by handpicking fresh produce and later bragging about how he got two for the price of one! The first time I had to do grocery shopping, I had no idea where to begin and was so bogged down. I had no idea what was kept where and was simply running back and forth around the supermarket like a lunatic. By the time I grabbed everything I wanted, the bill generated burned my pocket so bad that I feared the cashier could almost smell the smoke. It took a couple of weeks and multiple lectures from the parents for me to figure out some grocery shopping basics.
Personal finance management is indeed a big thing
I cannot stress enough, but this is one area of your life that will not remain the same after you move out. Whether it makes you or breaks you is completely up to how you plan your budget and work your financial transactions around it. I had a pretty tough time figuring out my expenses and the portion that went towards utility bills. I also understood how huge an overkill the “forgotten to switch off” fan can be on your electricity bill.
Eating alone sucks!
The initial thrill of dinner in bed prospect soon fades away. In fact, all the excitement evaporates when you realize you don’t have room service to come and clean up the fallen crumbs from your plate, when you live alone. Slowly, your dinner meals make you realize that you actually miss your folks back home. Like most families, dinner time is one where we all sit around the table and converse on just about anything. If nothing, it equalled bonding time. I also particularly missed yelling, “Amme, oru chapati koodi” from my dining table right into the kitchen.
To live alone would mean to go through a lot of things we’ve not experienced in life. What are some of the things you realized while living alone?