Lessons I Learned From Living Alone

Have I mentioned that I adore alliteration? Work at a peppy teen magazine for longer than about eight seconds and you, too, will find yourself frantically Googling “Adjectives That Start With J” as a deadline looms and catchy headlines are needed.

Jovial. Jolly. Joyful. Jazzy.

Today I want to talk about living alone.

I’ve been in a permanent state of reflection lately. Since the whole “I’m sick, I’m injured, I’m sick again and I’m not running the marathon I have been dreaming about for months” saga began, I’ve found myself constantly analyzing my state of mind and making sure it’s a happy one.

The great news: It has been. A happy one, that is.

I truly feel that I’m in a solid, great place right now, doing exactly what I need to be doing — and that’s really how I’ve felt, more or less, for the entire past year.

It all began on April 2, 2011: the day I moved out of my ex-boyfriend’s apartment and into my very first place of my own.

My new home. A small, studio apartment that cost a ridiculous fortune and that I loved every single day.

The move was dramatic, to say the least. The stress of finding an apartment in the middle of a breakup, in the real estate Hell known as New York City, was more than I could handle at the time. I was running around like a crazy person, meeting with brokers, scouring Craigslist postings and making more than daily tearful phone calls to my poor parents, trying to decipher why, when I have a stable job and am in my mid-20s, I still could not seem to get approved for a 300-square foot apartment without a guarantor.

Do people in this city really, on their own, make 50x their rent? Maybe the ones who don’t work in publishing.

Eventually I found my little dream home — a shoebox-sized studio apartment on the Upper East Side right on the New York City Marathon route.

Steps from the runners = convenient for spectating. Crucial apartment-hunting detail.

It was on a tree-lined block near Central Park, the East River and bars packed with adorably foreign bartenders who helped me forget about the whole “I can’t actually afford to pay for this drink” issue.

I woke up on moving day and went for an 8-mile run in Central Park. It was a beautiful day — perfect for making a fresh start in what I saw as a new life.

The movers arrived, they told me I “wasn’t good at packing,” and they moved my precious belongings — including my hula hoop — eight blocks north.

The kitchen all set up. My tiny kitchen where I made about four meals in one year.

I remember the movers leaving. Suddenly I was alone in this space that was filled with possibilities. I got to decorate and set everything up however I wanted! I could put my bed up against the wall, or in the middle of the room, or I could just sleep on a pillow on the floor!

For the first time in my life, I felt truly independent. Sure, the apartment was slightly out of my price range and I’d have to make some lifestyle changes. But it was so worth it to me.

I had always wanted to live by myself, and when I moved in with my ex-boyfriend I thought I wouldn’t get the chance since I’d always had roommates. It was bittersweet. So when the breakup went down, even though it took me a little while to see it, I knew there was a huge opportunity ahead of me. An absolute blessing in disguise, if that phrase doesn’t make you want to smack yourself across the face. (I hate it, but it works.)

In the past year of living alone, I have learned so much and grown so much. I am so glad I got this chance, and as tough as it was at times — specifically rent-due times — it has been a perfect year.

Now, because you know I like to make lists and share them with you, here are a few of the important lessons I’ve learned in my year of solo-style living:

