Growing up, you probably never imagined living anywhere else but the home you've always known. In fact, for the most part, people only move out once they get married or when they accept a job abroad. But these days, more and more people are entertaining the idea of living alone and of trying to make it on their own.
The first time I ever lived in a space that wasn't with my family was right before I turned 19. I had just moved to California for college where I rented an apartment with a high school friend. Both our families were back in Asia: Mine in Singapore, hers in Taiwan. I lived with friends for four years and then moved back to the Philippines and lived with my brother for a while. Even though I've been working part-time since I was 16, my parents still financially supported me until I landed my first *real* job in 2016.
2016 was also the first time I became truly independent—no roommates, no parents, no safety net. Living alone changed the game for me, and here's why I recommend it to every woman out there.
Living alone made me self-sufficient.
I moved out of my family's apartment around the same time I started my first job, so literally everything in my life was a freaking lesson. I was figuring things out at work during the day and trying to cram so many errands as soon as I got home. I also tried to explore my area a little bit, looking for the essentials: grocery, bank, water delivery service, laundromat, hardware store, etc. When my aircon started leaking, I couldn't just leave my condo and expect to come home to a perfectly functioning AC; I had to look up businesses that supplied that service near me and figure out how to fit it into my budget.
I became more aware of the role money plays in my life.
As a child, I sometimes found myself feeling slightly annoyed about not being able to buy everything I wanted—until I started working when I was 16. Suddenly, I approached purchases with more hesitation. Still, as a high schooler, stressing about money wasn't a thing.
Now, as a fully functioning 28-year-old woman, one of my biggest stressors is getting sick because, fuck, medicine is expensive! But so is cheese (the good kind)! And wine (again, the good kind)! There are days when I just want a full platter of sashimi, but I know that if I indulge in that, I'll be eating bad ramen until my next paycheck. So I buy a pound of chicken breast and pray to God all the butter and garlic in the world will turn it into steaks.
Organization is everything.
Living by yourself entails creating a system that makes sure everything's on track, specifically when it comes to paying the bills. For instance, it isn't difficult for me to remember the deadlines of my bills because it's either the 15th or the 30th. But when things get busy, it's easy to simply forget. I once forgot to pay for my internet, and I didn't even realize it until my WiFi stopped working. When I called my internet provider, they instructed me to pay for my bill, but it still took three days for them to reconnect my WiFi—an absolute nightmare for someone who works in digital.
That said, mistakes happen...
But I don't have to feel like horse shit about them. If I lived at home and forgot to pay a bill, my parents, as lovely as they are, would've probably given me a mini lecture on the importance of paying for bills on time—something I already know and don't need to hear. Having your own space means being able to lick your wounds in peace.
I realized that being alone is comforting for me.
While I can hold my own in a group setting, I've always found it draining. It wasn't until I lived alone that I realized I'm an introvert. Being alone is necessary for me to recharge. When I get home, I need the time and space to sort of "unpack" the person I was for the day. Even though most people have good intentions, I don't enjoy it when someone wants to sit and recap the day I had, lol. I never would have known this about me had I not experienced being completely independent.
I set my own rules.
The best thing about living by myself is the freedom. I can eat whatever I want, sleep whenever I want, and enjoy the company of whomever I want. I don't have to ask permission to do anything, but that also means everything that happens to me is my responsibility. That idea is scary but it's also incredibly liberating.
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