What I Learned During My First Summer Living Alone

I have lived in Toronto for the past three years, attending Ryerson University as a student in the journalism program. I decided to opt out of living in residence when moving to Toronto, something that is quite foreign to many first year students. Instead, one of my good friends from high school moved here with me and she attends U of T. I guess we both got pretty lucky that it worked out this way, and we’ve been living together in the same condo ever since. Cassie is more like a sister to me than a friend now, which I feel very grateful for. Essentially, my point is that I took a more unconventional route when entering university. Most first years I knew were all about the party-life appeal that residence seemed to offer. To me, it screamed high school. I hated high school. But the good news is, I have absolutely loved university.

 

For the first two summers, Cassie and I both went back home to Niagara to work and stay with our families. After second year though, we had both decided it would be fun to spend our summer going into fourth year downtown instead of heading back home. I was ecstatic thinking about a summer in the city with my bestfriend and all the things we could do that we don’t get to do during the school year. I landed a job in the journalism office at Ryerson. My friend had gone to what seemed like a million interviews. Unfortunately, in the end, Cassie ended up having to head home again for the summer. For some reason when she told me I was filled with such disappointment and almost a feeling of angst. I’m here for the summer? Without her? All alone? How could this be!

 

For the past three years I was so used to her being around that even four months without living with her seemed like an eternity (for those of you reading who are close with your roomie, you know how it can feel like a committed relationship). It turns out, that a summer living alone was exactly what I needed. If you ever get the opportunity to live alone but the thought of it terrifies you, trust me when I say it can be one of the greatest teachers in your life, while you’re young.

 

Leaning on yourself is everything

 

I used to almost always lean on other important people in my life for everything. To the point where they were like my crutch. Of course, it’s absolutely essential to have a strong support system around you. We all need people to lean on in our lives when things get tough. However, when they become more like crutches so you can run from your own problems, that’s when it can get dangerous. Living on my own taught me to be more of my own best friend. When a problem came about, I didn’t have my parents or roommate right beside me to help me figure it out. This is called resilience. A life skill that is super important to carry into the future.

 

Liberating freedom

 

When you live alone, you can literally do anything you want, whenever you want. If you want to wake up at 6 am and open the blinds and do yoga in your living room you can do so without the fear that you’ll disturb anyone else. If you want to walk around naked for two hours (not saying I did…ok maybe) then girl, you CAN. You’re on your own agenda at all times and yes, that is LIBERATING.

 

Getting to know yourself better

 

Living alone this past summer helped me to develop a better sense of self love and relating to myself and than I have ever had. Without other distractions, I made habits out of writing in my journals and practicing gratitude. This also meant that when I came home conflicted about something, instead of gathering opinions from others, I really looked inwards to what I wanted or needed in that moment. This really helps to develop your intuition and self trust.

 

Realizing how truly capable you are

 

I now look in the mirror every morning and tell myself how much of a badass I am. Yup, I’m a freaking badass, and you are too. I truly believe that living alone really made me realize how true this is. Instead of having someone to do groceries with, cook with and clean with- you’re responsible for it all. Even on the days when these are the LAST things you want to put on your to do list- you do em’. I was amazed at how much I could actually get done in a day when I put my mind to it and just did it.

 

Opens up the gates of self-discovery and confidence

 

Living alone really provided me with the opportunity to dive deeper into my own journey of self-discovery. Instead of feeling like you need to attend social events or work around a roommate’s agenda if they want to go out, you can stay in and practice some self-care without potentially being called a grandma. I read and bought a ton of inspiring books that have helped to really open my eyes. Not only that, but this summer has really brought me further along in my spiritual journey. I have developed a sense of confidence that I never knew was missing.

 

I’m not saying you have to live alone forever, but if you ever get the chance to do it once in your 20’s. I highly recommend it.

 

-Alexia xo