  • It’s expensive as shit. Maybe if you’re in a cool suburban area you can find a decent place for cheap, but I was very adamant about being in a safe neighborhood near my friends in Manhattan. Could I have found a cheaper apartment in an outer borough? Absolutely. But when it came down to weighing my options, location was really important to me. So I took the smallest, cheapest place I could find and I knew that coughing up a bit more for rent each month was literally the price I had to pay. That was a choice I was OK with, even if it meant eating plain pasta with salt and pepper for the first three months of living there.
  • When the bills come, you don’t get to split them. When you have a roommate, you get the Time Warner statement and it’s not so bad, because you’re really only looking at half that bill. Not the case when you’re on your own. As much as I enjoy the constant company of the little fly who has set up shop in my home, he isn’t exactly paying his way.
  • If you buy food, it’s yours to eat. Nothing magically disappears. Except my Nutella. I swear, someone is breaking in and eating it, because there is no way I just went through a tub of that in a week. Right…? But really, I’m awful at sharing food, and I loved that for the past year, whatever I bought was mine and I never had to come home to hear, “Hey, I had the last of your Thin Mints, but don’t worry, I’ll totally replace them next year when Girl Scout Cookie season rolls around. Promise!”
  • Oh, but that heaping pile of dirty dishes? Yeah, that pile of crap is yours, too, and those dishes don’t magically get cleaned. That sucks.
  • I am OCD about a lot of things. Making sure the trash lands in the trash can is apparently not one of those things. Brian finds this baffling. It is not uncommon for the space underneath my desk, where I eat breakfast every day, to be littered with MultiGrain bar wrappers that just don’t find their way into the trash. It’s not my fault. Just kidding. It totally is. See? Nowhere else to place the blame.
  • Living alone is not scary. There was one night when my smoke alarm wouldn’t stop going off, and I freaked out and was convinced it was my Carbon Monoxide detector meter thing, and I assumed I was about to die. But other than that, there was never a night where I feared a break-in or anything truly terrifying. Sometimes I’ll hear a little noise as I’m falling asleep, and I’ll turn the light on to check for monsters, but the monsters that usually hang out at my place are pretty cool and not worrisome.
  • It’s incredibly liberating. The first day I commuted to work from my apartment and then came home to my own place was really cool. I was the only person with the keys — eventually I gave a spare set to my friend Lauren who lives down the street, conveniently — and I knew I was returning to the room exactly the way I had left it.
  • You can, and should, be naked all the time. Confession: I unpacked my apartment on move-in day wearing just a bra and underwear, simply because I could. I put on some music and had a blast.
  • You can, and should, buy curtains. Possibly before move-in day. That was maybe my first mistake. I have not yet received complaints from the neighbors, but I also haven’t moved out yet.
  • There’s a difference between being alone and being lonely. I loved being alone and truly never felt lonely. I relished all the “me time” I had, which I think means it was just something I really needed.
My front stoop was perfect for dance parties. Not so good for retrieving Garmin satellites though...
  • If you want to eat Velveeta shells and cheese for dinner, no one ever has to know. Even if you write about it on your blog, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. Solo living = judgment-free zone.
  • Dating someone when you don’t have a roommate is way easier and better, no matter how cool your roommate may be. The night I strategically lured Brian back to my apartment (to watch TV, Mom, not for kissing, obviously) was totally stress-free, because I knew there would be no awkward introduction to a roommate, no weird, “We’re going to hang out in my room now” and no awkward morning goodbye with a potential audience. As my relationship with Brian progressed, I loved having the option of having him over without having to clear it with someone else. It was just totally uncomplicated, and uncomplicated is exactly what I was going for over the course of the last year.
Here is a picture of my bed with the mismatched curtains and pillows. That changed eventually.
  • You will learn to fix things, whether or not you want to. My toilet ran nonstop for a solid month before I sucked it up and did something about it. I will never forget the weekend Emily and Lauren were visiting and my toilet combusted in the night. I had guests — I couldn’t just let the problem go on. And so I opened up the back of the toilet, found the problem — that little chain is supposed to be attached to something! — and fixed it without a Google search or desperate text to my dad. There were times when I wanted to call my super or a plumber or a hitman, but I went with the whole pride and independence thing instead. It wasn’t always glamorous, but I got the job done with the help of a hammer. I own three hammers and I love each of them.
  • Living alone is something I always wanted to do, and it was something I clearly needed to do. There were nights I spent alone in bed at 9 pm, and there were mornings when I scrambled home from a bar at 5 am. I have made some of my best memories in this apartment, and while I’m sad to leave it behind, I’m so excited for the next step in my little moving journey.

OK ready for the final wicked cheesy note?

I feel like I really came into my own in this past year. I had a ton of fun and, in the process, came to realize the things I truly value and that matter to me. Right now I feel constantly surrounded by people who love and support me, and who I really want in my life. Living alone, and spending many nights doing my own thing on my own time, have led me to this place, and I’m so grateful.


I’m also grateful that I get to start splitting my bills soon!

Living alone is hard and it’s not always an option strictly because it’s costly as heck. But if you can do it, I recommend it.

I don’t officially have to be out of my apartment until April 30, and you bet I’ll relish these final days. Let me know if you want to come over and I will send you home with party favors including but not limited to an array of Old Navy sweatshirts, an air conditioner, a desk, a couch and a very dull knife set (how those knives got dull, I will never know, since I have cooked twice ever).

And because I suppose this is a running blog, let me tell you a little something else: Today I ran eight amazing miles.

