Five Things Men Need to Learn to do When they’re living on their own

Men begin living alone at various parts of their lives. For some of us, that’s when we move out to go to college. For others, it’s after a stint in the military, or perhaps after a marriage. Regardless of the reason, or age for that matter, a lot of men find themselves living alone for the first time, and some of us find it a little challenging.

I’m on the youngest side, and I’ve lived on my own for about a decade now. While it might seem basic to a lot of us, as an educator, I’ve found that a little advice on the basics is a great way to share knowledge with our fellow men. So, here are five things I think you should consider when you’re living on your own for the first time.

Take Cleaning Seriously

When you’re first living on your own, you have to throw out anything like gender norms or division of labor in the household. If you’re by yourself, after all, everything is your responsibility. I, for one, appreciate having a clean place to take a shower, cook and eat meals, and, vitally, some clean sheets. If I want that to happen, then, I have to take charge of it.

For those well into their careers, who might have more money and less time on their hands, it might be worth hiring a service to come clean once a week while you’re at work. But, do not confuse a cleaning professional with a maid. If you can find someone who you can let into your house, who you can trust, and who will do a good job of it is someone very valuable to your life, and well worth your respect. If, like me, you have the time to clean yourself, plan ahead and block out the time to clean properly. I like a weekend morning for this, as it’s a good transition from my academic and writing work, and then leaves me the rest of my mornings and evenings to enjoy my clean space.

Learn how to cook a few things well

Think of your favorite food or at least something that sounds good. Now, open up your favorite food delivery app and try to find it. For me, I was thinking of chicken teriyaki, and the best option to get it to me would cost $20 and take an hour.

For a lot of us, there’s a big difference between our culinary wants and our budgetary needs. One way to make up that skill gap is to learn how to make a few things well. This will help in a lot of regards. First, you can save a lot of money and still eat as well, if not better, than if you had gone out. Second, cooking is something that can give you an immense, and well-earned sense of pride in having done something well. Finally, a good meal, especially one that you made yourself, is one of the best ways that I know of to end a long day.

Get Good at Time management

So far I’ve mentioned cooking and cleaning as important. Is there a way to do both of those that make the most sense for the limited time that we have? I certainly think so. When I cook, for example, I usually make a pretty big mess of the kitchen despite my efforts to clean while I cook. The counters, sink, and stove are going to end up pretty well trashed, and I know that.

So, knowing that, I save my weekly cleaning for the morning after I spend an evening meal prepping. These days, that means spending Friday night cooking, and leaving the cleaning until I’m fresh on Saturday morning. That way, I only have to do a major cleaning of the kitchen once, and I get the benefits of good food and a clean space without having to chase my messes around all week.

practice something mindful

So far, a lot of what I’ve focused on are things that are really practical in a traditional sense. When you live alone, at least for me, there’s a temptation to stay busy all the time and to keep doing things. After all, as I’ve mentioned, if you’re on your own, everything is your responsibility.

Thus, I think it’s really important to take the time, take a moment, and learn to enjoy your own company, in your space. For me, this means forcing myself to take about an hour a day, pour a nice beverage of some kind, and read a book on my balcony or the couch. It’s important to take the time to enjoy the space you work so hard for, after all.

Make time For your Hobby

One of the best things about living alone is that you get to do what you want in your free time. This gives you the time to do basically whatever you like, and I think this is a great opportunity to learn what you like and to build some skills in something interesting to you. For me, this meant learning how to build computers and getting into PC gaming. At some point, I’ll also learn how to play that guitar that’s sitting next to my desk.

Whatever that hobby is really doesn’t matter, but I do recommend picking something that you can do for hours on end and something that you can do alone. That way, all you need for your hobby to work well for you is a little bit of time and some motivation.

There’s a lot you need to learn to live on your own, and sometimes some of these things will fall by the wayside. And that’s okay. The important thing, at least as far as I’m concerned, is that, as men, we can learn how to live well on our own terms. If we can do that, I think we can then come to other relationships, whether work, social, or romantic, a lot more settled and confident.

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