This is a guest post by Bob Hartzell. If you'd like to guest post on this blog, click here.
In one of Charles Dickens’ novels, the children in the family that is central to the plot are described as “tumbling up,” not merely growing up.
I’m inclined to think that the tumbling process doesn’t stop when we become adults; there are always going to be events and consequences that set us to tumbling, or spinning, or leave us clueless about how to handle them.
When I was first divorced my newly minted ex commented that I didn’t know how to live alone, that I’d never done it before. She was right. In the intervening years I have rarely lived alone but today find myself doing just that, engaged in finding adjustments that make the solitary homestead a comfortable one. Here are a few that I’ve found have contributed to that sense of well being we all seek when we close the front door behind us.
The essential element to all of these suggestions is learning to do the things that used to be done for you. If you fold those tasks into your daily regimen, before too long your daily routine will incorporate the homemaking chores that were not part of your life when you lived in a household with others.
Transitioning to Living Alone
1. Take Responsibility for Managing your Finances
If budgets and bills weren’t your responsibility before, they are now. You can’t let the fear of new assignments, especially this one, keep you from tackling them head on. The best way to avoid financial panic is to plan your expenditures, line them up with your income in such a fashion that you’re meeting everybody’s expectations, including your own. You’ll find that tracking your costs and resources is a lot simpler than that pile of bills makes it look.
2. Take Pride in Cooking for Yourself
If you’re not accustomed to cooking, invest in some of the simple cooking devices available today so that you can prepare basic meals. It’s going to seem like a lot of effort expended for a basic meal, but it’s going to make you feel a lot better than something that came out of a paper bag or styrofoam container. It’s not just the quality of the food; it’s the ritual of preparing it that adds to your sense of place. Transitioning to living alone can certainly be a challenge with your diet.
3. Take Charge of your Automotive Maintenance
Don’t let automotive maintenance scare you. Take the time to learn what the basics are – changing oil, yearly inspections, renewing registration. They are all mindless chores after you’ve done it once and they don’t require dropping off your car and leaving it. If you’re concerned about your ability to deal with car problems, make sure you have the resources for an emergency: phone numbers to call for a jump start or a tow into the shop. You don’t have to know how to fix it; you just have to know who can.
4. Stay on Top of your House Cleaning
If someone else has been doing the housecleaning you’re going to become a scrub artist, like it or not. As with most chores, the key to keeping housecleaning manageable is to stay on top of it – if you do it frequently they will be relatively brief and painless tasks. You don’t have to do it all at once; one day for vacuuming and another day for bathrooms, a third day for dusting or windows. It’s your home, you can do it on your own schedule but you can’t ignore it.
5. Foster your Friendships
Fold some contact with friends into every day. If you’re struggling with transitioning to living alone, make it a point to have a cup of coffee or a long phone call with someone whose friendship you value. You can’t fill that hole that’s left when you have no life partner, but you can knock the rough edges off by keeping the affection for and from others in active mode during your daily activities.
This guest article was written by Bob Hartzell has been writing for five years about education and other life essentials on a variety of websites. Much of his recent work has been about online master’s degrees and their value in career enhancement, in recognition of the fact that the job market has gone completely off the tracks in the last decade.