Four addresses in two years… My friends can’t even keep track of my mailing address because it hasn’t been the same since I graduated from college. Between moving and long term travel for work…moving to New York will be the first time I am signing a lease for longer than twelve months. This will also be the first time I am living far from my home but I decided to live alone.
Throughout college, I had 2-3 roommates everywhere I lived. I always had someone to talk to, someone to eat meals with, and someone to drag into the city with me on the weekends. I really enjoyed the company of others. It felt like it was always a party when they invited their friends over too. As much as I loved living with others, I craved having my own place that I could decorate by myself, not worry about a cleaning schedule, and have privacy. As a full time student and part time rowing coach, there was no way I could afford my own place in the DC area.
When I moved to Richmond, I finally had the opportunity to live by myself and it was amazing. I felt so accomplished being able to pay for my own rent and my own utilities. It was really empowering knowing that I worked hard enough to sustain living by myself. Statistics show that the percentage of women living alone is somewhere between 15-20%. Articles titled “Living Alone? You’re not alone” are all over the Internet as if there is a stigma for a young, unmarried women to live alone.
Well guess what…there is nothing wrong with being a woman and being able to provide for yourself. I’m living in the suburbs of NYC in a brand new one-bedroom apartment when I had the options to ask for roommates. I am not struggling to pay the rent and I am still putting money into my TSP (retirement) and my savings account. Too many people have said:
“Don’t you wish you had someone to split the rent with?”
“Don’t you get lonely living alone?”
“That sucks that you moved to NY. It’s so expensive there.”
I am sure they are not being said with a negativity. I see living alone as something that nobody can take away from me because if someone were to enter my life and live with me, they could leave and I could pay the rent on time.
I learned a lot since I started living on my own last summer. You really learn how to take care of yourself when you’re sick, communicate better with your friends since you can’t rely on roommates to be social, and you learn how to do things by yourself…like carrying six boxes of IKEA furniture up three flights of stairs to assemble by yourself. I can also keep my laundry in the dryer for 3 days, take forever in the bathroom getting ready for work, and turn my spare shelves into a wine cabinet.
If you’re a young lady (or man) living alone, know that you’re an independent, self-sufficient, badass millennial with an awesome career that allows you to have that lifestyle. Don’t let society tell you that you’re a loner with no social skills for living by yourself.
If you’re living at home or with roommates and thinking about living by yourself, do it! Don’t be scared. Live in a safe neighborhood and buy a Swiffer to help you kill bugs.
PS. Check out websites like WatchDog and ask your local police station about crime reports. This is all public information and it will help you find a safe place.
If you’re affiliated with the military or the DOD, ask the housing staff on post to help you find a place.