I may be only 25 years old, but I’ve been living on my own since I was 23 and while I still have a lot of growing up to do, this is what I have learned since becoming a “full-blown adult.”

Two years ago was the first time I’ve ever lived alone. It was a conscious choice I made, something I wanted to say I did before the thought of falling in love and starting a family of my own.

I had no idea that by merely renting a studio apartment, I would run into so many obstacles and learn so many lessons.

Living alone, while great in the sense that you have all the “me time” you could ever want, is actually a bit lonely and you often find yourself left to your own devices.

For instance, I never knew that a toilet could get “stuck” and run for hours on end until you adjust a plug.

I never knew how much cleaning I’d be doing or how much money I’d spend on toilet paper. And I had no idea just how difficult carrying things like bags of groceries and Christmas trees up to my floor by myself would be.

There are also the times when you find yourself in a bit of an emergency, and there is no one around to help.

About a month after I first moved into my apartment, I decided I wanted to spend a Friday night in, baking cookies, and watching movies. Not having all of the tools a kitchen should have at that time, I had to use an immersion blender to mix the dough.

One thing led to another, and I got my finger stuck in it. As the blood started pouring from my hand, there was no one around to help me.

My first thought was to FaceTime my dad, who lives six hours away. He yelled at me for not immediately calling 9-1-1.

The last few years have been filled with many lessons— both big and small.

When deciding that I wanted to live alone rather than find roommates, I thought to myself:

“I’m the first of my friends to actually have my own place, everyone will always be over and it will be just like having roommates that leave at night.”

I was very, very wrong. A perk of having roommates is that they always have to be there and you never feel weird about asking for help.

Now, don’t get me wrong. My friends come over as often as they can and offer their help when they can, but they have their own lives as well. So while they’re off doing their own thing, I have been left to figure out life on my own.

I honestly didn’t realize how lonely it would be, or how easily the act of paying a bill can slip your mind. I also didn’t know how anti-social I would become and how my idea of a fun Friday night would turn into spending money I don’t have on home decor at Target.

Nonetheless, all of these obstacles I’ve run into over the years have taught me a lot about myself.

Not only did I realize how much more of an introvert I am than an extrovert, but I’ve also learned that it’s okay to ask for help.

For the last two years, I’ve found myself struggling through life’s lesson all on my own, not wanting to bother other people with my problems. But I’ve learned that those people who care about you most are more than willing to help. It’s okay to let go of some of that stubbornness and ask when you are struggling.

I have admittedly been blessed with a very good life with incredible opportunities, and while living alone has had its difficult moments, I wouldn’t change my experiences for the world.

I’ve become more well-rounded, and ironically, more independent because of it.

I’m proud of myself for being able to say I’ve lived on my own, but I can honestly say I’m ready for that next chapter of my life— whenever that may be.

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