Go ahead. Hang that old photograph of your friends on the wall of your choosing, and move the furniture wherever you want. And while you’re at it, play the song that’s been running through your head for days and flip the TV to whatever channel has your favorite show.

You’re alone. And that’s a perfectly acceptable way of living. Whether you’re in the midst of a major life transition to a new city where you don’t know a soul or you’re simply ready to discover your independence, living alone can be a learning experience of liberation.

There’s no need to compromise on how you’re going to split the bills or decide who gets the bigger bedroom. This space is yours, and it’s up to you to do a lot of things. Some will be fun and others won’t be, but this experience is probably going to change you. Here’s some advice:

Stay open to the world

When you live alone, it’s not uncommon for you to avoid human interaction for intervals of time. You might not do it on purpose, but the nature of your situation means there’s no one to come home to and immediately tell about your day (and no one to tell you that the dishes need washing!).

As much as you might like being by yourself, don’t get shut into your own world. Entertain your friends and family from time to time. They’ll want to check up on you, and you need a little human interaction to break up your streak of talking only to yourself.

Focus on what you love about living alone

There are days when it will be hard. A long day that could be followed by a vent session to your roommates is a thing of the past. Things around your place will break and you’ll have no idea how to fix them.

But there will also be days when you can unwind and enjoy your own presence. Instead of focusing on what you don’t like about living alone, focus on what you do like about it. If you’re feeling lonely, try to recognize why and combat the issue.

No one else is around to eat that box of pasta, and the milk won’t mysteriously disappear in the fridge. Maybe you want to read a book with some peace and quiet. Don’t fall victim to feelings of disappointment or regret — the choice to enjoy this time is yours to make.

You will learn

You’ll learn how to fix that broken doorknob when no one else is around to help. You’ll learn to become a budget master and maybe even a bargain hunter. You’ll learn a lot of things about your capabilities and instincts. When you’re free from the distractions of roommates, you’re more free to think on your own and develop your own opinions and behaviors. Yes, it can be scary when you hear that noise in the hallway in the middle of the night, but think of it as building your strength and character.

You’re capable of a lot more than you think, and living alone makes you realize your independence. Sure, it can be expensive when the bills aren’t cut in half, but the experience is priceless. Don’t be timid — you’ve got this!

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