What Happens When You Live Alone

I’ve lived alone for about six years now. And while the only problem with being independent is I have to do everything myself, for the most part, I love living alone.

In fact, I honestly don’t know if I could live with somebody again. I’ve been spoiled with endless opportunities to watch whatever I want on TV, not be grossed out by other people’s fingernail clippings in the bathroom and I can sprawl on my couch every night without judgment.

I get my couch. My couch gets me.

But there are a few misconceptions and/or disadvantages to living alone. For instance, it doesn’t mean I flit around the house naked. In fact, I still find myself wearing a towel when I go from the shower to my bedroom and once in awhile I instinctively shut the bathroom door when I pee.

Why? I have no idea.

And even though I know it’s ridiculous, I still instinctively peek around the shower curtain like I assume a crazed lunatic is in there checking his smartphone while he waits for me so he can attack.

More realistic but equally creepy is the fact that bugs are always my problem. I can’t freak out over a spider and delegate removal to anyone else, so either I “remedy” the situation or consider the arachnid to be my pet.


A new pet is not in the plans.

And bug relocation isn’t the only thing that won’t magically take care of itself or be done by somebody else.

That tiny twist tie that I dropped on the floor as I ran out to work in the morning is still there when I get home. No one has picked it up while I was gone and I can’t blame it on anyone else.

Trash can Jenga—the act of stacking up the trash as high as you can until something tips over instead of taking it out—is a game to be played only if you’re a) living with someone else who might break first or b) at the office. Much like the twist tie scenario above, the trash fairy does not come while I’m gone.*

*However, the trash man will come once a week, and if I don’t remember to put the big bin out the night before, it won’t magically roll itself out to the curb and will instead fester for another whole week.

Low battery smoke detector beeps are always mine to investigate, and I swear I could live in a house the size of a shoebox and it would still take me an hour to find which one it is.

*beep* Wander around the house looking for it until it beeps 60 seconds later, somewhere that I am not. *beep* Wander around the house looking for it until it beeps 60 seconds later, somewhere where I am not.

You get the picture.

Folding sheets becomes a matter of neatly folding the pillowcases and then taking the actual sheets, attempting to find the corners and align them to fold before haphazardly bunching them up and throwing them in the closet.

Of course there’s also the fear of choking and being found by an emergency crew bundled up in robe with a mouth full of hummus. I imagine it’s just a slow spiral of shame down from there.

It might even start that with the absence of a second opinion in my house, I find that I have a commentary on everything that I occasionally still say out loud. It’s like I always have an audience, and no sane person has as many conversations with inanimate objects as I do.

When putting out a new candle, I might opine to the television that, “Yes, I think that looks nice there,” or “Hmm, I should add paper towel to the grocery list I’ll forget to take with me tomorrow.”

I admit it’s a little weird to notice the self-speak going on, but on a positive note, at least I’m wonderfully supportive of myself.

After all, no one else can do it for me.

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30 responses to “What Happens When You Live Alone

  1. Ha, I loved this; funny and accurate! I found another upside to living alone is making me better at handling things I would have definitely pawned off on others if I could have, just like the bug scenario you mentioned — while having to handle that is a downside, learning I was able to was an upside. Plus, I realized there’s no guarantee whoever else living there would be willing and able to help — my old supervisor once told me her husband had refused to kill a bug for her. She was in the basement doing laundry and he didn’t feel like coming down there to help; she said it like it amused her, but I have to admit that would have annoyed me had I been her! But living alone means there’s no one to be mad at, except maybe myself if I let it get away, but that still won’t lead to a disagreement with anyone. 🙂 Anyway, great post!

    • Exactly. I think people who have never lived alone can’t truly appreciate knowing how to do super fun things like changing the furnace filter or folding sheets. 🙂

  2. I live single but not alone and I’m going to save the phrase “trash can Jenga” for the next time I want my youngest to take it out, probably right before I use my stand-by “what will you do for a Dr. Pepper” but at least I’ll be laughing instead of cursing that plastic pop-bottle that keeps rolling off the top of the garbage can.

  3. This is so incredibly accurate. I’ve lived alone for quite a few years now and all of this is so true. The one I can’t get over is the dishes. There are always so many dishes…

  4. Yes to the bugs thing. I no longer know if Kitty is playing with fuzz on the floor (from something she ripped apart) or a bug (that she killed but will not eat). Tricky. Lights are my friend.

  5. Plus, the sheer joy of being able to go to the bathroom knowing it will be vacant. No hopping about from foot to foot and/or squeezing those pelvic muscles. Bliss, just bliss.

  6. as long as you don’t hear someone answer you ,you will be fine

  7. When I was living alone, I found having a pet was a nice choice… not for the company, but as something to blame all the strange noises on.

  8. I have roommates and I still talk to inanimate objects or myself constantly.

  9. I don’t live alone, but for some reason, I am the only one who can hear water running around here, or faucets dripping. Really, what good is all this company if they make me think I’m going crazy because I’m hearing things? I could do crazy all by myself, thank you very much.

