A Tribute to My Year Alone
If you were to ask me what year so far in my life changed me the most, I would say two actually stand out: first, freshman year of college, and second, the year I graduated, moved to a new city, and lived alone.
I graduated from college in May, and applied for jobs in two major cities: Charlotte, and Raleigh, NC. I had a few great offers, but chose the one that would allow me the highest opportunity for growth. I went one weekend in May and found an apartment that would change my life completely. I also adopted a Pomeranian puppy in the end of May, so I had a lot of change happening all at once.
During my year alone, I barely broke even making rent (it's expensive living in North Hills!) and getting paid and paying for a puppy's vet bills and surgeries and just being an adult. I never asked for help from anyone, though, and managed to save every week (which is my biggest piece of advice for everyone!), and I'm extremely proud of that.
I would never take this year back because it was the only year I've ever lived completely alone. I've always been with either multiple roommates or my parents in our family home, so I'm used to always having someone around. I remember thinking how I probably would not live completely alone again, so I made sure to savor every second. It honestly didn't feel difficult at the time but I had no idea how much was changing to make me who I am now.
If I had a bad day at work, I came home to myself and had a glass of red wine with myself and tried to train my puppy (who was the WORST puppy ever). I had to fall asleep with myself and cook for myself and read for myself and keep my place clean for myself. I learned that the career I chose was not the career for me, even though I gave it my all and really thought I'd be in that career for life. I learned that the boyfriend I had when I left college would actually make an amazing life partner and we grew into a mature, adult relationship that would stand through the stress of new careers and new cities. I learned that I thrive off being alone, and I love having a clean place (thanks for the neat freak gene, mom) to call my home. I learned that no matter how bad the puppy stage may be, your dog can be your best friend and the biggest comfort in the hardest of times. I learned that I am extremely cautious with my money and I find more excitement in a great deal than in an expensive item. I learned that my car would be replaced and I learned there's a reason for spending money on great insurance when your brand new car gets knifed. I learned cable is a waste of money and true friends will share their Hulu accounts with you.
Out of all the random things I learned from living alone for a year, three stand out the most:
1) "Wherever you go, there you are". If you are not content being completely alone with yourself, you cannot expect to ever be happy with another person.
2) It is completely okay to change career paths after 8 months. If you find yourself driving to work and hoping you get in a minor accident to prolong going to work, or if you're trying to be around people who have the flu in the winter because you'd rather be in the hospital than at work, you NEED to get out of that environment and find something new.
3) My family is everything. I am so incredibly lucky to have a family who supports me in everything I do, and if I ever needed help, I have it, no questions asked.