How to Live Alone

I'm pretty sure that one person can be an island. In fact, ahead of my moving out alone to a near-campus apartment, I was certain of it. I have never lived alone and so to avoid starving (or at least eating popcorn every night for dinner), I started to collect bits of advice and lessons on how to navigate this adventure.

1. Know that Ikea furniture is designed to infuriate you. Enlist help.

This desk was awful. It was screwed up.

As easy as it seems, there will inevitably be one screw that doesn't fit. So make sure you have real tools so that your hands don't go numb trying to use the Allen keys they provide. Also, bring duct tape. It fixes most hardware problems.

2. Get a good set of recipes. Make a weekly menu so that you eat real meals.

Eating real meals (via
Eating real meals (via

I learned this trick from a friend's parents. Their household plans out their weekly menu on the weekend. Yes, they actually plan out their whole week of meals. It was great for deciding which days I should visit for dinner. Plus, it's a much better strategy than throwing things into a pot and hoping for the best.

3. Watch Tanya Davis' “How To Be Alone”. It sounds sad but it's not.

I saw her a few years ago at a west-end poetry night and have loved her step-by-step take on how to be alone ever since. I have used this as a guide for my moving out. She has hilariously awkward poems up on her website too. Her poem on the oddities of meeting people at parties is great.

4. Leave your apartment once a day. Go outside and do something.

I stumbled across this in a Thought Catalog article this week on how to make it through your 20s: “If you’re feeling depressed and you’re not sure why, there’s a 70% chance you just need to leave your apartment and be social.” Truth. Also, someone called me a walking-talking version of Thought Catalog this week. I'm not really sure what they meant but chose to take it as a compliment.

5. “There is no insurmountable solitude.” You can do it!

This is a Pablo Neruda quote that a creative writing professor gave the class on slips of paper at the end of the course. I like it because it seems deep but I'll let you know if it's true. One woman I met last week told me she missed living on her own (she's a real adult and has just bought a house with her boyfriend) so I am cautiously optimistic about it all. I did spend one night in NYC alone, walking around the city and staying in restaurants for hours on end. It was likely the most exhilarating night of my life (and not something I told my parents about until afterwards). And if I can make it there, I can make it anywhere right? Well, I'll let you know.

- Kay

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