  10. I currently live with a wife and 4 kids, but on the off chance I am alone in the house I immediately go into home alone mode where I leave the bathroom door open, crank up the music or TV etc… Since I am already the one that deals with bugs and similar issues, nothing changes there. I could live alone quite easily except for dropping things and not being able to pick them up. (It’s usually a 50/50 proposition as to whether I can do it or not.)

  11. Um, I’m surrounded by people and critters and I still talk to my ‘stuff’ frequently enough that even my weirdo cats look at me like I’M the bizarre one. I’m not sure what that says about me…

  12. Don’t forget the fact that you can listen to whatever music you like, go to bed at an hour of your own choosing (to a silent house), and not worry that someone is judging you for how you are spending your computer time.

    It’s been a while since I lived alone…

  13. There is nothing wrong with talking to yourself. Now, when you ask yourself a question & then say, “What?” you might have a problem!!

  14. Multifarious Metamorphosing Amalgum

    An abundance of lols @ “Of course there’s also the fear of choking and being found by an emergency crew bundled up in robe with a mouth full of hummus. I imagine it’s just a slow spiral of shame down from there.”

  15. Is it wrong that I… don’t want to get married? Have a boyfriend? Live with my parents or a close friend? I just want to live by myself. By no means am I selfish or else I wouldn’t have paid close to 90 grand in tuition money to become a teacher. I just I don’t know. I’m a loner. I always have been even when I was young. Mostly all the time I’ve liked it that way. I find people when I need people to. I don’t know… Your blog helped me understand a little….(since I’m about to graduate and live in the world now) that it’s ok to be by yourself. 🙂

  16. I have tried explaining the ‘I talk to myself about pretty much everything’ phenomenon to my friends who live with other people and they NEVER get it. I challenge them to spend days at home alone and NOT have to the urge to speak out loud every now and again!

  17. Ahh haha! I live alone. For now, at least… and I absolutely spend every moment being naked and peeing with the door open. I think the Feyonce will appreciate one of these only.

    And I don’t worry about choking but I DO worry about tripping as I run/stumble my way down the stairs in the morning. I’m convinced I’m going to end up in a heap at the bottom, broken necked and using my mascara tears to write my goodbyes.

  18. I love my boyfriend and living with him is great, but I miss living by myself more often than you would think. My own space was so wonderful.

  19. I don’t live alone but that’s still exactly how I fold sheets. Amazingly my boyfriend seems to manage to be out every single time a sheet requires folding…

  20. I love the four women I live with but I’m jealous of your lifestyle…sometimes

  21. I’m the only female in a house with a husband and toddler underfoot. I love my guys fiercely but I miss my single days living alone and wish for a weekend of solitude.

    FWIW I do most of the household stuff myself anyway.

  22. Black bean murderers unite! Man, that cracked me up.

  23. always amusing. I suppose on your own you may become gradually odder, but you also have no one to criticise your behaviour. I don’t know if you visit my Blog anymore, but I thought I’d visit yours, as that is something you can do without invading privacy

  24. Well, I live with my husband but that post could have been written by me. He sees nothing – the jenga garbage, the twist tie on the floor, that we need paper towels – ha!

    But I am happy that you support yourself!

  25. This is the story of my life. I am moving in with my boyfriend in two months and I am not looking forward to:
    1. Someone changing the butt indentation on my couch… It has perfectly formed after 1.5 years of sitting in the same spot playing on my computer.
    2. Having to each shame french fries post work in my car so no one else realizes that I order them from Whataburger every. single.night.
    3. Cleaning the bathroom regularly.
    Here’s to solo life.

  26. I loved this! Bathrooms are a war zone when you room with someone. The worst is when both you and your roommate are testing each other’s tolerance levels regarding the steadily overflowing trash bag (miraculously enough, the trash still seems to fill up AFTER you tie it up with a dead-knot… Laziness kills me).

    I really envy people who live alone!

  27. My boyfriend and I are both chronically single people who somehow have managed to include each other in relationship-like activities now and again. We’ve both lived alone so long that when we travel together it’s always an huge adjustment that starts with “I’m going to put my clothes over here… you can put your there… and never will the two sets of clothes cross paths.”

    What I’ve learned is that I’m terribly messy (I actually already knew that), but I’m pretty normal and easy to digest otherwise. He, on the other hand, whispers while he’s in the bathroom. I don’t know if there’s a ghost in there with him, or if the voices in his head just require him to be quiet, but he whispers… and it worries me. Does he think I can’t hear him? Is he only whispering because I’m there? At home does he maybe yell in the bathroom? What is so exciting in there anyway?

    In other living-alone news, I accidentally painted my living room lime a few weeks ago because I didn’t have to ask permission to paint or collaborate on color… So, there’s that.

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