Tuesday, September 25

365 Days (my story of starting over)

Warning - marathon post ahead! I don't usually post personal stuff on Gloss but I thought this scribble might resonate with someone who may be in a similar situation to the one I found myself in a year ago. If you fancy reading it, grab a Red Bull now! 

This time last year, I moved out of the flat that I had shared with my husband. It was a seriously sad season of my life. I moved out with a suitcase of clothes and a few boxes of records, books, thrifted cameras and ornaments. I had no furniture or appliances. Also, I had never lived alone before.

I didn’t have a good feeling about the first flat I moved into. It was dark, empty and I never felt safe there. After two weeks of sleepless nights, I realized it was infested with termites! Charming little suckers they are.

I remember packing up my stuff again and thinking, "I wish it could just be a year from now."

Fortunately, my parents invited me to stay with them while I looked for a new flat. After two weeks, the search was getting dismal. I didn’t have a lot for rent but I prayed that the right spot would come along. Then one day, I logged onto Gumtree and a new flat appeared. It was newly renovated, beautifully furnished and in a road I had always wanted to live in. I was the first person to view it and my landlord offered it to me right away! I’m still living here and I love my little flat. It has a white, wooden roof, dusky lavender walls and a view of gently-swaying trees. We were meant to be together.

While I was relieved to have found a home, I envisioned myself being perpetually broke and living on beans on toast. Nadia said, “Lauren, if your survival depends on it, you will find a way to make enough money.” She was right. I worked hard and in addition to my day job (which is a two minute drive from my flat) I  freelanced for magazines, newspapers and a bunch of creative businesses.

For my birthday last year, my friends both here and abroad, all chipped in and surprised me with a pile of gifts including appliances, cutlery and...wine! I was so moved, I burst into tears in the middle of a crowded bar - lols. And as time went by, I kitted out my little flat with thrifted bits and pieces.

I didn’t have TV or internet for most of the year so…I read. A lot. I would climb into bed and read about everything from relationships to nutrition to psychology. If anything, I'm alot more knowledgeable than I was a year ago! I also wrote alot. I started writing even more when someone pointed out that I seemed to have alot of breakthroughs when I write.

Before I moved out, my friends said, “Lauren, you will learn so much about yourself when you live alone.” I couldn't imagine what all these learnings would be. I thought I knew myself pretty well. Ha! Well, when you have most nights to yourself, you get to thinking. You take many walks down memory lane and examine all the decisions and choices you've made. I feel like there were certain lessons I was meant to learn in my twenties and most of them were crammed into my 29th year! It has been a time of epic personal growth. 

I know some people love living alone and could happily go a month without seeing another soul but me…I’m still getting the hang of it. I've always been pretty independent but I miss coming home to a hug on a bad day.  I'm sure you girls can relate to that. Hugs and having someone to fix your kitchen lights. Ha. 

And there have been sad days. Nads slept over when I was feeling particularly anxious. My mom whatsapped me about a hundred cute dog pictures. Candi took me down the South Coast when I needed to get away. Cath wrote me letters and made sure I always had dinner. After I hadn't slept properly in two weeks, Nikki came over and read magazines while I napped. (Me = most anti-social host of all time.) Sometimes you just sleep easier knowing that someone else is there :D

But there have also been epic, happy times. I experienced so many awesome things this year. I met new people and hung out with friends I hadn't seen in ten years. I went camping. I built a snow panda. I jumped off a dam wall! And as for my little flat - there was Friday night dancing, jumping on the bed, guitar-jamming, egg-frying, wine-drinking, 30-Seconds playing….I've had some great times here :)

I guess what I wanna say is…if you have the opportunity, take the time to live on your own for a while. You will learn so much about yourself. You'll grow in your emotional independence as well as your physical independence...if that makes any sense? I'm still on my journey but I'm stronger than I was 365 days ago. I think the living-alone thing is harder for us girls because we love to share our lives. We love nurturing those we love with cups of tea and packed lunches!

I don't tend to socialise in big groups but I get pretty antsy after spending a day alone. I like talking to people. If I had a cat, I would probably talk to it all the time - "Ok Mr Kitty, this recipe calls for a splash of milk. Would you care to do the honours?" Lols.

On a less ridiculous and more practical note, living alone has also taught me to be tidier! Mama Gloss is relieved, I'm sure! I cook more. I work out more. I manage my money better. I'm more organised. Alot of good has come out of it.

So now I'm single and about two weeks away from turning thirty. It feels strange in a way but I feel like I'm living an important chapter of my life. I'm open to whatever the days bring and I know there's good, fun stuff in store.

I just wanna say a big thanks to my friends and family for their love and support over the past year. You guys rock my world. Every day.

Thanks for reading along friends. I love being able to capture all the fun bits on Gloss. And I appreciate your kind comments. Also, I now feel completely naked for getting so personal here. Eep! x

My bathroom tiles made a good, few appearances on Gloss this year! 

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