Personal Truths and Reflections is a monthly series by me. My goal is to learn more about who I am and what defines me, through this series I will talk about truths and lessons I have learned about myself through various things in my life.
It’s been almost 2 years now since I spent 1 year living alone in Boston. When I was growing up, I remember thinking how I never wanted to live alone. I have a large family and we are all very loud and our big house was always full. So I couldn’t imagine being alone all the time. Well even though it’s been 2 years already since that time in my life (that will never happen again), that year was life changing in so many ways. I’m sure I’ll be reflecting and blogging more about it in future Personal Truths and Reflections posts because honestly, there’s so much that was different but for today, I wanted to talk about living alone.
(Boston August 2010 ©Kendra Kantor)
As a little background for newer readers:
In 2009-2010 I moved from my home near Chicago, Illinois 1000+ miles away to Boston, Massachusetts. I left the only home I had ever known for the first 18 years of my life, to attend art school in a big city and live in an apartment all by myself. I, obviously, didn’t stay in Boston nor did I finish art school but that’s a story for another day.
-I am stronger than I thought.
I survived. Honestly, at many points it was more than I thought would happen. Between moving 1000+ miles from the only home I had ever known, away from my family who I am so close to and who is my biggest support system…I was drowning in art school and struggling making friends (I never made any, in a whole year there.), I was a down right mess living alone. I don’t think the outcome of the situation would have been different if I had been living in the dorms vs living in an apartment alone, to be honest. I survived living a year on my own and it was hard, but I did it and while I often get sad about what I left behind, I’m proud of myself for that one little accomplishment that year.
-Sunlight is energy.
Yes. It. Is. I’ve never gotten any seasonal depression (although it would be hard to differentiate from my everyday depression even if I did), I totally understand why people do. I get why little hours of sunlight in the winter affects peoples moods so heavily. Because sunlight is energy and life. How obviously, I know. My apartment was garden style and while I had windows in my bathroom, living room and bedroom the only one that wasn’t half underground and covered by balcony above was my bathroom. Between depression and lack of sunlight, I slept so much and most often during the day because I had no concept of time. I struggled taking photos in my own home (annoying when you’re a photo major), because there was no natural light. I refuse to ever rent a garden apartment again, even if it is $200 cheaper.
-I grew up in the suburbs but love (small) big cities.
I always said I was a suburbs girl, which sounds kind of lame because the suburbs suck. But I’ve always loved that we could drive an hour one way and be in a big city (Chicago) or drive an hour the other way and be in the middle of no where. But living in Boston for a year, I learned that I love big cities. But only if they’re small. There’s a charm to Boston that there isn’t to Chicago, maybe because it’s older but I think it has more to do with the size. I love all Chicago has to offer but Boston offers similar things (plus others), but there aren’t as many large large overwhelming buildings and there are more parks and places to relax (in my opinion). The other thing I loved about a big city was public transportation. Okay, the trains in Boston kind of suck, I’ll admit, however not having to drive a car and being able to go anywhere was amazing. I am dying to live in a city with public transportation again.
My second two points aren’t so much about living alone as they are about living in Boston I guess. But I learned them while living alone and that’s what was important and stood out while I was drafting up this post. I’ve read before that it’s important to live alone before you ever live with a significant other and while I don’t think it’s vital, it can be healthy. I would never want to live alone again but despite all the trails and hardships I faced, I think it was really good for me in the long run. Most of the good hasn’t come forth yet as I’m still struggling with all I went through in art school, and how much it broke down who I am as an artist and person, someday though…someday it will all make sense.
Check out the past posts in this series to follow me on my journey: Personal Truths and Reflections.
Don’t forget to check out the guest post series companion to my series, called “Defining Me:Moments and Events that Shaped Who I Am.” and contact me if you are interesting in contributing.