Moving to a new apartment or house can be a great feeling. Finding the right location and getting a bigger place can give you a fresh new start on life. But moving out of the place you lived at for the past eight years sucks big pie hole. Sorting through old junk you randomly bought off ebay, finding weird boxes under your bed, or how dust collects in your room got me thinking, Damn I’m a messy motherf’er. But for the first time in my life I’m going to be living on my own. No more roommates, totally solo. All the mess will be mine. All the unclean dishes will be mine. And all the hair thingys stuck in the shower drain will be mine…but I don’t have much hair, ahem. And I think it’s finally the right time. Hopefully I don’t become super lazy and watch Breaking Bad all day. It’s going to be an odd feeling. Hopefully I learn alot about myself. Maybe it’ll force me to go out more. I’m going to try to cook a little more. Maybe be healthier. Or maybe I’ll get a dog and we can be best pals for life. I dunno. Only time will tell.
My question this week for you Offenders is when did you finally live on your own, roommate free, and what did you learn about yourself? Any advice for me as I start a new chapter in life?
ROGER: I started living on my own straight out of college. If I learned anything from that experience and the many years since, it’s this – human beings need community. Not only do we need community, but we need simple, convenient, and regular access to it in order to maintain a simple and balanced level of happiness. As much as we crave the day we can live without roommates, when that day does come, we often take away an unknowing, daily contributor to our daily joy (assuming you actually like your roommates).
I’m a huge believer in the new urban community movement – basically live, work, and play all within walking distance. Many European towns are designed like this. Unfortunately in much of America (especially Los Angeles), such communities are rare. You have to drive to access the basics like grocery, gym, work, restaurants, friends, etc. It’s not a simple, walk out your door and let human connection and social interactions brush your every stride. Having to get into your car is a real killer in this arena. “It takes a village” not only applies to the rearing of children, but the solid ground necessary to feel connected, safe, and happy as an adult (unless, of course, you are truly a loner. Which you are not).
So, if I were to share any thoughts on your next step into solo-living arena, Marine, it would be this – find somewhere to root down where you can walk to most of your life’s necessities and pleasures. Especially given your love for travel and meeting new people, creating your new life that minimizes the whole LA car bubble thing can be a very exciting adventure and great for your spirit. Plus, your future dog will LOVE you when he/she knows that the dog park is just 2 blocks away…
QUENTIN: I’ve been living on own since I left home for college. I was first put in a triple dorm room at Berkeley and I was sleeping on the upper bunk. A semester later, I left the dorm room and found a room near campus by myself. It’s nice to live alone. Enjoy the place all by yourself, Anson! It’s totally fine to watch Breaking Bad all day… as long as you’re not breaking bad like cooking meth all day.
ALFREDO: Savor it! I went from home to college roommate to girlfriend to wife, with no solo time in between, and, well, let’s just put it this way: if I get the house to myself for three hours – no beloved children or spouse with me – I feel like I’m on holiday. It’s luxury, it’s heaven, it’s great (and an hour after that I begin to get antsy, wondering when they’ll be back).
PHILIP: Living solo is awesome. What better expression of freedom is there than to be able to crank up Led Zep really loud at 2AM and dance around in your underwear without having to worry about being “thoughtful” or “considerate” of other people’s feelings.
DHH: I lived alone for the first time in grad school, then when I moved to NYC to be a playwright. It’s a unique window in one’s life journey. Most likely, at some point, you’ll move in with a romantic partner, and perhaps even have kids, at which point privacy and solitude will become very rare. I think, especially for artists, the ability to be routinely alone can lead to deeper self-knowledge, and more opportunities to create work. Even watching Breaking Bad by yourself in your home is different than watching with other people around. So enjoy this window and its unique advantages — before you know it, you may have moved on to the next phase of your life.
ANDERSON: I lived in every living situation imaginable. Big places, tiny closets, roommates, and solo. Ultimately, I am all about living solo, because I agree with Phil. There is no need to be “considerate” to others when you’re at home, which is your sanctuary. Savor it!
IRIS: First off, I would never want to be Phil’s room-mate. Second, I lived alone after graduate school. I lived for a year in Japan as an exchange research student before I started working a “real” job, so it was a combination of living on my own and in a foreign country in a 6 mat (roughly 100 sq ft) apartment. People are very sociable in Tokyo and spend a lot of time hanging out after work/school, but still, I guess there were times when I felt lonely. Especially when I got sick, and I was sick a lot in Japan, not being used to foreign viruses and the population density of Tokyo. But once I got back to the U.S., I got used to living alone and it was hard to go back the other way. In general, I would say that you adapt to any living situation–people, space, location, etc. and though at first, you may miss some things, after a while you don’t really notice/remember when it was different.
EMMIE: There’s nothing wrong with cooking meth all day. I didn’t know Quentin was so conservative.
I lived alone briefly in college, and for short periods here and there during my adult life. Since I’ve always worked restaurant jobs or freelanced, even when I had roommates, I usually had the house to myself all day. This makes me feel like I’ve lived alone for many years (except for 6 pm everyday, when it’s time to un-trash the place).
I’ve learned that I love alone time – it’s my meditation/Jack Handey deep thoughts time – but I’ve also learned that too much time alone turns me into a social numbnut. I can barely carry on a normal conversation. There’s an Oatmeal cartoon that I can super relate to (the “Degradation of Social Skillz” section):
As for advice . . . just do whatever the heck you want, 24/7. You’ll have a great time. Also, if you have female guests over, clean the bathroom. Da ladies like clean bathrooms, and subsequently, males who have clean bathrooms. If you’re living alone, you can’t blame a messy WC on roommates. I say this not to lecture, but b/c I think it’s maybe a helpful tip. Have fun – and bon voyage on your trip!
BEVERLY: I echo Emmie. If you like da ladies, clean your bathroom. We judge whether we want your penis in us by how clean that area between the toilet seat and the toilet tank is. (For some strange reason, hairs of all pubic lengths, seem to just congregate there and you guys don’t seem to see it.)
I lived alone after one of the biggest break ups of my life. Lived in Silverlake overlooking the Silverlake reservoir in a studio for $510. (Unheard of price these days.) It was the best 2 years. It was one of those moments when you look around all 580 square feet and say, “All this is mine.”
Lots of lessons learned. I learned was that I was extremely loved. Almost all my belongings were given to me by a friend: my bed, my desk, my kitchen table, my baby futon sofa, my tv, my computer. The other thing I learned was that I shed a lot. All that hair on the ground is mine. Another thing I learned is that I absolutely loved the ‘open door’ policy where I wanted my friends and family to know that they could drop by at any time and crash. (With roommates that was hard, because you had to be respectful of their living space.) But I loved that people would use my pad as a commute stop to wait out traffic and we’d have dinner and/or drinks together.
I also learned that I loved my own company and that was invaluable.
One last thing: “it’s nice to have another heart beat in the house.” I got a fish. It was one of those siamese fighting fish. And when I came home, I swear it wagged its tail.