Living on your own could not be as tough as people make it out to be. Or so I thought.
When I left college, I was bubbling with enthusiasm at the prospect of living away from home, and looking forward to the “freedom” it had to offer. 2 years and 2 cities hence, I probably would want to tone it down. Not that it has been bad. In fact, these have been one of the most wonderful years, and am still looking forward to more. I see myself as single and gay ( as in Happy, in case you thought otherwise!!) for a few more years to come.
But to put things in perspective, I suppose, the lack of anticipation of issues, one faces living alone, is what makes your stay a trifle more “on the edge”!
Of course, one could argue, what can possibly go wrong if you’ve been through 2 well-paying jobs, and stayed in good metros.
Well, all that aside, I can now vouch for the fact that living alone is not all that easy. A few reasons:
# Support System : If you do not have a good support structure around you, even the most unemotional of persons would find it hard to stay alone. Those are the times when you actually realise the importance of family, friends and the like.
# Health : Taking care of yourself, going to the doctor even when you are sick, and getting your medicines, can be quite an experience. Taking precautions with food – being a food junkie, thats the part I have found most difficult. I for one, have vowed, never to have Domino’s ever again! Of course, the flip side – I could have an entire pizza for myself without having to share with anybody!
# Finances : Being able to stay afloat for the entire month (what with the bills, house rents, loans, etc), and yet save for a rainy day, can give you good lessons in Financial management. I for one, am always getting drenched!
# Daily chores : Dealing with the maid (that too in her language, if its an alien place), bargaining on the money, matching your schedule to hers, etc. can make you a master in Human Resources. Of course, add a few courses on negotiating tactics, learning a foreign language, and a little bit of operations too –
– Getting vegetables has been the most difficult task. Still find it baffling when moms filter through vegetables to select them – never got down to understanding the science behind it, but i do it nevertheless, putting on a “been-there-bought-that” kind of an expression – defence tactics to avoid getting conned by the vendor.
– Cooking has been the next biggest task I have learnt – never again will I tell my mother that salt was less in sambhar! I now know what it feels like to listen to that, and worse, taste your own salt-less food!!
# Making friends : In big cities such as Noida and Mumbai, making friends can be quite a challenge, and especially for guys who are not much of extroverts. Time, work pressure, distance, all tend to act against you. Well, after having spent years in college with wonderful people, making new ones can become quite an onerous task.
There could be lots more, but having said all this, I feel that living alone has made me a better human being – slightly better!! In the midst of a discussion, a friend had told me that marooned in an island alone is the worst thing to happen to anybody. And I had said that marooned in a city with unknown people is even worse. Lack of known faces, lack of a room other than yours’ where you can just go and hang your boots, can give you some tough lessons in life.
You may not be completely confident of yourself. But you certainly realise, that it is the person who hangs in there, with all the rantings of the landlord, the unwashed clothes, the rotten tomatoes, the lonely nights with only the rotating fan to give you company, who actually finds answers to many questions life has to offer.
The essence of living alone is not freedom, but the responsibilites it gives you – to one’s own self.