By now it’s a well-known fact that just under six months ago I picked up and moved over halfway across the country from California to Tennessee. A lesser-known fact, however, is that prior to this move, I had never lived alone.
As a millennial who had only ever rented in one of the most expensive states in the US, that’s probably not an entirely shocking tidbit of information. Frankly, it’s pricey to live in California, let alone live there, well… alone.
Cost aside, I’m also someone who thrives off of human connection, so having a roommate or a gaggle of roommates is something that (until recently) I felt was non-negotiable. Whether it was my OG roommates mom and dad, my college dorm-mates, or my post-grad roomie, for the past 25 years there was someone there to welcome me home from class or work, someone to make dinner with, and someone to binge Netflix series after Netflix series with.
And while I genuinely loved that, it really took me no time at all to appreciate this solo living situation.
Yes, living alone comes with some drawbacks.
For starters, it’s expensive. I’m basically paying the equivalent of sharing a two-bedroom apartment in Southern California for my little studio in Nash (a bit more, even, considering the fact that I’m not splitting the cost of utilities with anyone). It also can be lonely and a bit isolating at times.
However, there are silver linings in each of these shortcomings.
Aside from the space itself (tiny as it is), the per-month price tag also includes a bevy of amenities that I didn’t have back in CA. Things like a resort-style pool, 24-hour gym, and trash valet (bou-jee!) have certainly made the cost more than worth it. And then there are comforts and conveniences not necessarily mentioned in the lease — like the close proximity to downtown (where I work) or the building’s extra security features — that definitely merit a shout-out, too.
And while living alone, in theory, prevents that human connection I claim to thrive off of, it’s forced me to get out of my comfort zone and seek it out elsewhere. Since moving, I’ve become a much more social and outgoing version of myself… something I didn’t really think was possible.
Curious about what else makes living alone so great in my eyes?! Peep these silver linings I’ve realized:
There are no uncomfortable roommate conflicts
Unfortunately, living with someone else opens the door to superficial conflicts over silly things like dirty dishes or the thermostat settings. Things like these are often ignored because they seem a bit too trivial to have a serious conversation about. But eventually, these small things become the big things that make you dislike the person you’re living with — regardless of if that person is an acquaintance or your best friend.
Living alone, I don’t have the chance to develop that type of shallow animosity toward anyone. Like the title of my favorite Vance Joy song, the mess is mine. And no one takes my clothes without permission. Those dirty dishes? All me. The temperature is always exactly where I want it, and if the lights were left on, it was because I absent-mindedly forgot to shut them off before I left. The blame is all on me when anything might be out of place.
No relationship is suffering because of my living situation, and that’s extremely relieving.
I’ve become a yes girl
Moving to a new state where I knew very few people, while also exhilarating, was a huge threat to my happiness. Add my current living situation to the equation and it could have been disastrous. Luckily, I recognized early on that loneliness would likely be the make-or-break factor of my time in Nashville, so I was able to combat it head-on from the start.
I made a little agreement with myself during my first week here to say yes to whatever invitation was thrown at me. I knew that I would always have my little space as a sanctuary when I needed some alone time. But what I wouldn’t have unless I made the effort was friends in this new city. So whether it was happy hour with my new coworkers or dinner with a friend of a friend that I barely knew, I accepted the invite.
That early effort to say yes more and get out laid the groundwork for how I would exist socially out here. I’m not afraid to reach out when I’m feeling a little lonely and could use some human connection, but I’m also okay with saying no when I know I need to recharge. Living alone has truly helped me realize a healthy balance of interaction and separation.
The space is a complete reflection of me
Aside from my parents’ well-curated home in San Diego, the hodge-podge of furniture featured in the spaces I’ve shared with others (though functional) was not always the trendiest. More so… it was never up to me.
The small studio apartment I call home here in Nashville is really the first space that’s a complete reflection of me. Everything in there — the sofa, the rugs, the artwork, the pillows — is in there because I made the decision to bring it in.
Check. It. Out.
Since leaving California also meant leaving the beach and the laid-back vibes that come with it, I knew I wanted to try and capture a version of the Cali/boho look that’s so popular today. Because I live in a studio that’s on the smaller side, this airy and bright style also helped to ensure it didn’t feel cramped up or overwhelmed.
Though I’m not certain it will ever be truly finished (I can’t help it that Target comes out with better and better stuff each season!!!), right now it looks as finished as it has since I’ve moved. And I’m thrilled with how it turned out! I hope you love it as much as I do, and if you’re on the fence about living alone, I hope this post helped to extinguish some of those doubts. Plus, if you’re planning on getting married and having a family one day, this might be the only chance you have to live independently.
*enter emoji of girl with arms in shrugging motion*
Something to consider for sure!!