Living Without Pants (or How I Learned to Live Alone)
For the first 20 odd years of my life, I’ve always lived with someone, whether it be my family or roommates. While you may become very familiar with these people, there are still distinct human boundaries when it comes to general etiquette, and while these boundaries may be stretched, they will still be adhered to. However, once you live alone, those rules go completely out the window.
For the past 2 years, I’ve been living alone, and let me tell you, living alone is a beast unto itself. First off, I will be completely honest, one of the first things I do when I enter my apartment is take off my pants. I like to imagine my apartment as some sort of pants-free utopia. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the need for pants and tremble in the terror that would be a pants-free society, but lounging around in your boxers is infinitely more comfortable than your pants (though an exception could be made for sweatpants). This is obviously the major plus of living alone, but you tend to learn a lot about yourself once you start to live alone over an extended period.
One of the first things that really stuck out is how much cleaner you keep the place. You realize that all of it is your mess, and that all of it is ultimately a product of you and that you’re the only one that’s going to clean it up. That realization of self-reliance in your own mini eco-system got me to be a lot more vigilant in picking up after myself. That being said, there is still a small amount of general ruckus that exists, simply because it can. Of course, there are really only two reasons that your apartment needs to be clean, the first, because your parents are coming by to visit, and the second, when the distinct possibility of having a female guest over exists.
All joking aside though, I think the biggest thing I learned about living alone, is how to be alone. I remember when I first started, I tried to find something to do almost every night, flitting from event to event trying to keep myself entertained, and even when I was at home, having the TV on or listening to music to keep occupied. Eventually though, everything boils down to you being alone, and living alone in your own space, providing for yourself.
It was an incredibly jarring experience, and honestly, being alone with your thoughts, your emotions, your fears, for more hours of the day when you’re used to is a pretty sobering experience. But I’d like to think that it also forces you to grow up. One of the biggest things I started doing was working out on nearly a daily basis, for some reason, doing so gave me a focus that I did not have before, and once I got into the habit of it, it became easy, and I dropped an easy 10 lbs and kept it off with relative ease. I also learned to cook for myself instead of ordering out every night. While my tastebuds suffered for a month or so, the end result was me being able to follow a recipe and make food that people would actually want to eat.
The most important thing about living alone though, was learning to be brutally honest with myself. Being without a roommate means that there is no façade you have to put up, no issues that you have to deal with that aren’t your own. Ultimately at the end of the day, when you look at yourself in the mirror, you are looking yourself in the eyes. Whether you’re happy or unhappy, you have yourself to answer to. You can play dumb, you can try to be ignorant, or just plain not care, but in time, it will always come back to you. This personal accountability has been a huge point of change in my life, and has made me more mature. I’m not saying that I’ve grown up overnight, but I feel like living alone has made me a more complete person, and made myself more accountable for the person I am and the person that I want to be.
But also, living alone has freed me of the tyranny of pants in my private life. Major plus.