Until recently, I felt that leaving my parents' house and living on my own was a linear progression. I started out having to share a room with other people. Eventually, I worked myself up to the next step of having my own room. Then at some point, I'd level up to living by myself.
That changed when I visited a good friend and his wife last year. I stayed with some friends of theirs in a beautiful house where eight (8) women lived together. Because of their radical hospitality, I was blessed to see life lived differently. I came home with a different understanding of what it means to share a home with someone.
The truth is that starting a venture can be a lonely road ーespecially if you don't have co-founders. It's lonely even when you have friends and family cheering you on because many of the people around you are in a different season or have chosen a different path and can't relate to what is now demanding so much of your time.
Having roommates has held me accountable to investing in relationships and maintaining some perspective beyond the issues I'm facing at the moment. My roommates have also helped me identify areas where I need personal growth. For those reasons alone, I think every young professional and entrepreneur should have a season of life with roommates. If you're at this cross roads now, I recommend these next steps to guide your decision making.
Determine if You Can Afford to Live Alone
There is no point in rehashing all the reasons why you want to live by yourself if you can't do so sustainably. Look, if you don't have enough income to rent a place by yourself you should have a shared living situation. While you may have heard of the 30% rule, it's from the 1980's and will definitely setup any modern person for failure. Use your monthly income to determine your maximum budget.
Consider Different Types of Shared Housing
Not all roommate situations are alike. Can you move in with a family member or a friend's family? These situations are great if you're trying to save money but come with less autonomy over your space. If you really desire to have your own place and then I have some good news for you. You don't have to have a terrible roommate!Seriously, if you can figure out how to buy a used car that isn't a death trap then you can finagle your way around finding a roommate, even a roommate you've just met, that is good for you. Don't just assume all roommates are terrible. You know what they say about assumptions.
Remember You're Making a Lifestyle Choice
Consider that where you live and whether or not you share that space with another person is a lifestyle choice. Many of us consider the stresses of having to deal with another person when we get home ーand there are many. However, there is stress when you live alone, do all the chores, and pay all the bills, and have no one to check if you left the gas on. You could sit down and make a list. On one side write down all of the reasons you want to live alone and on the other the reasons you many want roommates.
Reasons to Live Alone
- You get a taste of true independence
- No one will ever "accidentally" eat your food
- You never have to fight for alone time
- No arguments about how to decorate
- You'll always have privacy
- No one will know that you've worn those sweats all day
Reasons to Have Roommates
- Brings down costs like rent and utilities
- May add a level of security
- An opportunity to turn a home into a community
- You'll get to learn about communicating your needs
- You'll learn more about how other people live life
- You get introduced to new interests and communities
This could get lengthy so I've only written a few as an example. If you find that the things you value most in this season of life mostly fall on one side of this list, then I'd encourage you to pursue that option. If you're still deadlocked, then I'm following up with another post dedicated to questions that will determine if having roommates is right for you.
This post is part of my Adulting Starter Kit series. You can find more posts in this series here.