Kevin McCallister was on the money when he threw that infamous temper tantrum back in 1990 (I know you just did the math, yes, it’s almost been 25 years). Growing up I had heard people say that you should live alone one time in your life. Naturally I shrugged that bit of advice right off. I mean seriously, back in high school I couldn’t imagine even having the opportunity to live alone. At 16 I had my life planned out and on my timeline there was no room for living alone.
In my 11th grade psychology class we had to make a portfolio (Thanks Mrs. Spry, I still have mine!) and in that portfolio I had to write about where my life would be in 5 years, when I was 23. According to my 11th grade portfolio I would be finished with my bachelors degree and either in law school or married and planning to have kids, oh and “hopefully not driving the tan van anymore.” My 11th grade portfolio gives new meaning to the phrase if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. Two outta four ain’t bad I guess, by the time I was 23 I had a bachelor’s degree and was driving my yellow VW Beetle. Law school and married, not so much.
After be-bopping back and forth between Maryland and Key West for a few years I settled back in Key West and in April of 2013 I moved into the Girl Cave. Living in the Girl Cave popped a few of my cherries: I had never lived alone before OR south of White Street; White Street being the unofficial division between old town and mid-town to Key West locals. I’m not going to sugar coat it, rent is expensive in Key West, especially for a livable one bedroom apartment in Old Town. To me, living in Old Town, is a quality of life investment. So for $1250 a month I get this little slice of paradise:
- You can walk everywhere, including Don’s, Dion’s and Bare Assets if that’s your thing.
- Walking in Old Town is always exciting, I always find something new. Look for the dinosaur tracks on Angel Street.
- Pocket parks galore! Key West has this thing called a “pocket park” which is a small plot of land that the City of Key West converted into a neighborhood park. The Grinnell Street Pocket Park, located on the corner of Angela and Grinnell Streets, is my favorite and daily stop on my walks with my pup Skyy. Be sure to bring a few dog treats, it’s a popular hangout for dogs in the hood.
- The smell. No joke, in the mornings the floral scent is so strong you can’t help but smile.
- Everyone knows your name. And if they don’t they smile and say hello.
- The Southernmost Coffee Bar. If you haven’t been there yet #getwiththegets. Their cold brew coffee is the best thing since sliced bread and everyone is so friendly. Did I mention the coffee ice cubes? Yet another great way to start my day. Click here for more of my favorite breakfast spots around the island.
- The delivery options. Oh, the food delivery options.
- Great for pre-gaming or a common meeting place before heading out for the day or evening
Now let’s talk about why living alone is awesome:
- No one to judge you. Go ahead, get stupid and make a fool of yourself, there’s no one to remind you of it the next day.
- Naked time. Everyone wants it, few can have it. When you have roommates, spouses, kids, etc. you never get to be naked alone.
- You can buy and cook whatever you want.
- You don’t have to be quiet and if you want to make mashed potatoes at 11:30pm that’s ok.
- No checking in. You don’t have to tell anyone what you are doing or when you will be home.
- No checking out. You know what I mean. That awkward moment when you are leaving the house and mentally preparing yourself for if you are going to tell your roommate who is sitting on the couch where you are going. On one hand you are saying to yourself who cares, I’m an adult, I don’t need to tell people what I’m doing. Then on the other hand you’re all like, but I don’t want to be rude. Total mind trip.
- You can clip your toenails, wear a pore cleansing face mask and poop at the same time and no one will ever know.
- You can turn on whatever lights you want at whatever time you want.
- Your house, your DVR, your iPod, your rules.
I mean up until a few years ago the only downside of living single in the 2000’s was there wasn’t anyone to call your phone when you misplaced it. Unless you were at your parents or grandparents house you were screwed because let’s face it, they are the only people who still have landlines. Then, in October 2011 the Apple introduced the Find My iPhone app and the living single community rejoiced. If you’ve got a problem yo they’ll solve it, check out the hook while Apple resolves it.
Sounds pretty good right? Well wait, it gets better. Here’s the real reason why living alone is awesome: it gives you time. Time to think and figure things out; important things like what makes you happy and what your goals are. It gives you time to figure out who you are and what you expect out of life. If you only ask yourself one question today let it be this one; what do you want out of life? It’s not enough to say you want to be happy. Duh, everyone wants to be happy. Be specific.
In the words of Dr. Phil “Have a plan, don’t just wake up every day and say ‘we’ll see what happens.'” If you don’t have a plan to get from where you are to where you want to be you have a dream. You have a dream because you don’t have a timeline. A dream is just that, they don’t happen. The difference between a dream and a goal is a timeline.”
I understand that not everyone’s path will allow for living alone but even if you don’t live alone, spend sometime alone and ask yourself the big questions. What really does make you happy? What are your goals? Figure out a plan of attack and make it happen. After all, if you don’t take the time to figure out what’s important to you how why should others?
So after 13.5 (exactly!) months of riding solo I’ve learned a ton about myself. The most important thing I realized is that I do my best work when I am helping or serving others. Being able to help someone else, even if it’s just with directions, makes my day better. I also learned that I have good ideas and need to be a better advocate for myself. I’m financially irresponsible but have memories you can’t put a price tag on. I am independent, sometimes to my detriment. I give pretty good advice and hate doing dishes. I cry a lot but laugh even more and I am a good person.