These splits are from today. They are evidence that I have not completely lost the speed I once had in me. It'll come back fully eventually I presume.

I did a Chisel class last night and my legs were so happy to be out running this morning. By “my legs” I mean “me,” but my legs really did feel refreshed and ready to run. I had some slight pain in the back of my knee when I got started, and I did have to make one bathroom stop around mile four, but overall this run was perfect. I planned to go slowly and just run by feel, and these are the splits I ended up with. I loved being in Central Park, running eight miles just like I did a year ago.

When I got back from my run, I iced my knee and took care of myself. I ate oatmeal, too, and by “ate oatmeal” I mean I cooked up some oats and them drowned them with chocolate chips. That’s just my style.

And no one was around to witness or judge.

Have a great day, everyone!

AND TALK TO ME ABOUT LIVING ALONE: Done it? Loved it? Hated it? Dying to try it? No desire to fly solo? Best advice for living alone? Go to town. Share your knowledge.



67 Responses

  1. My husband of 30 years passed away October 29. Now I’m living alone and had considered inviting a good friend who needs a place to live move in with me. But she will be bringing her living room and bedroom furniture. I’ll have to get rid of mine and I don’t want to. She’s been a great friend who stood by me and helped me when I was as my lowest from losing my husband unexpectedly, but I can tell by her reactions and comments that she will be ruling the roost here in my home. I have such low self esteem and am easily manupilated. She has already said some things that hurt my feelings about my house and hasn’t really made any concessions. She just seems to be accepting my hospitality which will help us both financially and making changes to my house I don’t want. She has said nothing positive about my house, only things that she wants changed. Am I wrong for feeling like this maybe isn’t the blessing it seemed to be at first. She needs a place to move to in March and I thought I’d need a roommate to keep living in my home now that my income is 1/3 of what it was. I’m on mental disability so I’m still very fragile and weak and she is very stong and assertive. Pushy actually. Help. I don’t want to hurt my friend who has been so good to me these past few weeks but I don’t think I can share my home right now.

  2. This post really helped me. I’ve never lived alone before. I lived with my parents as a kid then I found a roommate when I was 19. We’ve been roommates up to the present (27 years).
    Recently he was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma and he’s in his final stages of the disease. He probably won’t live another week.
    Coming home to an empty house after visiting him in the hospital is a whole new experience for me, and it’s very lonely and depressing.
    But things are what they are, and it’s probably time I learn to face the world by myself.
    Thanks for this post. I hope someday I deal with being alone as well as you are.

  3. Ah the message is so positive, I really need it 😛

    Yeah I just moved into a studio at the end of my bachelor. Freedom seems a plus but it’s so hard atm. Im that type of the people who cant be alone. that’s why i moved coz I like to challange myself haha… Especially with memories of good roommates in the past and seeing friends that get good roomies, it actually makes me feel more insecure and needy. My brain doesnt function nicely whenever i think I am living alone, I do hang out with friends with nearly a daily base tho…I dont know how long I can hold on to it but thanks for the blog, I hope in the end it will make me proud.
    and to the people who wants to experience it: u should make sure u enjoy me time enough. Otherwise a good roomie is always nice.

  4. I’ve been living alone for the last year and a half, and it’s been one of the best experiences of my life. Yes, it’s expensive—really, really expensive—but, like you, I love all the “me-time” and the knowing that the apartment is in the exact state I left it. My boyfriend and I will move in together when he finishes grad school in a year, so I have 13 months to soak it up.

  5. Best thing I ever did, especially after a break-up and a cross-country move. I pass by my old apartment complex with my husband all the time and reminisce how he hated to stay there with me, but how much I loved it mostly because it was the place where I felt absolute freedom. I agree it’s something everyone should try to do within their lifetime.

  6. I lived alone the first three months I was married. My husband would come stay on the weekends. He had to live with this parents while he worked in one state and I finished my degree in another. I’m so grateful I had this time alone. I loved that apartment and being so free. I felt lonely occasionally because it’s kinda hard to just get married, go on your honeymoon and then not live with your husband. But the weekends felt like such a party. It was like we were still dating. There is so much freedom to living alone – I remember one night eating leftover cheesecake on my bed while watching the office and no one would ever know and I didn’t have to be productive or worry about someone else or their needs. That chapter closed and now I’m trying to relish the living with my partner in life, just the two of us before we add anyone else to the mix.

