As your parents shut the door behind them in your first one-bedroom apartment, you suddenly realize “I’m alone.”
Then you start to panic, because what are you supposed to do with yourself? Who do you talk to? Where do you go? Being alone in your first solo apartment is a weird state of purgatory as you understand just how loud silence is. But don’t worry, silence is something you will learn to bask in - eventually.
I have lived with my parents, siblings, roommates, and friends for my entire life. I was never once alone in my “home.” Junior year of college, I moved from an apartment with two roommates to a one-bedroom situation, where I tasted my first dose of true independence. Let’s just say, it definitely shocked my system. The silence of adulthood can be menacing, but here are ten ways that I stay sane while living alone.
1. Background noise is everything
Podcasts, music, YouTube videos, your favorite reality TV show, or that Netflix series you have watched a million times will come in handy right about now. When I clean, shower, do homework, or fold laundry, I love to have a little background noise. Not only does it fill the space, but you might learn something, too. The perpetual sound of podcasts might be the reason I feel like I am friends with all of the hosts!
2. Get comfy in the kitchen
Now that you are experiencing adulthood, why not take it to the new level and conquer the next frontier: cooking. With your own kitchen, you can experiment with new recipes whenever you want. Plus, there’s no need to share anything (the kitchen OR the food!). Which leads me to my next point…
3. Invite and entertain
Your space is exactly how you want it. Why not show it off? You get to live your hosting dreams by entertaining your friends in your personal apartment. Now is the time to display those kitchen skills and whip up a new dish or signature cocktail.
4. Call your friends and family
This is the easiest way to feel less lonely. I call my sister every night for hours. Sometimes we don’t even speak a word to each other, but the company makes a difference. Let’s be honest, even when you have roommates, a lot of the time is spent being in the same room on the same couch and not speaking a word to each other for hours. And that’s normal! You can get a taste of silent company over the phone as well!
5. Take care of your space
Gone are the days of blaming the overflowing trash and pile of dirty dishes on your roommates. Now that the whole space is yours, the whole mess is yours, too. Because you get to come back to a space that is all yours and only yours, why wouldn’t you want to make it as shiny and clean as possible? I like to reserve my Sundays for cleaning. Spend the afternoon making your place spick and span, and you will thank yourself for the rest of the week. There is nothing worse than getting in from the worst day of class ever and wanting to make a big bowl of mac and cheese, just to realize that every plate you own is crusted with days old food. Don’t do yourself dirty.
6. Find ways to pass the time
My favorite thing to do when I am ultra-bored is roll out my mat, bust out my weights, and turn on a workout class. For a whole hour I get to focus on myself, and I don’t have to worry about hogging the living room space or being too loud. After the class is over, I can get cozy in my sweats and start a new task.
7. Don’t be afraid to get outside
Yes, your home is amazing, but don’t be like Rapunzel, trapped in your tower all day. Get out and explore! Especially if you are living in your college town, going on a walk or a run is the best way to get to know your campus and breathe in some fresh air.
8. Little hobbies are the best hobbies
You don’t have to start a grand, expensive hobby like mural painting or traveling to get the most out of your days. Sometimes, it’s the little things that mean the most. Reading, starting a YouTube channel, baking, or taking up yoga are just a few examples of easy, fun things you can do to make the most out of your alone time.
9. Bask in the silence
In this day and age, when is it ever quiet? Between Zoom meetings and Netflix, when do we get to enjoy the sweet sound of nothing? When you get to recharge in your own space, silence is the best way to clear your head.
10. Have a concert
Do I even need to mention this? After you’re done enjoying your silence, this is when you blast some music, grab your hairbrush, and pretend you are Taylor Swift on a stadium world tour.
Living alone is a challenge, but it definitely is worth it. You can make the most of your independence, and fill your time and space with positive energy. If you’re currently considering whether to make the jump to solitary living, I definitely recommend it! It allows you to discover new parts of yourself, undistracted by the constant rumble of the world around you.
Written by: Taylor Maresca