Words by April Austen
I will never, ever, be able to survive on my own.
This was my conclusion one day into my week-long experience of living alone while my family were on holidays. Already, there was a pile of dirty clothes, a sink full of dirty dishes and two hungry pets following me everywhere I went.
It all seemed too much. I was exhausted, having also just started a new job where I was working longer hours than before. I was overwhelmed and quickly giving up on my hopes of ever permanently moving out of home.
I’d never had to solely rely on myself to survive, or had pets solely relying on me too. I was used to having my other family members load and unload the dishwasher, fold the laundry and put out the bins. I realised I had to step up. Instead of flopping down onto the couch when I got home, I would walk the dog and give the pets dinner. Then I would figure out what to make myself for dinner, cook, and eat. Ironically, even though I was now the only human in the house, I had to start putting myself second.
After a couple of days, I settled into a routine. I had been thrown in the deep end, but after swallowing a little water I was now happily treading with my head above the surface. I made sure I got housework done, then I rewarded myself with some couch and TV time.
Living alone, I realised, did have its benefits. I had the opportunity to figure out the way I liked to do things and to put that into practice. I could properly clean dishes the day after (okay, a few days) I had used them, rather than forcing myself to do them when I didn’t feel like it. I began being able to live in my own rhythm, and it was nice.
In some ways, I was disappointed when my family returned because I was just getting on top of things. Yet even in this short time, I had learnt a lot. I have a new appreciation of myself and my capabilities. I don’t need to rely on others. I can manage on my own. I feel that just maybe I can succeed at being an adult, and that I’m ready for the new responsibilities and challenges that life will bring.