Living alone is no easy feat.
Since moving into my own place, I have:
- Taken half an hour to work out how to use the cooker (even with instructions from my brother)
- Taken an hour to work out how to switch the fridge on
- Cried, on average, at least once a day about how I miss my ex and wish he was still choosing to come with me
- Spent more money on alcohol than actual food
- Used a footrest to reach the fuse switch and used the step stool as a foot rest
And I’m still learning and adapting to living alone every single day. I still find it hard to believe that I finally have my own space. I have these moments of proudness – like when I set up the TV/internet all alone, or changed a whole bed set by myself (I have done this before, obviously, but this time it was extra hard because it’s a double and the quilt is so damn heavy). And in these moments I almost have to pinch myself.
How did I find the guts to do this alone?
Well, truth be told, I didn’t. The moment I saw my brother’s flat for the first time, I fell in love with it. I thought how perfect it would be for me and how it was just the right size. The first time my ex and I visited the flat, I thought about how perfect it would be for us. But when my brother chose to move out, I just couldn’t find the guts to move in myself.
I was petrified – but also kind of excited – of the idea of living alone and was convinced I could never afford it. So when my ex and I got back together and agreed to have a fresh new start, it felt like all my problems had answers. I could finally have my own space – well, with him – and move out of home. I could finally get on with the next part of my life. I was slightly sad I’d never get the chance to live alone entirely – just because I’d always wanted to nail that down and prove that I could – but the idea of waking up to the person I love every morning made it all worth it.
We went up to the flat, one day, when he had an interview in the area. Afterwards, we grabbed a vegan pizza from a takeaway and ate it on the floor of the flat talking about our future. It was like all of those movies when couples move into flats and have no furniture. They sit on the floor and eat. The mattress is shoved in a corner on the floor, with piles of DVD’s around them. It was all so romantic. It felt so right.
So, of course, when we broke up again, I was devastated. The future we had planned was gone in an instant and my whole world came crashing and tumbling down. At 28 years old, I was so ready to move out of home and become more independent and the idea of that not happening just made me feel like I was moving backwards. I was so angry at my ex boyfriend for taking that away from me; for not only breaking my heart but for taking away an entire future. Not just his future and our future but my future too.
But as time went on, I turned that anger into determination. I’d already told my brother we were moving in, so the flat was still available. I’d already gotten a job nearby, which meant I could commute from my home or from the flat. I just didn’t know if I could do it alone.
So I forced myself to. I didn’t want him to take away my future too. I didn’t want to move backwards and put my life on hold just because of him. I didn’t want to miss such an amazing opportunity. I wasn’t going to let him ruin my future as well as his.
And so I did it.
It may have happened bit by bit, but in between nursing a broken heart and beginning an entire new career, I moved to a whole new town and into my own place. Without him. Not alone, entirely, as I had family to help me. But I was the one who unpacked. I was the one who did the first big shop (even if it did consist of mostly alcohol). I was the one who sorted out all the bills. Who set up the internet and TV. Who sat in that living room, moments after my dad had left, alone and petrified about this journey ahead.
But I did it.
And I guess if he hadn’t come back into my life – ever so briefly – I would have never had the guts.
So thanks, to him, I guess.