  7. I can really relate to this. I moved in to my own apartment 9 months ago (and just recently moved out), it was definitely the best decision. It was certainly expensive, and I appreciate now having roommates for that reason, but I loved it. I got lonely at times, but that was mostly because I didn’t know many people in the area I was living. It’s certainly going to be an adjustment to living with people again!

  8. Love it! I moved into a studio in October – and I absolutely love it. In addition to the nakedness and spontaneous dance parties, I love that you can wear your jenky sweaters that you’ve owned (and secretly love) since 8th grade without judgment.

    Glad you’re getting your speediness back!!

  9. That’s awesome! I never lived alone, kind of wished I had! But I always loved living with roommates! You’re little apartment is so cute! I would love to live in NYC!

  10. Happy to hear you’re glad to have spent some ‘alone time’. I lived solo for three years and it was great but I missed having someone to share the chores with.

  11. I totally and completely agree! I’ve spent the past 6 months living on my own in a beautiful apartment in Sicily while I’m here teaching English this year. I’m moving back to NYC in the fall and will be living in my parents’ tiny Soho apartment for a few months before HOPEFULLY getting a job and moving out. I’m sure I’ll have roommates when I do move out, because I just can’t afford NYC rent on my own yet. But I have really enjoyed living on my own and I hope the transition back to living with other people isn’t too traumatic – for me and them! 😉

  12. Living alone is the best. Much recommended before anyone has a family and has to house all those little children. Making breakfast in a robe (or whatever), stripping down to a sports bra to cool off after a run, having only wine then strawberries for dinner (I may have done that tonight), telling your father you killed a big spider without screaming…I could go on and on.

  13. I LOVE living alone!!! Like really!!! But, like NYC, living alone in Seattle is so much money!!! And I live in a tiny studio in the basement. But I LOVE it!!!

  14. I LOVE living alone – I’ve had my own place (well, my own three different places) for the past eight years, since I graduated from college. And that might seem like a lot…but considering how CRAZY some of the roommates I had in college were (no, seriously – I actually signed committal papers for one of them…to an actual psychiatric hospital), I may never have a roommate again. EVER!

  15. I. Loved. This. Post! My living alone situation is pretty similar to yours, in that it was never my intention, but, looking back, was EXACTLY what I needed! I was TERRIFIED to live alone, but I think you say it best when you say “There’s a difference between being alone and being lonely.” Lonely has nothing to do with how many people live with you. In fact, I think living alone I have been less lonely than I was living with someone! Thanks for putting this out there!

  16. Very nice reflections, spot on! Though I sadly have never lived alone (and hope never too!). I have strange irrational fears but I think most of these would be solved if I lived in an apartment instead of a house. I could write a book about my irrational fears but then you’d just think I was psycho. Oh, and my dishes NEVER get magically cleaned either!

  17. I love living alone. I definitely walk around half naked all the time and I never shut the bathroom door.

  18. I have never lived alone. I went from my parents house to living with by husband. We actually got married the year after high school so we were young. I have never wanted to live alone. I love the way things turned out for me 🙂 I am a lucky girl.
    I am sure for many people living alone is fantastic!! I can understand why people love it.
    However, it’s just not for me.

  19. I’m actually moving from a 2 bedroom to a 3 bedroom in less than two months (and it’s going to cost more money! But heat will be included, which will probably be amazing come winter)! But I’m kind of excited for it, though I kind of hope to be in a position next year to try living by myself (right now I can’t afford to do it anywhere I’d actually want to live).

  20. I <3 this post. agree with you on everything. I think every single girl should live alone before shacking up with someone because you really do learn so much about yourself. And that it's ok (and awesome) to be alone sometimes. Among many things, I've learned I'm not afraid to kill and dispose of vermin, the boogeyman, etc. and that I am pretty much anal about everything. And I still do things in my underwear just because i can. It is awesome.

    I looked for you this morning too! Fantastic running. We have a date Thursday.

  21. I am living alone in a tiny “studio” in Paris right now and I LOVE IT. I agree with everything you said. Substitute Velveeta and shells for Pringles and it’s the same. 🙂 I think it’s sort of a rite of passage, and it seems like more and more couples I know are moving in together sooner than people used to (like during college instead of after, etc). I still haven’t lived with a boyfriend because I figured I will probably get married eventually and live with someone for the rest of my life so I might as well get my alone time in now!

