Balcony view

Living alone: pretty great or pretty great?

One thing I really love about Torino is that rents here are low enough that I can afford to live by myself, in an apartment with an adorable tiny balcony.

Zero practical benefit but it's nice to say "I have a balcony".

Zero practical benefit but it’s nice to say “I have a balcony”.

Until I got a place by myself, I was vocal about not wanting to live by myself and turn into a hermit. But now I love my 1-person apartment. What changed my mind?

  1. Things stay where I put them. If I put the dishes away, they stay in the cupboard. If I leave the recycling bag next to the door so I remember to take it with me when I go out, no one helpfully puts it back where it belongs. I HAVE THE POWER OVER THE THINGS. (ahem)
  2. I can live in finely-tuned squalor. No housemates means no-one dirtying up things that I want clean or being horrified at things I leave dirty. Dishes? Get washed straight after meals, nothing gets left in the sink overnight. The bathroom? I would say “I mopped yesterday for the first time in ages and picked up hair that came from a friend who stayed a month ago”, but actually: 1. I didn’t mop so much as vaguely wipe a damp cloth around on the floor, and 2. the shocking thing wasn’t the month-old hair, it was the hair that came from a friend who stayed in the summer.
  3. I used to hate the idea of being sick while living alone, but I’ve gained a wealth of medical knowledge through “oh I bet this is a symptom that I’m about to die and no-one’s going to notice I’m gone for weeks”-googling. Pro tip: the (UK) NHS website is wonderfully non-alarmist. Is my little toe very bruised or did I stub it so hard as to break it? Other sites say, “It could be broken! Or maybe cancer! See a doctor!” The NHS says “well, if you’re really worried you could see a doctor, but what are they going to do, make you a tiny toe plaster cast? Let it rest; you’ll be fine. Have a cup of tea.”
  4. No queues for showers, toilets, washing machines, kitchen appliances, use of the living room. Why yes, I think I will have a shower while a load of washing is running and I’m using the oven. Actually, I won’t. It’s Italy, the wiring is notoriously bad, and I’m pretty sure washing machine+oven=blown fuse.
  5. SO IT TURNS OUT that “you’ll turn into a hermit!” is only true if you let it be. Everything else, about how nice it is to have control over the space around you, I would have guessed before I got my own place. But — this is a surprise to me — living alone made me more sociable. I can’t hide behind “I said ‘hi’ to my housemate, that’s enough human interaction for today, right?” When I go out with people, I’m not carefully rationing a store of energy for making more conversation when I get home. I can invite friends around without having to negotiate with other people who also want use of the living room. Not that I’ve become a social butterfly. I’m sitting here on a Sunday night wearing tracky dacks, eating crisps from the bag and updating my blog. But for an introverted bod like me, that’s exactly what I need to be doing so that I can go back out on a Monday morning and talk to people.
  6. And yeah, the balcony:


    Morning views have since been replaced by constant grey drizzle. Bah.


5 thoughts on “Living alone: pretty great or pretty great?

    1. Where's Zoe Now? Post author

      Probably! Though I’ve lived in a couple that worked really well and only split because of people moving out of town, and I do think a good share house is something everyone should experience at least once.


  1. Pingback: Notes from my extremely glamorous life: back to Italy | Where's Zoe now?

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