5 Things I Have Learned in the First Few Weeks of Being on My Own

Some days you wake up ready to take on the world, you go through them as if nothing and no one can get in your way. You are on a mission, a quest to be your best self and prove to everyone that you are strong and independent and you can do anything. There are also some days where you wake up and just want to roll over and not ever leave your bed. You are helpless, you feel like you can’t do anything and who let you become an adult; like a real adult. Seriously who authorized me being an adult? I think a mistake was made, who do I talk to about that? There are ups and downs for sure and moving and being away from everything that you know can be very overwhelming. (I know; I have had a very overwhelming feeling for about three weeks now) I digress, though I don’t want to; I have learned quite a bit out here in the real world; well in a real enough world for now.

Here are five things that I have learned in my three weeks so far of being an actual real life adult:

  1. Apartments can be terrible.

The building I live in is super nice, like beyond nice; all the amenities that you could ever want, but it has of course it’s downfalls (doesn’t every place?) I love my apartment, it’s amazing I have a balcony, I have a nice 9-foot ceilings, (high ceilings for the win) and a tub that I could fit about three people in but there are still some things that I am adjusting to living in a shared communal type space. (I lived in an apartment in college but this is a very different experience.)

  • My neighbors.
    • Now don’t get me wrong, I knew what I was signing up for when I moved into an apartment. But I didn’t know that I was signing up for walls so thin I could almost see through them. My neighbors on the other side of my office like to blare their TV and have sing-a-long’s late on all sorts of nights. Normally that wouldn’t really bug me because, well, that’s why they invented headphones but there is a limit on how much I can take because I have work I want to get done on my computer and it’s very distracting when you can hear people through the wall. The girl who lives upstairs from me walks around like she is constantly angry; I mean the girl stomps all over her apartment and okay I understand, your floor is your floor but it is also my ceiling and I understand that in turn my floor is also someone else’s ceiling and I don’t want to be a terrible upstairs neighbor so I am tip-toeing around up here trying not to bother him.
  • Parking
    • Now MJ has a designated parking spot, it’s lovely and covered and I love it. There are however, not enough spaces in the parking lot for everyone who lives here, plus guests that come and spend the night or hang out with residences. So people park in parking spots that aren’t theirs or make up their own parking spots because there is nowhere else to park. This creates a difficult objective when I am trying to get my car in and out of my spot because someone is parked very close to my car in a spot that they have created for themselves. This all just seems to be poor planning on the part of the person or people who designed the complex.
  1. I don’t like being alone as much as I thought I did. (Or Solitude is not for everyone.)

If you know me in real life, (I am not as cool as I think I am so you aren’t missing much if you don’t actually know me) then you probably know how much I like to be alone. I am an introvert and I have no problem with being by myself most of the time. I can handle about an hour or two of large scale social interaction before I want to crawl out of my skin and leave, but living by myself 700 miles away from everything I know has been an adjustment. Granted it’s not like I will be permanently alone but for the moment I am and I am realizing that I don’t like the solitude as much as I thought I would. Sometimes you crave human connections and even if that is talking to someone at the check-out in the grocery store or smiling when someone is nice to you it’s still something that every human needs. I have found myself wanting to be in the sunshine more, I want to be outside; maybe not with people but somewhere green and inviting, still quiet, still solitary but also surrounded by things that are living. I got plants because I was going stir crazy, I have even named them because someone told me to talk to my plants and I figured a name would be nice too, if you want to see them you can on my Instagram. I desperately miss my pets, but I cannot feasibly have a dog yet even though I really want one to keep me company, sit on my lap and bark at the neighbor’s dogs; it would be grand.

  1. Get to know the area around you.

I am from a small town in Indiana, I moved to a slightly larger town in Arkansas, if you want to know where Wal-Mart’s headquarters is I could about throw a rock to it. I feel like I am living in the Wal-Mart capital of the world (I probably am) but I have been taking time to venture out and learn my surroundings. Even if that means taking a drive to the grocery store and taking a different way home, getting desperately lost, and having to beg Siri to get me home. That’s one thing that I cannot stress enough moving to a new place; learn your surroundings. If you like certain things see where they are, you like hot yoga find the nearest studio, you like fresh pressed juices find the nearest juice bar, you really like cultural events and museums find some locally. Do yourself a favor and find the things that you like; it will save your sanity in the end. If you like to be around a lot of people find places where you can do that or make friends with your neighbors. (Awkwardly my parents know all of my neighbors, I have met like one and a half of my neighbors.) Acclimate yourself to everything around you because unless you moved for a job or university there is a good chance you are going to be sticking around for a while.

  1. Find a routine that works for you.

When I get anxious I make lists, I organize to the point of disorganization, I get overwhelmed easily and I can make a mountain out of a mole hill rather easily. I spend a lot of my time full of anxiety for various reasons but I have found that I can make a routine that works for me and I don’t drive myself absolutely bonkers. I also write, I would like to publish eventually but I have found that allowing myself to write and to find time to do that helps with everything else around me. Not everyone wakes up at the crack of dawn and goes for a run. (If you do I admire your dedication.) Some people stay up late and play video games or make videos on the internet which I do, you can find that link here . Find something that helps you get out of bed in the morning or keeps your sanity because I can promise everyone who moves they experience that momentary panic of “what do I do now that I am living my life surrounded by boxes?” or my personal favorite, “Where is that thing that I need?” and in my case the answer many times has been, “Oh it’s still at my parent’s house in Indiana, great.” And I have to make another list of things that I still need.

  1. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Find things that you enjoy to do. Make yourself learn new things every day, give yourself new experiences whenever you can. Live the life that makes you look back one day and say “Wow, I did that. Look at all of the things that I did.” I don’t want to look back with regret for the what if’s, the why didn’t I’s, the where would I be today’s. I don’t want any of those things to haunt me somewhere down the line. Sometimes things get in the way of your plans, that’s life and sometimes it’s complicated and strange but it always finds a way of working itself out, everything comes out in the wash so to speak. Take time to make yourself happy before trying to make anyone else happy, because if you aren’t happy with your life and your choices than what is the point?

-MJ

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