What Is Living On Your Own Like? So Far, It's Not Been What I Expected

Aoife Hanna

Screams; screams of stress, screams of joy, screams of surprise. A lot of screams. Let me tell you what a hectic, cray AF emotional rollercoaster finally moving into my own place for the first time has been like.

Formerly living in a big city, in my case London, opened me up to meeting countless interesting and diverse people, getting all sorts of career opportunities I might not otherwise get, and lit experiences I might otherwise never have had. As well as this though, it left me open to exorbitant rent in pretty crusty old living quarters, with the thought of living solo being a far off dream, if not a complete impossibility.

I guess when you are a kid, you have a pretty unrealistic view of what the future holds. Thing is though, my view of what my future living situation would be was pretty darn realistic. You know, be living alone after uni, own a place by the time you're in your late twenties. Back in the '90s when I was growing up, that wasn't the most outlandish idea. I mean if Kevin could do it...

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Now don't get ahead of yourselves, I obviously mean renting here. It seems that everyone I know has to move around a lot in London. With landlords upping rents, choosing to sell, or like not gelling with your cohabitants. It happened to me three times in three years. WTF, even thinking about it gives me anxiety hives. What is London's problem? Come to think of it, maybe I am the problem. Maybe, it is me who is the annoying flatmate, the dirtbag.

Woah, that is too much to handle. So I thought, eff this, I am getting the hell out of dodge and making sacrifices so that my living environment becomes a symbiosis of me, my plants, and after party guests that I can pick and choose, and kick out when I want. And if life remains a bit stressful and gross even with these privileges? Then babes, the jury is in, turns out I am the icky flatmate.

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Everyone has different needs and necessities, but for me, there were a few important factors in the long process of finding my own home. Community, affordability, quiet work space and it not being a complete dump. So, the initial move was to a shared house in an area I had no friends in and, mid a heartbreak that made me lose my actual mind. Real talk.

Yes, I finally took the plunge, in a move that was probably like five years overdue, and managed to find a new place. A place that isn't teaming with damp spores, a place without a "trick" for using the shower, and most importantly, a place where I can do what the eff I want and not have to consider other peoples' space/things. Yes, you heard me, nude everything. Watching telly? In the nip. Doing laundry? In the nip. Cooking dinner? OK, not quite in the nip. The Sonic-esque sprint to the bathroom au naturel has become more of a light stroll.

OK OK, but I have left out a huge part of the puzzle. The part of the screaming that I sit here, shuddering as I remember it. The joy of absolutely never wearing trousers at home thwarted nay vaporised by the memory of *insert scary music here* the big move.

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Laundry bags, laundry bags everywhere but are they filled with laundry? Oh no, they are filled with mountains of junk I have assimilated seemingly in the last year, anticipating getting my own place. Oh. My. Gerd. Do I have a lot of junk. The thing about moving into your own place is, unless you have friends who are actual angel baby saints (they sound boring) then nobody, and I mean nobody, will be there to help you pack.

Stress-induced fits of laughter, which was followed closely by shouting and crying, kept my flatmates and neighbours guessing; has she killed someone or has she been dumped again? Three days of this, stuck in the belly of the beast.

Reaching to scream into a pillow only to realise I had packed all pillows, even the ones with dogs on that my mum keeps buying me, into the aforementioned laundry bags. The pennies that remained in my poor long suffering bank account swallowed a la Hungry Hippo by costs for moving vans and of course, Argos. Yeah, babe when you live alone? You have to buy everything from kettle to mop to effing toilet brushes. And these decisions you make, will last for like 20 years because I am not, as a proud cheapskate, buying any of this crap again unless I 100 percent have to. Mark my miserly words, mate. Setting up bills, endless bills which are no longer shared. OMG do I suddenly think this was a bad idea? Also, what will I complain about now in this nice place with nobody to annoy me?

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In a study done by British energy supplier E.ON, it was shown that moving stress really is the absolute worst and like, everybody feels it.

"Moving home is so tough that it actually tops the list of life's most stressful moments. Six in ten people (62 percent) voted moving home as their most stressful life event, beating a romantic relationship break up/divorce (43 percent) and starting a new job (43 percent)".

Right. Maybe I need to do more yogic breathing. Or maybe I need to drink wine instead. In my own place, in front of the telly, watching whatever rubbish TV I want, ignoring unpacked laundry bags because yes, this is stressful and yes, this is the worst but mainly? This is all completely worth it.