Living on your own is a lot of things. It’s freedom, loneliness, the seeming contradiction of stressful yet calming. It is a mixture of them all, depending on the mood we’re in when we walk through through that door. I both love and hate living by myself, especially when my parents are overseas. I’m pretty independent. Being an only child, I quickly discovered the world of privacy and freedom. However, 15 years later, I’ve realised that maintainingyour own private space and keeping it a happy place is something that has to be learned.
I remember that I’d always complain about how my parents nagged. They still do over the phone, but my annoyance has turned into a feeling of slight pressure, not wanting them to be concerned about me. The prime example would be that I’m not a good cook. In fact, I’m probably one of the worst cooks to live on their own. Need proof of competency? I set the fire alarm off by microwaving rice. I thought I was going to die. There was smoke everywhere in my tiny apartment; I couldn’t breathe properly, and the fire alarm was going bonkers. I panicked. I was crying and didn’t know what to do. I just grabbed my phone and ran out.
I thought I’d fucked up the house and started to check how much money I had in my bank account. In that moment I just wanted to scream. I graduated high school and now I’m nearly 20, but no one bloody taught me how to deal with a rented apartment that may or may not be totally soaked with sprinkler water. After 10 minutes or so, I braved the apartment door. Everything was fine, but it was so hard to breathe. In that instant, being the stubborn person that I am, I still wasn’t the daughter who would phone her parents and ask them how to deal with this situation.
Living on my own means having my own responsibilities. What if my parents weren’t here anymore? I’ve been thinking about that recently, about how eventually I will have to start ‘adulting’, with no one guiding me through the experiences I need to undertake in order to grow.
There are moments where I am grateful that I have friends to reach out to, but I do tell myself that I should do that less now that we are all grown ups. Everyone has their own problems that they need to deal with, and I should learn how to take care of myself.
You learn a lot about yourself when you’re by yourself…
Three RMIT students share their experiences with solo living. Stay tuned for part two of the Home and Alone series.
Catalyst has been the student publication of RMIT University since 1944. We may be older than your parents but we’re still going strong!