Before moving to London, my only experience of living with strangers was in my first year of university, and it wasn’t a pleasant experience.
Before my move to London in August this year, I had been living alone.
I loved living alone.
The space that was totally my own.
The chance to be ‘selfish’ – as in, to do what I wanted, at whatever time I wanted.
Not having to run plans past anyone.
Not having to share any rooms or cooking equipment.
Not having to think twice about having friends over.
Being able to wander round the house or cook or shower at all times, on those nights I can’t sleep.
Can you tell I miss it?
I absolutely loved living on my own.
However, that’s just not an option now I’m in London.
And don’t get me wrong, my living situation could be much worse than it is.
My room is big, my rent is reasonable (BY LONDON STANDARDS), and the other people in the house are friendly. I’m also the only one who uses the downstairs bathroom and shower.
It could definitely be a lot worse.
But it still doesn’t make it easy.
Transitioning into a shared house after the freedom of living alone is a tricky experience.
I’m someone that over-thinks everything, which includes worrying about what other people think of me. This has led to so much tiptoeing around, desperately making sure I don’t do anything to annoy the people I live with.
Although this is self-inflicted – it’s ME that is choosing to be that way – it’s pretty exhausting.
And it means I never truly switch off and relax.
I also have to let my landlady know when people are staying. Which isn’t a huge issue, but again it’s just not something I’ve had to do before. It feels odd to arrange for my friend to come down to London for the weekend, then send a message saying ‘Just letting you know my friend from home is coming to stay for a night’.
I also get very worked up about things that could be very easily solved.
One particular issue is people talking loudly outside my door. My room is downstairs, and by the front door, so anyone coming in or out of the house tends to have their first or final conversation outside my door. When I’m trying to drift off to sleep, those noises can be loud.
Yes, I could pop my head out and say I’m trying to sleep.
But I’m cosy in bed in my PJs and don’t want to move.
And also, back to the original point: I don’t want to annoy anyone.
There are lots of little niggles like this one.
As I said, I know people have it far worse.
But I do have a tendency to get really hung up on things, so the little things feel quite huge.
And I then don’t raise them with anyone because I know I sound a bit silly!
I guess what I’m trying to say is that the main problem with my sharing a house with strangers is ME.
Yes, other people do annoying things, and it was always going to be hard moving from the total independence of living alone to sharing (including with a live-in landlady), but a lot of the issues are a product of my own brain.
I’m the one over-thinking.
I’m the one choosing to sit and stew over the little niggles and teething problems.
And I’m the one worrying that closing my door making the tiniest of noises will suddenly make the whole house hate me!
It’s my mindset that needs to be the first thing to change.
It just might take a little time.
And, of course, I can’t wait until the time where I no longer need to house-share with strangers! London, if you could just pop a really affordable flat near work for me, that would be FAB.