On Solo Living
The best perks of lone residence
I recently got a new flat. It’s a small top-floor studio flat in Bath — a city that’s always had a place in my heart — just big enough for a mid twenty-something and his quarter-life’s worth of accumulated possessions.
I moved out of my parents’ house almost two years ago now, living with friends for the first year. They went their own ways, and we still hang out, but I found myself looking for somewhere to live alone. That was a little scary. It made me question how much of myself I could tolerate. But now, I’m in. And it’s been possibly the most significant change I’ve made in my life.
Living solo takes some getting used to. Get used to it, and you start to value your space and the freedom to do what you want, when you want. Living alone is now incredibly important to me, and contributes hugely to my mental health. But it can be daunting at first. Here are my top tips for anyone living alone for the first time, and how to get the most out of it.
Enjoy the little things.
Pee with the door open. Boys, leave the seat up. Girls, leave it down. Walk around in the nude. Fart. Loudly and repeatedly. Relinquish all social boundaries and live as an animal, because who’s going to know? Eat cereal with a fork. Drink wine from a mug. You’ll be amazed at the joy that comes from doing the little things you otherwise wouldn’t.
Talk to yourself.
If you talk nonsense in your flat, and there’s nobody around to hear it, did you say it? Well yes actually. But we all do it. Yes. We do. And we sing as well. I often march around the flat beat-boxing completely unconsciously. One of the greatest joys of solitary living is being able to say silly things and make silly noises without human judgement.
Do what you love.
I like yoga. It focuses my mind, exercises my body and leaves me feeling healthier and happier. Have you tried doing yoga in a shared household? It’s like trying to read Dickens at a rave. Living alone is an opportunity to make time for what you enjoy, and for me this has been one of the most transformative aspects of it. Writing, music, meditation, running. I spend more time doing my thing since living solo, which can only be a good thing.
No bangs on the door. No shouts of hurry up will you! In the a-temporal void of the lone resident’s shower cubicle, time itself dissolves away. Spent ten minutes. Spend twenty. Soak in the steamy glory until the extractor fan starts to cough and you’ve no idea where you towel is. It’s absolutely joyful.
Build a fortress.
Not literally. Well, you could if you have cushions. But metaphorically, a solo dwelling is a sanctuary of solitude for when you want to escape from the busy world and take some quiet time away from others. Even if you’re an extrovert, we all need time alone to recoup and recharge, and living alone allows us to do that as much or as little as we need.
An extension of you.
Above all else, the ultimate benefit of living alone is the freedom to build a space that is yours to its very bones. Since moving in to my flat, I’ve acquired little things that bring my character to it, and it’s now a space that feels like an extension of myself, from the wallpaper printed with the design of vintage wine crates, to the houseplants that bring some of the outside in. It’s a beautiful thing to come home from work and relax in a space that’s filled with the things you love and enjoy.