  22. I bought my first house by myself when my boyfriend at the time wouldn’t commit to anything. I’m glad I did because when that relationship blew up, I had already been supporting myself and didn’t have to move. I spend 4 years living alone in my house that I was paying for all by myself in my mid-twenties. It was wonderful because I knew I could do it on my own. I’m married now and trying to sell this last piece of my old life but again, because I did it on my own, I know I can do anything I put my mind to!

  23. I never once have lived alone but it’s something that I’m going to make sure my daughter does. I think it’s really important.

    So excited for your next steps – your next adventure. 🙂

  24. When I graduated from college and moved to Chicago for law school, I got a studio apartment because I didn’t want to find a random roommate. and I LOVE it! Especially the food doesn’t disappear part and no one can judge what you’re doing/eating! Haha

  25. you wrote it so well – LOVED living alone, for all the reasons you mentioned. It was a wonderful time in life and I’m glad you got the chance to experience it, too.

  26. The first time I lived on my own was a tiny sublet during a summer internship. It’s still one of my favorite places I’ve ever lived, because it’s where I learned how to cook eggs and how to set up my own internet and how to clean puke out of the carpet and how to drink smartly enough that you don’t have to clean puke out of the carpet.

    I lived alone for two years after college in a semi-suburban apartment that was way more space than I needed. I think what I learned from that time was how to figure out WHAT I wanted to do. Nobody was telling me what to do, or throwing impromptu parties, or telling me they needed the apartment from X to X, so it was up to me to fill my time the way I wanted to. I’m so glad I had those years.

  27. This post actually made me a little sad because I’ve never really lived alone for any length of time. There was a 2 mth period between buying my apartment and my long distance boyfriend (now husband!) moving in, but 2mths isn’t exactly a decent stretch of time. Mostly I’d like it for the non-judgement plastic mac n cheese moments.

  28. I miss living alone. I love being married and having a couple of kiddos but I periodically drive by my old apt. and wax nostalgically about my single living, carefree days.
    My favorite part? A HUGE (relatively speaking) walk-in closet filled with all MY stuff. No sharing. ahhh, good times.

  29. I love your cute little apartment!! You will post pictures of your soon-to-be new one right!?!?
    Oh and by the way, you have thoroughly convinced me to live on my own!! 🙂 Sounds like HEAVEN

  30. I lived alone for a year in law school. It was fantastic, but living with my husband is even better, because he is tall enough to reach high things on shelves for me.

  31. I’m moving into my own studio in Boston in September. The cost of this tiny little apartment is more than my 2-bed 900 square foot apartment on the outskirts of Boston now, but I wanted location, so I had to cough it up. Before this, my boyfriend and I were going to move in together, then we broke up, now we’re back together and I’m SO thankful I’m going to get this year on my own. Living with a roommate is hard work, easier on the wallet, but for me harder mentally. You always have to make sure the other person is happy with the space, people are pulling their weight with cleaning, etc, and sometimes I just don’t want to do that. After 5 years of roommates, I’m ready for the change!

  32. Never commented before but just wanted to say this is a great post and beautifully written! I value my ‘me time’ so much and I feel like it’s almost seen as ‘taboo’ to actually admit that nowadays!

  33. Ali, dead on with this post. From siblings, to college roommates, to co-workers, I have always lived with someone and I am beyond tired of it. Just having my own room is a luxery these days. Sadly, the print industry is about as luxurious as the publishing industry, so no solo shoebox in my cards. Glad you had a great run!

  34. great post!! I did it while my fiance was away for his final clinical internships. It was only 3 months, but I have to admit I was a little sad when it came to a close (though I love having him back!!). I think I learned a lot about myself and would not trade the experience!

  35. Really liked this post Ali. I have never lived alone and don’t think I will but I do think it would be a great learning experience. I currently live with my boyfriend — which, as you know, is a totally different experience than living with roommates. However, I can only imagine how nice it would be to be dating and not have to clear anything with you roommates!

  36. I lived on my own for 4 wonderful years. I first lived in a studio, then moved right next door into a one bedroom. It definitely had its ups and downs but I was always happy with it. It also helped that my mom lived in my building. I loved having the freedom to do what I wanted when I wanted and never having to answer to anyone.

