22 is a complicated age. Some of us are getting married and having children, some of us still live off pocket money and live under mum’s roof, and others are still getting pissed every night with no idea what day it is. I have gone down the full-time job and living on my own route: I’m a full-blown adult but not quite ready for marriage and kids just yet…
As an introvert, having a peaceful and comfortable home environment is incredibly important to me and when that need isn’t fulfilled, it affects my mood significantly. Considering that we spend most of our time in our homes, it is so important that it is our safe place, somewhere where we feel content and at our happiest. Your home should not be the cause of your worry and stress. If it is, it is time you should consider moving out.
Having been to university, I know the drill when it comes to paying bills, setting up internet and a TV license etc. To be honest, it hasn’t been all that difficult. To my mum’s surprise, I’m even quite good at putting together flat packed furniture! But one question I get a lot is: “Don’t you get lonely?” My short answer is: absolutely not. I think loneliness is something that will put a lot of people off moving into their own place by themselves. People instead tend to move into a shared house, with their friends or with a boyfriend/girlfriend. But being able to be by myself and not feel lonely is something that I am very proud of and will forever value, because it means I am completely independent and don’t have to make decisions based on who will be there or not there.
There is a very distinct difference between being alone and feeling lonely. Someone can feel lonely even when they are surrounded by friends and family. Loneliness is a state of mind, regardless of the situation. Whereas being alone and happy simply means you can be by yourself and not feel lonely. If you feel lonely when you are in a house full with people, you will indefinitely feel alone when you are by yourself. The reason I knew that I would be more than okay living by myself was because I thrived whenever I was on my own.
“Loneliness is not defined by the amount of time we spend alone, but rather by how we feel about the time we spend alone. Feeling lonely can trigger feelings of being unloved or unlikeable, which can lead us to turn on ourselves.”
– Lena Firestone
If you feel lonely, it is important to think about why. Perhaps you haven’t properly checked in with your friends for a while, perhaps you haven’t even had a real conversation with your parents in a while, or perhaps the most people get out of you is a grunt or a mhmm. To tackle loneliness, you have to make real connections with people. I’m not even sure everyone is capable of this. Ensure that the people in your life add value, and connect with them on a deeper level than: “Yeah, let’s get drunk this weekend.” If you can make real and strong connections, you will never feel lonely. It is also important to remember that because feeling lonely is a state of mind, it’s temporary. It will only last as long as you allow it to.
The truth is, I love being by myself. I love being with my friends too, but if I’m on my own for a couple of days, I’m not exactly going to sit there and wallow in self-pity. Instead I’m going to make the most of it by doing exactly what I want to do and when I want to do it. I think that’s something a lot of people overlook when they think about being by themselves. YOU HAVE FREEDOM. Embrace it. If you want to stay in bed all day, you can do it. If you want to eat dinner at 3am, you can do it. If you want to walk around naked, you can do it. Living by yourself brings utmost simplicity in the sense that you don’t have to consider anyone else. It gives you the chance to be incredibly selfish – and that is absolutely what you should be doing when it comes to your wellbeing.
Mastering being alone is an attribute that can only serve you well, especially if you are still in your 20’s. It means that you can go off travelling by yourself or achieve what you want to achieve without your friends or family holding your hand. Being alone also improves relationships, believe it or not. Since living by myself, I’ve found that I make more time for my friends and family. I feel fully revamped from my time alone that I’m back in business when I’m around my friends. Introverts re-energise when they are alone, having down-time. Extroverts instead get a boost when they are around people and doing fun things. So perhaps being alone and introversion are linked. Who knows?!
One thing I do know is that I have 100% made the best decision of my life, aside from going to university. I have never been happier, and it’s all because I took a leap into the unknown and mastered the art of being alone.