For the first time in my life, I know what it’s like to live on my own – no roommates, no pets, just me. In many ways, it’s been great. You don’t have to share anything, you can do want you want when you want, you don’t have to worry about being too loud – I could go on. However, it’s not all sunshine and roses. The past month and half has taught me that there are some unexpected surprises along the way. Allow me to explain a few of my discoveries. 

  1. You’ll find yourself running to Target, or Wal-Mart or the grocery store for one silly item. Turns out you need a lot of stuff, especially in the kitchen and hardware department. One bedroom apartments don’t come with dish drains or can openers. These aren’t typically things you think about until you’re craving soup for the first time, but you can’t open the can. Sometimes they don’t even come with enough towel racks. If that’s the case, you’ll probably need a hammer and a screwdriver too.  
  2. Nothing gets cleaned unless you do it. My last roommate, besides being one of my closest friends, was also obsessively clean. This worked out in my favor. She’d clean before anything really was dirty. These days, I can no longer rely on her to carry the brunt of the work.  If you don’t wash the dishes or do the laundry, it just piles up. This summer, I lived at home for a few months while I looked for a job. When I had dirty dishes, I’d just put them in the sink. Magically, when I’d need dishes again, they’d be clean (thanks Mom). This isn’t the case anymore. 
  3. On a similar note, no one pays the bills unless you do. There’s no one else to remind you that you have to pay a bill the next day, and there’s no one there to split the cost. I might have said earlier that it’s nice not having to share, but I’d gladly share this. 

And finally, the thing I probably am the least happy about… 

  1. There’s no one to assign as the bug smasher. The first (or third) time to encounter a huge spider, Dad can’t come to the rescue and you can’t barter a roommate to kill it either. After about two weeks of living on my own, I found the first bug in my apartment. This was not a happy milestone and an even less happy milestone when I had to figure out how to get rid of it. In my old apartment, I would have used my roommates vacuum to suck it up. Problem: I didn’t have a big enough vacuum (another unexpected surprise for this particular evening). Now, I have designated an old shoe as my permanent bug smasher. 

Among all the real joys of living on your own for the first time, there are some negatives. I’m sure I’ll find more along the journey. However, there’s nothing quite like being completely independent for the first time in your life. Now that’s a real joy.