    Now I own my own home and live with my boyfriend. And that means that we can have puppies! So I’ll take puppies over freedom anyday! 🙂

  37. Such a perfectly-timed post. I’m moving to my own, roommate-free, over-priced apartment May 1st when I start my Master’s. This post put a smile on my face while making a feeble attempt to furniture shop.

  38. Last year when my lease was up, I planned to move out and live on my own, but then I realized how ridiculously expensive it is. To live in a shoebox. So I stayed in my apartment. My roommate is fine…we’re not friends, but we live together just fine. But I think it would be SO much better to live on my own, mainly for all the reasons you described.

    And I really like your apartment! It’s kind of amazing how little space you actually do need. Who needs a bedroom??

  39. I live alone now and love it! Before I moved out on my own, I moved in with my parents for the last two years of college. I had some crazy roommate situations. I do have some great memories with my old roommates but I knew I had to live alone. I saved up and two months after I graduated I was out on my own. Not a day has passed were I wish I had a roommate. I love only having my messes to clean up and being able to have friends over whenever without feeling bad I am disturbing my roommate.

  40. Totally loved your post…because I loved living alone! I had for a number of years, the first time after a hard break up and I too felt like I came into my own. Loved having my own stuff and no one to judge that I fell asleep watching grey’s anatomy DVD’s while eating jelly beans almost every night. I cherish that time especially now that I’m living with a boy, that I love. I feel like I can enjoy that experience more knowing I am, no matter what, still an independent woman (gag worthy cliche but it’s true) and that I had plenty of me time (I still need me time though)

  41. I WISH I could live alone. Like NYC, Boston is crazy expensive and living alone is just not in the financial cards. I’ve had roommates for the last 3 years. And while they’re cool and all, I would love to not have to deal with picking up after people, or saying, “Hey, it’s only a foot away – want to move that cup from the sink to the thing we have called a dishwasher? It’s empty. It wants your cup. Just do it already.”

    I’m moving in with my boyfriend in August and I can’t wait! While it’s still “roommate” living, at least its with a person that I like a lot (well, more than a lot). It’s going to be awesome!

  42. I have lived alone for the past couple of years and have LOVED it! Before I moved out on my own, I always thought I’d be lonely but you’re right – being alone does not equal lonely. There is so much freedom to having your own place…and being able to carry on full conversations with your dog without anyone thinking your a total weirdo.

    That being said, I’m super excited to no longer have to pay all the bills by myself anymore. That part was getting a little old.

    Can’t wait to come visit you in your new place!!

  43. “There’s a difference between being alone and being lonely.” YES. Living alone forces you to learn how to be alone… and how to be OK with being alone! I now look forward to my “alone time” on Friday nights, where I sit on my couch, under my old ass Illini blanket, in my most likely unwashed wunder unders, watching CSI:NY, eating frozen pizza and snuggling with my fat, boss cat. JUDGEMENT FREE ZONE!

    So glad you were able to enjoy the awesomeness that is living alone for a little bit! And I have to admit… I’m jealous you get to split your cable bill again…. I HATE PAYING THAT BILL ALMOST AS MUCH AS I HATE PAYING RENT. I can’t wait to find a rich man to buy me a condo and a range rover…. until then, I’ll be chilling, alone, in my lil apt in Lincoln Park. 🙂

  44. “a very dull knife set (how those knives got dull, I will never know, since I have cooked twice ever).” – HAHAHAHAHAHA.

    I loved living alone too and I think it is so important that we both got to do it.

    I had an amazing three mile run today! Beautiful day for a run!

  45. i just recently started reading your blog and i really enjoy it! 🙂

    i lived alone this past year for the first time, too! i LOVE it! i’m broke, but its worth it. i’m moving in with my boyfriend at the end of the month, and he told me i had to live on my own a year before we did that because i would regret it if i didn’t. he was right! i’m ready to live with him, but i’m glad i had a year on my own, too! good luck with your move!

  46. I live kind of alone (share my kitchen with someone else, but have my own room and bathroom) and when I will most likely move to a different town this summer, I will be looking for my very own place- without sharing a kitchen with someone else- because I love living alone. And it sure does not mean being lonely!

  47. I love this post too and am so happy for you! What a difference a year makes! 🙂 I’ve never lived by myself but I live in a house with roommates and everyones’ schedule is so varied that most of the time the house is really quiet that it feels like I am living by myself. Just can’t walk around nekked because…well, that’s awkward and I really don’t want it to be turned into a nudist colony. Also awkward in the suburbs of Virginia and there are children around.

