10 Lessons I Learned from Living Alone

Jordan Mendiola

Photo by Vinicius "amnx" Amano on Unsplash

Moving out from my parents’ home at 22 felt like a long-awaited change that I was looking forward to. I knew it would come with a lot more responsibility, but ultimately it’s what I wanted.

There are a lot of growing pains that come with the luxury of having your own place. You have to support yourself financially, emotionally, and maintain a sustainable lifestyle. 

Of all the things I learned along the way, here are ten that I think you might find useful too.

1. Plan Your Meals 

If you don’t have an idea of what you’re going to have for lunch or dinner, you’re going to end up spending way more money on takeout or delivery than you should. 

Sunday is a great day to plan the week ahead. I prefer cooking on Sundays because it allows me to “meal-prep” at least 5 meals for lunch at work (one per day). 

2. Maintain Cleanliness and Stay Organized

Living on your own means that you set your own standard. 

I’m not going to lie to you. For some time, I was drinking alcohol every night and failed to maintain order in my apartment. 

When my messy environment made me feel like a bum, I did everything I could to get reorganized and never let that happen again. A dirty environment can take years off your life and make you feel exhausted upon every arrival home. We don’t want that. 

3. It’s Nice to Enjoy Your Own Company from Time to Time

As an extrovert, I prefer being around people and interacting in some sort of social way. Interacting can be exhausting and you have to take time for yourself.

Living alone will illuminate your true colors in how you like to spend your free-time. 

For me, it was writing, playing video games, watching movies, and creating YouTube videos. Some days, I’d blast music and just relax however I’d like. 

4. Make Sure Your Home is Always Presentable in Case Guests Come Over

Making plans with friends and going out is fun and all, but some days you’re just exhausted and need to do something chill.

Having a presentable home will stop you from scrambling anytime someone is set to come over. It’ll make you feel better, and your guests. Take pride in your home and avoid saying “sorry it’s messy, but…”.

5. Always Have a Stocked Refrigerator and Pantry

You never know when you’re going to crave a snack or quick meal. It’s better to be stocked up rather than always needing to make grocery trip runs.

Some days, I cooked full-on meals, other days, I would whip up something quick like pasta or pot stickers. Only buy the food you’ll actually eat otherwise you’ll waste a lot of money and food. 

6. Stay in Touch With Your Friends and Family

It’s almost too easy to cut everyone else off when you live alone. You need personal time? You can go home and not answer to anyone. 

But that gets depressing after a while. One of my neighbors is home all day and I have never seen them interact with anyone else or bring someone over. 

No judgment if you want to just do you and leave everyone else out, but having your own place should open up more opportunities to spend time with people you care about, not the other way around.

7. Work from Home Isn’t Glorious by Yourself

Working from home while living on your own could mean waking up to yourself, working by yourself, and spending the night solo.

As an extrovert, solo work from home is boring, stale, and repetitive. I had to step outside of my comfort zone and get a job where I could interact with people otherwise I would drive myself crazy with boredom and isolation.

8. Develop Your Schedule or Routine

Figuring out your most optimal routine when living alone sets you up better for when you move in with a partner.

You don’t know what you want or need on a day-to-day basis unless you experiment with new things, run trials, and find the best fit for yourself.

9. There’s No Excuse Not to Exercise

24 hours are in the day. Living alone means you are the only person you need to take care of, so what better way to do it than working out? 

Carving out one or two hours at least 3–5 times a week is manageable and will make staggering improvements in your mental health. You have to relieve your stress and actively utilize your body if you want to live a happy and healthy lifestyle. 

10. Take it Day-by-Day

I currently live in a one-bedroom apartment, but one day I’d like to live in a two-three bedroom with more bells and whistles, a view, etc. 

You can’t be too hard on yourself. Focus on what is in your control like your mindset, your career, and your physical health. 

As long as those three are constantly being worked on, everything will eventually work itself out. 

Final Thought

Life is too short to stay under your parent's roof your entire life. It is hard to move out on your own, but it’s so worth it in the end.

I’ve evolved as an individual ever since I started being on my own. The lessons you learn alone are lessons you take with you into adulthood. 

We all run our own races, and if you move out and live on your own, you can always refer back to all the points I made here. 

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Creative entrepreneur, U.S. Army Engineer, and dedicated runner. Committed to sharing ideas that lead to more fulfillment in all areas of life. Email: mendiola1829@gmail.com

Chicago, IL

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