7 Ways To Know If You're Ready To Live Alone For The First Time
Living alone, as amazing as it is, isn't without its downsides. Especially if you're so accustomed to coming home to a space that you share with someone else. At first, the change can be difficult. You're entirely responsible for yourself, your bills, and, yes, it's awesome that your roommate will stop eating all your peanut butter and not replacing it, but you might find you kind of miss someone eating all your peanut butter. There's definitely an adjustment period that comes with living alone — but once you do start living by yourself you may never look back.
But according to a 2017 study by the Pew Research Center, more Americans than ever before are living alone. The number of people choosing to live solo jumped from 39 percent in 2007 to 42 percent in 2017. And the majority of those who are living alone are millennials.
"If you're living alone for the first time, whether you're moving out of mom and dad's, saying no more to housemates, or getting out of a relationship and having a bed to yourself after all these years, you have to know yourself and see it as a choice, despite the ups and downs," Joanna Townsend, a life coach and psychotherapist for Blush Online Life Coaching, tells Bustle.
So are you ready to make the big move? Here are seven ways to know you're ready to live alone for the very first time.
1You Have Your Finances In Order
One of the big differences about living alone, as opposed to living with someone else, is that all the expenses fall in your lap. And you have to stay on top of those bills or you'll come home one day, go to turn on a light, and realize, "Oops! I guess I forgot to pay the electricity bill."
"[You know you're ready to live alone if] you have been paying your bills on time and have personal savings," Jenn DeWall, millennial life and career coach, tells Bustle. "You have enough money on your own to cover first month's rent and a security deposit. In addition, you can afford to pay the utilities and any other expenses without compromising your happiness or feeling overwhelmed trying to make ends meet."
In other words, you want to be able to live alone and not have to live paycheck-to-paycheck. You have to be able to have extra money for fun sometimes too.
2You're Comfortable With Being Alone
"Some people hate coming home to an empty house," DeWall says. "However, if you're fine being alone, you may also be fine living alone. Ask yourself if you get lonely when you're by yourself? The answer might guide your decision."
The comfortable factor of living alone can't be stressed enough. For the most part, human beings are social creatures and some of us are more social than others. Sure, you can have friends over and go out every night of the week, but if you can't be alone often, then you may not be ready to live by yourself.
4You Want Uninterrupted Free Time
"You want control over your free time and how you spend it," DeWall says. "You do not want to think about others when it comes to your downtime, like what show to watch or whether you turn the music up loud."
As someone who has lived alone since 2006, I can attest to the fact that nothing makes a bad day feel better than dancing in your underwear to "Mr. Brightside," without a care in the world. Then watching reruns of Seinfeld without having to "reserve" the TV for something you want to watch, because you have two roommates and one TV. Your time and space are all your own.
4You Can Take Care Of Yourself
This isn't just about getting yourself up in the morning, making yourself breakfast, then heading out to work. This is about knowing who to call when the shower stops running, how to unclog the toilet without getting squeamish, and how to prepare if the forecast says a hurricane is headed your way.
"You know you're ready to live alone if you are independent and resourceful," DeWall says. "You are confident in your abilities to figure out problems on your own."
"You are organized and responsible," DeWall says. "You keep you room clean, wash your dishes, and grocery shop."
Granted, when you're living alone you're not under any obligation to keep your room clean at all times, but you're under a major obligation to wash your dishes and get food for yourself.
6You Want To Create A Home
When you live alone, you get to decide what goes on the walls, where the couch will go, and whether or not those throw pillows pull the room together or throw is off balance.
According to DeWall, if you want to have control over the decorating and style, and really, truly, make the space so it represents you and your personality perfectly, then you know you're ready to live alone and create a home that's 100 percent you.
7You Just Can't Do The Roommate Thing Anymore
As DeWall says, if you currently avoid going home because you don't like your roommate, or you avoid inviting your friends or a partner over, it might time for a change.
Some people will get to a point where they just can't live with anyone anymore. Some people reach this point at 25, others at 35, and then there are those who can live with roommates forever. But if you find that you avoid going home because you no longer feel totally comfortable there, then it's time to consider moving into your own place.
Moving into your own place and living alone for the first time is a milestone and something to be excited about. But it's also something you want to think over before you make the jump. You don't want to settle into your first apartment and realize a few months down the road that you can't afford it, you don't know what a toilet ballcock is, and you have to sleep with the light on because you're a bit nervous to be in your apartment by yourself.