Moving Out and Living On Your Own

moving out and living on your own

A day or so after I decided on the theme for March–I read an article in the February 2013 issue of Marie Claire that caught my attention.

It was written by a young and witty woman named Lauren Mechling. In her article House Mate, she says,

“At 26, I moved into a typical Brooklyn apartment–two bedrooms connected by a windowless living room–with a good friend…When we signed the lease, my roommate was nursing a broken heart and wanted a fresh start. But a few months later, her ex started to appear with increasing frequency, lounging on the sofa and strumming a guitar in his pajamas. One afternoon, a month before our lease was up for renewal, she emailed me: ‘Will you be home tonight? I need to talk to you.'”

I’m pretty sure I know why the article caught my attention.

Maybe it’s because the same thing happened to me.

Well, almost.

“By the sixth roommate talk, I started to wonder if there was something wrong with me” she continues.

Yep.

Been there. Done that.

How many roommates did I lose because I was the last one to find a man?

Maybe you’re reading this and you’re tired of feeling lonely.

Tired of looking for yet another roommate.

Here’s my favorite quote from the article:

“This time, the idea of renting the room to another slew of female drifters seemed too bleak to bear. I’d wake up and the walls would seem to be falling in on me. I needed to move out in order to move on. After years of living with women on their way to committing, it was time for me to commit–to myself, and an apartment that I could call my own.”

I was so inspired by her article that I asked Lauren for an interview–and she said yes!

Below are three tips on moving out and living on your own!

“Was there a particular moment of epiphany or thought where you felt you needed to move out in order to move on?” I asked.

“I’d been happily living in the apartment for years. It wasn’t until after a very difficult break-up that I needed a change of scenery. I recall lying on top of my corduroy duvet cover, trying to concentrate on my novel while the sound of my roommate and her boyfriend’s voices filtered into the room. They were debating over what neighborhood to move to. Meanwhile, my bedroom light was all flickery and the closet door would no longer slide all the way shut. It seemed like a sign.”

“There are many girls, including myself, who have been the roommate left behind. What word of advice or encouragement would you give to the woman who feels alone?” I asked.

“First off, I’m sorry to hear that! Being left behind is doubly hard because a) you feel lousy about yourself, as if you lost some game you didn’t even realize that you were playing and b) you feel another layer of terrible for finding it hard to be doing jumping jacks of joy over somebody else’s good news. Yet it’s forgivable to be grumpy. Somebody close to you is moving on–quite literally. My advice to the woman who feels alone? Nurture your non-romantic relationships. Society places so much value on pairing off, but as I get older and now know what the inside of a marriage looks like, I realize what short shrift friendships get. They can be so complex, satisfying and life-enhancing. And the happier and sillier and richer your life is, the likelier you are to stumble upon the unexpected–be it a new-found passion for Norwegian indie rock or, um, other stuff. . .”

“For those who cannot afford to buy their own apartment, is there a next-best advice you can give to those who need help moving on with life?” I asked.

“Yeah–buying a place is SO NOT the solution (I didn’t get enough space in the article to get into what a financial disaster it all was). What really helped me feel better was to take ownership of my space and to be good to myself. So I’d say don’t be passive and let your surroundings get you down. A friend of mine is in a similar situation (living with a roommate, finding dating to be the pits) and said after reading my story she wants to get her own apartment. We talked about how she doesn’t have to go into debt. She can paint her room and treat herself to a few cute pieces of furniture. I’m also encouraging her to buy a puppy. But that might be because I wouldn’t mind having one to borrow.”

QUESTION: Whether you’re moving out of your parents home for the first or twentieth time, what scares you the most about living on your own?

Lauren MechlingLauren Mechling is an author and editor living in New York. You can read her blog here, and about her books here.

[Photo: pixieclipx, Creative Commons]

  • http://twitter.com/kpbback Krista Back

    Love this article!
    I have done the roommate left behind or moved away thing for years, and only 6 months ago at 27 did I finally decide living by myself was a better option! I am so glad I did! I got a puppy (ok a small horse since he is a Great Dane puppy), but I was able to find a great deal on a two bedroom, so now I have a place for people to crash or visit! I decorated how I wanted, and settled into a style that was all my own.. Including where the mail would go and how the kitchen was organized…and the fact that I never have to use the dishwasher, and I get to have a sponge for dishes and a sponge for the counter!… It has been a wonderful place to call my own safe space. Although, I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that I sometimes miss the late night random conversations with my girlfriends… But then I remember that I don’t have to fish someone else’s laundry out of the dryer! ;)
    ~K

  • http://www.devotionaldiva.com/ Renee Johnson Fisher

    Awesome, I’m so glad to hear it Krista. Living on your own can be lonely, but that’s what dogs (and I guess cats) are for :-)

  • abbysnews

    I absolutely love living on my own. I had issues with roommates too. Since they were all teachers, they wanted to do their own thing during the summer and leave me with roommates 1) I had never met and 2) Barely spoke any English. On top of that, they never cleaned, they made food that smelled up the entire apt, and they watched videos of sitcoms all the time that weren’t in English. Also, they didn’t get them on the lease, so I was responsible for collecting the rent and one time had to pay one of their portions because they didn’t get me the money in time. What’s crazy is I was good friends with these people, all Christians, lived with them in the dorms in college and were very close. I felt totally betrayed and hurt and decided after that to never ever have roommates again. And i’m glad I dont.

  • http://www.devotionaldiva.com/ Renee Johnson Fisher

    That’s awesome Abby. Yeah I’ve had a lot of bad roommates experiences, but that seems worse!!

  • abbysnews

    It was weird that they didn’t understand why that would bother me. It’s like, hello! :)