Do you ever watch TV shows that are supposed to be centred around your contemporaries and think, "hold up this does not even nearly represent my actual life"? TV shows about hapless millennial singletons, who live alone in a reasonably OK flat? I worry for future generations, who think their lives will actually be like this because hun, guess what, living on your own is so flippin' expensive. Hence why everyone (at least everyone I know) is forced to shack up with (annoying) roommates, hence why your bedroom is still your sanctuary, even when you're in your twenties and thirties.
You see, TV is lying to us, Any average person in and around my age knows the truth. The stark reality of 2018 is that how I live, and how most people I know live, involves house-sharing, which basically, in my opinion means far too many adults living together in one space. Those luxury condos you see on the box aren't real life. Real life is multiple flatmates, dirty dishes, sticky floors, and the sounds of arguing, bad music, and then some, permeating your crepe paper thin walls.
Sorry to bum you out, but having done shared accommodation for eight years now, nearly nine, I would consider myself a bit of an expert in this area. I have done the great flatmates, the weird flatmates, the controlling flatmates, the absentee flatmates (best kind), the amateur DJ flatmates (worst kind), and the dreaded bill shirkers. My bedroom, throughout all this, has always been my sanctum; my place to feel safe. It's a home for my plants, my clothes, and any of my nice things I don't want anybody's greasy mitts touching. At one stage, I even had a bargain basement filter coffee machine in my little palais that would wake me first with the sound of a hideous tinnitus-inducing ring and then with a heck of a lot of spluttering but most importantly, leaving me able to avoid any contact whatsoever with my flatmates.
I can recall a close friend of mine once saying: "I love my boyfriend with all my heart but at least 30 percent of the reason I am with him is because it saves so much cash. It literally halves everything." She wasn't lying, let me tell you. Being single is really damn expensive. Only once in my life have I lived with a partner — and even then we still had flatmates ruining everything.
You're probably wondering if I've ever thought of actually buying a flat and living on my own given my lengthy ranting about roomies. Well, erm, excuse me for one second while I pause to weep. Yeah, that dream ebbed away a long time ago.
I have been to see two mortgage advisors in my life. The first one actually laughed at me, while the second was so sweet and kind but clearly thought I was deluded. There was even a sort of gentle arm squeeze and an all too knowing sad gaze in my direction.
As of November 2017, the average cost of a one bed flat in London costs £1,250. Yes, you read that correctly — four digits for a one bed flat. So yeah, I sacked London off as a result, leaving to live a cheaper life elsewhere, yet still with flatmates. Lovely flatmates, in a boujee AF (compared to where I was living before) house for a more reasonable-ish cost. But still, I find myself becoming a room hermit. Which begs the question: am I conditioned by shared accommodation? Or, more likely, do I just really hate having to socialise?
Five-year plans are all the rage these days, so I decided I should maybe sort of try to have one. A part of my "pre 30 wish list" is to live on my own place, where it's not just my room that's my sanctuary, but my entire apartment. There are two months left in the swirling chaos that has been my twenties and in one month, I am moving into my own flat; a flat with a spare room which I will work from. A flat with a living room and a separate kitchen. A little outside space even, and forks to hang my bike on. A flat I can scarcely afford to rent but like, my own little footprint in this world.
This may not sound super fancy but real talk, this is my actual wildest dream coming true. The realisation that "OMG I don't actually have that much stuff when it comes to furnishing an actual liveable flat" is pretty terrifying. It is though, probably the most exciting thing I have done in my life and I can't wait.
My only worry is that, will all this conditioning mean that I still hermit in my room all the time, despite having my own space? Will the bedroom remain my safe place, my palace?
Who knows, but one thing I know for sure is that it will all be my space; the entire place. For the first time, my whole home will be my sanctuary, not just my room.