My family just left- It's the second sunday they've visited me in my new place. As soon as I lock my door and hear the sound of their footsteps fading away, I get a sense of sentimentality. The familiar voice and laughter of my parents are replaced by deafening silence. I am alone once again.
It has been a month since I moved into a 30sqm studio unit in Mandaluyong to live independently. That means I've moved out of my family's home in Marikina (where I've lived for 27 years) and said goodbye to waking up with food prepared on the table. A life where every move entails cost: monthly rent, food, electricity, cable, wifi and other expenses. A reality most people have been living in.
Budgeting. Admittedly I'm not good with budgeting. I'm an impulsive buyer. When I see something that I like, most likely I will buy it!
Maintaining a clean home. Doing household chores were never a part of my everyday before. Aside from being allergic to detergents, I'm also not the tidiest person on earth.
Sleeping alone. Having experience of sleep paralysis contributed in my fear of sleeping alone. For 27 years, my siblings and I have been sleeping in our parents' room even if we have our own rooms.
I try to document my first month of living alone thru writing on my journal and posting on IG stories. Here's a partial summary:
Week 1 - "I gotta start somewhere."
On the weekend that I moved in, I did a lot of actual cleaning and buying cleaning stuff. Couldn't make it without the extra help from Geoff, our houseboy Khoy, and my parents! Wow, I didn't realise how stressful it is to move things considering I only have a few things. 2 carpets, a double-size mattress, a secondhand tv, the Chungking Express poster I bought from HK, a narra stool & a wooden table from our house in Marikina, and a few clothes- these are my prized possessions for now. Everything's on the floor, no shelves yet. My only sources of light are these christmas lights from Singapore and a jar of scented candle from the house (AHHH I want to buy a lamp soon!) Couldn't stop thinking about the things I want to purchase to design my space! I have been itching to buy everything all at once but most my savings went to my rent's downpayment. No wifi and cable, not until next week. It's okay, I'm in the office during the day time anyway.
I wash my dishes everyday even though I am allergic to it (coz of skin asthma) but I have no choice but to do it. I play Too Young by Phoenix on Spotify as loudly as I can to get me in the groove.
My cousin ER, sleepsover for 3 days. I'm not even thinking of home. I'm just excited about the things I could do freely with my own space!
PS. My christmas lights sparked and stopped working. Now, I really NEED a lamp!
Week 2 - "I need to build a life around me."
My cable and wifi has been installed! Yey! Yet I still get bored sometimes just after minutes of browsing the channels and surfing the net. Why does it feel like I have a lot of time when I come home from work? Far from my everyday when I still live with my family, at the end of every work day, someone would ask "How was your day?" or it could be one of my siblings randomly storms my room (without knocking) para mangulit lang. Then the family would have dinner together. Now in this new life that I live in, I I don't know what to do with the luxury of time yet. Maybe I'm not used to being alone with my thoughts for this long. Then I catch myself again browsing my social media feeds for hours, repetitively. This is not healthy. I need to do something that involves a process. Earlier I saw a video of this vlogger who records himself making coffee, from boiling hot water and grinding the beans, up to sipping his cup of coffee --- AHA! This is the kind of process I need! So I go down to Starbucks right across the street, buy a pack of Dark Roast Espresso beans (Php400) and have it grind. This new routine of making my own coffee via french press has been meditative and satisfying. It's a good start!
711 has been my bestfriend for the past week. If I need anything instantly, I just go down and voila- instant coffee, microwavable dinner, toiletries, etc. Might have to change this lifestyle soon tho coz it could get pricey when I add all expenses together.
Finally, I have a lamp! Bought it from HMR Pioneer for only Php795. I am starting to fall in love with HMR (it's a surplus store where they sell furniture, electronics, clothes from the US with good deals!)
Sunday clean up (every other week). I couldn't do this alone yet. It's crazyyyy how 2-weeks worth of dust and falling hair could turn this haven into an almost unlivable den. Thankfully, I have Emelda who helps clean and organize my studio unit. It takes a diff set of skills to make a space feels like home.
Week 3 - Homesickness strikes!
I am having hard time getting some zzz every night because of this fear of sleeping alone. Maybe I should talk to a sleep doctor soon? Aside from that, I'm starting to feel the downside of living alone- homesickness. Not that I want to return to our house, but a lot of my thoughts are about realising how hard it is to live and pay for it. It then made me appreciate my parents even more. And bit embarrassed for the times when I was asking for more than what they can provide. This the part where in for me: being alone = lonely. (Aloneliness?? Lol) It has been raining for the past days and it's adding to my melancholy.
I channel my "aloneliness" energy to 10-minutes of yoga every morning. I subscribe to yogis on youtube like Yoga with Adriene, and cast it on my tv. Wow this is really working! I feel so energised and mindful of my mornings!
In an attempt to cheer me up, Geoff surprises me with flowers. So I repurpose the cookie jar (1 of 3 that I bought from Daiso <3 ) coz I don't have a vase. It's gloomy outside but these flowers are adding life to my space!
It's a sunday and my family came to visit! This will be a memorable night for me. I can't exactly express how I feel but there's a sense of happiness in sharing my home to them. At the same time a sense of sentimentality of them being in my home, but "home" without them living in it everyday. (Awww..) We order pizza and mojos from Shakeys and stays in until 11pm. Looks like they find my place cozy or maybe they just miss me (hoping it's both!) coz I miss them too. They just don't know it.
Week 4 - Getting the hang of it
For the past weeks, I've established some sort of a routine. I never thought I'd say this but having a routine kept my sanity! In the morning, I do yoga before making my breakfast and coffee, shower then off to work. At night, sometimes I pass by HMR to window-shop. Most days I come home without any purchase ;) When I come home to my place, I turn on the lamp and aircon, change to a comfy pambahay. When it gets lonely, I play some videos on youtube or watch the Asian Food Channel. During friday nights, I invite some friends over. On saturdays I come home to Marikina to bring my laundry. On sundays, I return to my condo in the afternoon. and my family visits for dinner.
(left to right) My brother goes to my condo to study. Watching Phoenix music videos the night before they perform in Manila.
My 4th year high school friends visits me on a friday.
Living alone has been both exciting and emotionally challenging so far. As much as I've learned to do a lot of things and learned about myself over the course of one month, I know that there are more that I have yet to discover on my own. Like how can I hang this bedsheet (that I bought from HMR) as a wall decor? Or how to cook the perfect steak in time for our anniversary dinner this coming wednesday? Or how to pay for my meralco and water bill? Etc. You know what? I won't worry to much anymore. I'm pretty sure I will figure it out... thru youtube or google. :p
This post was just an attempt to give you a glimpse of living alone for the first month was like for me. I'm sure you have more questions so feel free to ask below!