Photo courtesy: Listovative.com
For someone who has spent almost half of his life living along with sisters and other family members, living independently could be a breath of fresh air.
I was living with my sister Bhing since I began my college education in the city until now that I am in my fourth job. That was more or less seven years. We had been sharing boarding houses and things, and made decisions together for quite a long time. She became a mother to me especially that my parents are staying in our province.
Aside from the both of us, Ate Lyn, another sister of mine, soon joined when she also started working in the city. We made the most out of a very small room that can barely hold three people. Not to mention that the whole room also serves as the living room, bedroom, kitchen, and dining area. Such versatility. My parents’ visit also became frequent so imagine how we maximize the floor when we sleep and move around.
Our family grew when my sister Lyn bore an unanticipated gift later on. And because she still need guidance from my parents in taking care of her baby, she stayed with us along with her husband, again, in the same boarding room. It seems we can fit in can better than sardines.
We have to make huge adjustments and compromises; from sharing space, sacrificing privacy at some point, scheduling chores, and apportioning financial matters. That set-up remained even until now, quite better because we recently transferred to a more spacious apartment. And our family kept growing, now that my sister Bhing is expecting his first baby and his husband also lived with us. My mother also became our permanent resident. We are seven. I can say that we can be perfect representation of family-oriented, a strong Filipino value.
But I realized, this arrangement should not be forever. Given that all my sisters are already married, by logical principle, they should be living on their own, separating from their parents, and building their own family.
Being the youngest in the family and the only one left single, I always do the grandest adjustments and it gives me so much fatigue. Added to that is the stress caused by conflicts on things like house chores, personal spaces, orderliness, sanitation among others. With those experiences, I have listed few of the things that I would find rewarding when I live alone and on my own.
- I only get to wash your own plate. I am such a couch potato and little did my family know that washing dishes is one of the house chores I hate doing. When I lived with so many people, I sometimes forced to wash all the dishes. If I live alone, I will only get to wash two to four pieces. In short, you only clean your own mess.
- Cook and buy food only for yourself. I don’t mean to be selfish. I mean that you only spend for yourself. Living with my sisters sometimes mean I have to include them in my budget. I think that when I are alone, I don’t have to spend so much and I can actually control my spending for food.
- Decide on what food to buy and eat. Recently, I am gradually adapting a healthy lifestyle. I work out and control and choose what I eat. However, I can’t always just prepare a hard-boiled egg for breakfast and just fruits for dinner. So, my mother tends to cook what they normally eat. And sometimes, I get tempted. I know it is a lame excuse. I know it is an issue of discipline. But it would really help if the food available in the kitchen supports your chosen lifestyle. One of my sisters have a tendency to include chips and other sweets in our grocery and it is too inviting to binge-eat. At least, I would be less worried if my cabinet is stuffed with healthy options. In other words, I have less people to consider in whatever decisions that I need to make.
- Freedom to do what you want. Living alone is so ideal for artists. When you are alone, the house becomes conducive to creative processes. There are less distractions and inhibitions. I could barely write at home because I am the type of person who becomes uncomfortable whenever somebody watches me pound keys. Aside from that, I can also do my work out not worrying how awkward I look. I can enjoy being myself when I am alone.
- You can have the most wanted silence after a noisy day’s work. There is no better way to relax than to cherish the tranquility of the silence.
This is my fair share to Yaoyao Ma Van As’s illustrations on the joy of being alone. Van As is painter, illustrator, and occasional animator based in Los Angeles. You can see the rest of her work here: Illustrator Perfectly Captures the Happiness of Living Alone in 10+ Illustrations.
Hopefully, the end of 2017 also ends this kind of set-up and I could fully enjoy the privileges of being and living on my own.