34 Roommates Later, I’m Going It Alone
I have two theories about how people can become more well-adjusted human beings. The first is that everyone should be required to work in the service industry for at least 6 months. Perhaps if all of our entitled and ambitious Millenials went to work serving in restaurants, waiting on retail customers, or cleaning up after people in any fashion we may be a more civilized nation on the whole.
My second theory is that everyone should live with at least 5 people before living solo or living exclusively with a romantic partner. Few experiences test our character more than sharing space with the same person day in and day out. I myself have lived under the same roof with 34 housemates in my nearly 28 years of life and what I know is living with others brings out the best and the worst of us.
Like many people, I have my horror stories– the time during my sophomore year in college my ‘best-friend’ and roommate packed up her things, abandoned our apartment while I was away, and left college without a word or even a note. Or, the roommate that was so dirty that not even moldy plates or 0 square footage of open floor space in her room would entice her to clean up. It was during those and so many other unpleasant, conflicted times when I had to dig deep and find strength as an adult and not a child. I learned how to share resources equitably, accept quirks, see someone else’s point of view, and negotiate time, money, and space. These are not skills one learns by reading a book or watching a documentary. They are worked out by trial and error.
For all the challenges of living with 34 different souls, I have found some of my closest friends and allies with whom I broke bread, laughed until it hurt, and shared a toilet seat. Every single one of my roommates in one way or another taught me how to see the humor in every-day moments, appreciate the diversity of life, and trust others.
This week, I am moving into my own apartment for the first time. My only roommate will be a furry little chocolate-colored rabbit named Lindy Hop. Living alone is a new frontier and I can’t help but wonder what will be the effect of coming home to only me and if I will be comfortable in that company.