Without a doubt, moving to Baltimore by myself will likely prove to be the biggest life change I’ve made in a while. Graduating college and getting a job were big deals, but that’s 2010 news. It’s 2011 in America and things have just gotten very different.
I’ve been up in B-more for almost a month at this point (which, may I add, means that maintenance hasn’t managed to get here to fix my lights in almost a month). At this point, I think I’ve had a fair amount of time to assess the pros and cons of being on my own.
Forgoing a roommate is a pretty big lifestyle change, if for no other reason than the fact that you’re unlikely to ever have one again that isn’t a spouse. Think about it. The only time people talk about getting a roommate again is when they lose their job and can’t afford their own place. For me, this was both an appealing and a daunting change.
For those who know me, I’m pretty much a textbook introvert. I like a heaping serving of solitude, I lose myself in thought constantly, and I’m quickly exhausted by trying to please everybody when I’m in a group setting. At the same time, I also really like having people to talk to and go adventure with and I enjoy having someone around to sit down with and play some video games for no apparent reason.
Thus far, I’ve felt pretty much the way I expected about the changes associated with living alone. It’s surreal and not always pleasant to come home and know that no one else will be showing up. Sitting around and doing nothing suddenly seems a lot more reclusive and a lot less like two people doing their own things. On the other hand, I never feel like I’m being a downer when I want to sit down and read a book for a few hours instead of going out. Going to the gym becomes more of a personal journey than a lonely escape.
Then there’s the other things that I didn’t expect. Living alone, for example, is both a spark and a detriment to spontaneity. I’m much more likely to just hop up and take a stroll around the city or make an impromptu bike ride downtown. Conversely, there’s no one to propose a sudden late evening bike ride across town to check out something that’s going on, no one to suggest a slightly unnecessary trip to a store, and no one to suggest a run on a day when you were feeling extremely unmotivated. It’s this type of thing that isn’t apparent on a day to day basis, but you slowly realize that you miss.
In Home Alone terms, I’d say I’m about 70% eating ice cream and watching the Grinch and 30% hoping my family comes home for Christmas. On most days, it’s nice to operate on my own schedule without inconveniencing anyone else. Still, there are lots of times when it would be nice to hear someone else’s key in the door and know that you’d be on the verge of sharing some experiences.
In the end, I guess it’s all just part of growing up. I suppose I had a bit of a precursor to this whole thing during college. My junior year was definitely my funnest year, living in a house with 6 close friends who were always up for congregating to complain and study, dressing up in cutoffs and headbands, and most of all, down for an impromptu game of Super Smash Bros. My senior year, when I had a roommate who was rarely around, was my most productive year academically and the year where I got my shit together for getting a job. In other words, it was a progression towards being a real adult. Of course, no matter how grown I become (hopefully not very), I’ll always miss being able to set booby traps for an unsuspecting roommate.