  48. Living alone with the best thing I did too! And now I’m cohabiting with my lover. I feel a bit spoiled having had my own space, while sharing is cheaper I sometimes miss my own space. I like leaving my place and coming home knowing it’s exactly how I left it. But I suppose that’s life and if I want to be in a relationship I better get used to sharing my stuff again. Sheesh, you would think I was an only child! ENJOY!

  49. I live alone and LOVE LOVE LOVE it! I too was worried about being lonely–so not an issue. My favorite part about living alone is sitting in my bathrobe on the couch doing my make up while watching the morning news!

    The only issue is my BF living a bit far away…but it works because we both just live at my place on the weekend.

  50. This is a great post! I’d never lived alone until my husband had a health crisis and moved out (I’d moved in with him straight out of college). It was HARD, and was probably more so because I knew he was very ill and I couldn’t do anything to help. BUT it was also a great experience in same ways (especially now that he’s doing so much better). He’s been out of the country for his dissertation research since September and although there have been some rough days, I’ve really enjoyed the alone time. Nothing is better than getting into your bed at 8:30 just because you can!

  51. Ali, this is one of my favorite posts of yours because I nodded in agreement to every single one AND because I love how much this year has meant to you, personally. (as you can tell, I love these personal posts the most!). Living alone for me, too, was incredibly liberating, and while scary at first, was the best two years of my life, before I met M. I’d never lived alone before either, but going through my divorce and being forced to just do it was what I needed. I wrote an entire post on the difference between lonely and alone…I totally agree. There is a huge difference. Congrats on such a wonderful year and you are most certainly right where you are meant to be, as you move in with Brian!

  52. i remember my first place roommate-free. it was awesome! it was also in DC so super expensive but worth the splurge. i remember feeling for the first time that all the space was mine and mine only!

  53. Such a great post! As I told you when you moved out on you’re own, it’s going to be the greatest thing for you! I’m so happy for you and for all this past year did for you!

  54. Living alone is great – I never knew how freeing it would be and how independent and empowered it would make me feel until I finally did it. And then when I moved in with a boy, it was initially kind of hard to share space again, but that is offset by the excitement of it all. And then you realise it is equally fun in a different way. Especially when the dishes magically get cleaned and put away and the rubbish is taken out.

  55. love this and completely agree. Also, today I saw a woman wearing a grammatically incorrect shirt. I thought you’d appreciate that.

  56. I love what you said about being lonely and alone are too different things — so true. I lived alone over the summer (4th yr roommates graduated and 1st yr ones yet to move in) and loved it. When I was in my nov-dec funk, I had roommates, but felt horribly lonely. Very well put.

    1. Haha thank you! It’s from ZGallerie (zgallerie.com). They actually still carry it in a few other colors. I think it’s one of their standard patterns that they sort of always have, just in different seasonal colors. It’s a duvet, not a comforter, which is a bit annoying (I always mess it up), but I”m obsessed with the bright color!

  57. This just got me REALLY excited to move out on my own for the first time this summer. Also, I really love your apartment. I dream of breakfast bars. Is that weird?

    1. Dreaming of breakfast bars is absolutely not weird. I STILL dream of them. I wanted to “make” one with a long table and stools this year when I moved into my very own apartment, but this has yet to happen. Oh well.

      Love this entry. Resonates with me. That’s all I will say. 🙂

  58. You put so eloquently what I have tried to explain to my friends so many times!

    A few years ago I was set to move in with my then boyfriend. About 2 days prior to move in, we broke up. I ended up taking the apartment that we had planned to split the cost of and had quite the awakening when I had to pay for everything.

    BUT, the experience of living alone was amazing! I am so thankful for it now that I have a permanent roomie (my fiancé 🙂 ).

    It’s funny how little things like fixing the toilet, or learning how to turn your electricity back on after you blow a fuse (and have to go by yourself into a creepy dark building basement covered in rat traps) can make you feel so much more independent!

    I used to say it all the time too that there is a big difference from being lonely and being alone! I found that when I lived alone I saw people and did things so much more – that the few moments I had in my own place were amazing.

    It’s awesome you got the experience to live alone. And now it’s even more awesome that you’re about to have a pretty sweet roommate 🙂

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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