Living on your Own

When I was in college, I badly wanted to live on my own. I used to think to myself that some day I’d have an apartment of my own, home decor my heart out, get a scooter to hang around and a puppy dog to share some love.

Well, most part of it did come true but it didn’t seem as fancy as I had dreamed of it to be.

Although this was always on my mind, I came to living on my own when I had been out of all options to stay in a hostel or a PG. I was staying in a PG, about 6kms from work. Initially, for few days, I had to take an uber to and fro. Later I got myself a scooter. But by the time I had developed some harmony with my room mate and the PG owners, they decided to move out.

It was sort-of a sudden decision that I took. There was this small building available next to office. I liked it the first time I saw it and decided to quickly move in.

When I discussed this with my mother, she also felt that it might be a good opportunity for me to learn how to be on my own. Though she has a hundred questions about my safety, she thought it would be best if I could figure out this for myself. My father was initially not sold on this. He thought I was taking on way too much. I did not really have any other option left so I went ahead with it.

At that time, I was not really prepared to live on my own. I was done with Hostels and PGs and so was sure that I wouldn’t want to explore those options anymore.

I had no furniture at the moment and this was a fresh apartment, completely unfurnished. I started out with buying a cot+bed, a dining table, a washing machine, a fridge and some kitchen equipment.

It did cost a bit but my very generous parents decided to chip in an help me. My mom came around to set up everything for me. Day 1 seemed like a dream come true.

Day 2, when my mom left, I seemed to be excited that I was going to be on this adventure all by myself. As soon as she left and I came back in I felt so so lost. I was sitting in this huge apartment all by myself. No one to talk to and nothing much to do. It hardly felt like my own space. Over the course of the next few days, this feeling kept coming back.

I struggled with almost everything. Cleaning the place, Cooking for myself and just giving myself company.

Slowly slowly, bit by bit I started figuring out things. How to pay bills, how to hire your maid, how to cook edible food?!

You know I used to always think that when I live alone, I’ll cook all sorts of fancy stuff for myself. But then I realised that everyday eating is not fancy. It is കഞ്ഞിയും പയറും. Biriyani happens only once in a while.

I had never never bought provisions before. I was so clueless going to the grocery store. I had no clue how to pick vegetables and how much I’d need. Initially, I used to stock so many vegetables enough for 4–5 people. Then I realised I don’t need so much. In place of picking 5 carrots, I started picking 1. Instead of going by weight, I started picking vegetables in a handful. Because that’s all I needed!

Ensuring that you feed yourself on time and that you feed yourself good healthy food is super important, btw. I hadn’t been eating properly and I got anaemic. I’d faint if I’d exert myself and that is definitely not a good place to be in.

I used to think that I’d roam around and see all the places. Go to fancy restaurants and chill. But honestly, in the last one year I’ve been on my own, the only fancy place I’ve gone to is the Lulu mall. I used to think that I’m someone who lovess travelling. But it really turns otherwise. I don’t travel at all and I don’t really feel frustrated about it.

I used to think that I am an extrovert. But it turns out I’m more of an introvert. I used to think that I’d have friends come over. But I found myself hesitate to let people in to my private space. And I wondered why. Because I had known myself to be a very public person and it suddenly felt weird. People asked me why I wouldn’t invite them over and I was genuinely wondering why I did not. Then I realised that I wouldn’t invite people over unless I had developed some level of comfort with them.

Taking care of myself and ensuring I was safe became my responsibility. All those things I used to ridicule my mom about — When she used to wonder if she locked the door, if she switched off the gas — I found myself doing these.

The earlier apartment I lived in had no security. It did not feel safe there. Every night I’d wonder if someone would come breaking in and what I’d do if something like this happened. I had emergency numbers stuck on my wall, right in front of myself. I’d read these numbers before I went to bed every night. You know, just in case I had to ring someone.

After 5 months, things started getting worse and I felt compelled to move into a more secure environment. I moved in to a Gated community and suddenly felt a lot more better. If you do decide to move in, please prioritise your safety. Go for a Gated community and ensure their security systems are good.

I’ve made so many mistakes! I’ve missed to pay few bills on time. The number of times I’ve burnt my hand and fingers have no bound. I’ve cooked so many terrible dishes and had to eat them all by myself, wondering why I never learned to cook properly when I had the chance 😛

But anyway, this was all so worth it. It took me time. About 8–9 months to get used to this thing. If you’ve ever gone to a hostel and felt lonely, this is going to be worse. The good thing though is that you will be forced to spend time with yourself. Get to know yourself better.

What do you really like to eat? What do you really like doing in your free time? How do you deal with problems? Do you really like spending a lot of time with people? What are the things that you think about? What are the things that worry you the most? How determined are you and how emotionally strong are you?

You will really be compelled to figure out more about you and like yourself a little more better. I’ve started to feel a balance and harmony now. This place sort of has begun to feel like home. It is still hard. But only sometimes. For most part, I’ve started liking my own company. Now the problem is that I want to be alone after few days with a lot of people. This is why I don’t really feel like having a flatmate either.

I’ve heard a lot of people say this. Once you get used to living on your own, you will really feel the need to spend time on your own. You might have people around but end of the day, you want to be by yourself.

Anyway! This is more like me scribbling down my thoughts. I think my final take on this is that it is a lot of responsibility and it takes time to grow into this responsible independent person, but I like it. It is challenging on all fronts and some days you just wish there was someone to take care of you (this is that part where you’ll realise your mom was awesome) but you get out of your bed, make yourself tea and get on with your life.

Update: Adding some pictures that quite accurately captures my life alone.

Getting used to yourself and also starting to think it feels fun

Decorating your house and showing it off

Fighting Pigeons and Losing to them

Waking up to this because you were too lazy to wash em last night

Realising how messy you really are and cleaning the mess you create (That’s right. The maid did not show up)

Attempting to cook for yourself and burning your hands pretty bad

And eventually getting good at pleasing your mom with your culinary skills

You get the hang of it right?

Thanks for reading!

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