The Most Important Things I’ve Learned While Living On My Own
I’ve officially been living on my own for almost two years now. I feel like time has really flown now I’ve realized that! By living on my own, I mean I live with my girlfriend of 3.5 years, and my cat. What I mean is that I’m no longer living in my family home. I am officially an independent young adult, despite still feeling like a teenager!
So, how did I succeed in living on my own?
Well, I met my girlfriend during university, and after a good year and half, we decided that we wanted to move in together once we both graduated in 2018, rather than moving back in with our families. So that’s what we did! We decided to live in an area in between both our families, both got ourselves a job, and here we are two years later!
Reflecting on the last two years, I’ve definitely learned a lot from living on my own. I wish they taught you about how to do basic adult things like paying bills at school, as the only way I’ve learned how to do these things is as I’ve experienced them.
When I signed a contract to rent my first home, I never realized that there are extra charges you have to pay the letting agents upfront, such as rent, application fees, and a deposit to cover any damages when you eventually move out. You also have to pay for credit checks so your landlord can check to see that you’re not in massive amounts of debt and can actually afford to rent a place. Then once all that’s done, you have to pay other bills on top of your rent: gas and electric, water, council tax, broadband, etc.
Living on your own is super expensive, and something I never fully realized or appreciated as a child. But then, why would I appreciate it if I was never taught about it?
I certainly wouldn’t be able to afford all the bills on my own, so I’m lucky I have someone who wants to live with me! I’ve certainly learned how to budget and how to save money since paying for my own place. You have to manage your money well, in order to work out how much you have left over for your weekly food shop, and if you can afford any other luxuries once all you boring house bills go out.
Another thing I never truly appreciated is how much time and effort it takes to maintain a home. I swear the majority of my free time is spent cleaning and tidying our house. Of course, it’s important to be doing this for hygiene reasons (especially during a pandemic), but I’ve found it’s really important for my mental health too. I’ve noticed I either feel really anxious or down when I’m living in what I perceive is a dirty house. My girlfriend and I share the housework between us which makes things more manageable, and actually gets us to work together as a team. Living together has turned our relationship into a partnership, which is really lovely.
Living on your own doesn’t just teach you about money and maintaining a home, I’ve also learned more about who I am as a person, and what I value in life. Being so independent has given me a chance to grow as an individual. I’ve had to make my own decisions on whereabouts in the country I want to live, what kind of career I’m working towards, and generally what I want to get out of life which will bring me happiness. I’ve had to rely on myself more, whether that’s commuting to a job, making big life decisions, or looking after my mental and physical health.
I don’t have parents around to help me anymore so I’ve had to do things for myself. It’s crazy to think about all the things I now do for myself: cooking my own meals, washing my clothes, self-care activities such as taking myself out for walks. I’ve come so far in the last two years, and it all stems from living on my own.
I’m still figuring out how to enjoy my own company a little more. I grew up in a big family with many sisters, and now I live with just one other person, who is out of the house a lot of the time. I do find it hard being on my own in the house a lot, but I’m slowly learning to fill my private time with fun hobbies like writing, drawing, and taking time for myself and sitting with my thoughts.
I’ve been through a lot of big life changes since graduating from university. I’ve learned and experienced a lot while living on my own, and I’m sure there’s a lot more I’m yet to figure out about how to be a real adult, and I’ll be sure to share them with you all!
Thanks for reading!
Bekka is the creator of feelingsofafakeadult.com. The blog started off as a way for Bekka to document her life as a fully fledged 'adult' after graduating from university. Over a year and a half later, she still doesn't feel like an adult! On "Feelings of a Fake Adult," you can find advice style content on 'how to adult,' the university experience, as well as more personal topics about mental health, LGBTQ+ and more!
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