Remember when you were eight, and that magical day came when your parents let you move out of the room you shared with your sibling into your very own space?
This was the space where you could place all of your swimming trophies on a single shelf, without having to carefully segregate your accomplishments from your sister’s. This was the room where you could make sure to keep your boxed Little House on the Prairie anthology completely isolated and away from your sister’s dog-eared copy of Lois Lowey’s The Giver, which you always thought was over-rated in comparison to classic Laura Ingalls Wilder. This was the space you had all to yourself—where you hung your Hanson poster, occasionally lit votive candles, and listened to whatever pop CD you wanted to.
Alas, this mythical space never existed for eight-year old me—or for eighteen-year old me, for that matter. Until I left home, I shared a room with my sister. Then I moved to TU and shared a 10x10 cube with my dear ex-roomie Lauren Ross. As an upperclassman, I guess I technically had my own room…in a three bedroom apartment that I shared with Jess and Lindsay and then Jess, Melissa, and Diane. Even in Ghana, I shared a tiny room with my Ghanaian roomie, Joyce (Aduwa).
The point is, I’ve never lived completely on my own—which was the most terrifying prospect of living in Korea for me. You see, for as much as I think about how awesome it would have been to rock out to Backstreets Boys on my own time and stare into Taylor Hanson’s dreamy eyes for hours, I really, really like having other people around—I love sharing my space with someone. It’s all I’ve ever known, after all. Call me immature, but I guess I’ve never seen the logic in not having people you love under the same roof as yourself.
Well, I’m coming up on a month here (gasp), and I still don’t want to kill myself yet. In fact, there are many things I like about living by myself. Some things I’ve realized:
1) I can prepare whatever food I want without offending anyone. Bring on the smelly cabbage and bok choy.
2) I can eat whatever food I want using whatever utensil I want. If I am too cheap to buy spoons, I can just eat my cereal with a fork and no one will care.
3) I can buy one bowl. And it is enough.
4) I can be as miserly with the air conditioning as I want, letting it get uncomfortably hot but positively basking in the idea of my low, low utility bill.
5) If it is too hot, I can just walk around in my bathing suit/underwear and not offend anyone. Problem solved.
6) I can snack all day long on whatever—old coleslaw, boiled potatoes, leftover noodles—whenever. I can eat nuclear hot kimchee at nine o’clock in the morning. And no one will think I’m glutinous or weird.
7) I can watch trashy television—and believe me, only the trashiest American television makes it over here—and not have to justify it to anyone.
8) I can leave things lying around and not feel obligated to pick them up.
9) I can waste an entire morning streaming episode after episode of “The Colbert Report” in a row, and no one will ever know how lazy and unproductive I was.
10) Contrarily, I can also stream aerobic exercise classes on my computer and jump around my room like a fool for half an hour.
There are also, of course, things that positively suck about living alone.
1) If I wake up in the middle of the night and am freaked out, I can’t repetitively say “Charlotte?” or “Lauren?” at increasingly louder volumes until Charlotte/Lauren wakes up and convinces me that Samara from “The Ring” isn’t going to crawl out of the TV.
2) Incessant snacking on coleslaw/potatoes/kimchee at nine o’ clock in the morning leads to bloating/discomfort/regret.
3) I’ve realized leaving your stuff everywhere ≠ no cleaning whatsoever. Dishes still must be done, toilets scrubbed, laundry washed.
4) I can go for HOURS without speaking to a single soul—mostly a blessing after talking my head off at work, but kind of a curse, too.
5) I have no one to keep me productive—Colbert wouldn’t be on as long if I had to justify my binging to someone.
6) I have to continually entertain myself—Melissa and Jess and Diane aren’t around to distract me with puzzles/Britney Spears on the stereo/random Betty Crocker brownie making parties.
Not to worry you all. It’s not like my apartment is a solitary confinement cell—I have people dropping by pretty much everyday, forcing me to keep things neat and orderly (ish). Even if I had no friends or study buddies, I would clean the toilet every week and do the dishes every day—I LOATHE dirty bathrooms and crusty pans hanging out on the stove. Only time will tell if the single-living lifestyle is truly for me…for now, I’m thinking constantly having friends around > eating in front of the TV in your underwear, alone with Stephen Colbert. Any day.