1. You learn how to ask strangers for help with things, and not give a fuck about that. Feminism is great and all, but sometimes we have to accept that the vast majority of women are shorter, and typically not as muscly, as the vast majority of men. Therefor, there is some shit we just have a harder time doing, like reaching high shelves and opening tightly closed jars. When you live alone, you can't just not do most of those things though. I mean what, are you just going to let those delicious spicy dill pickles go bad in the fridge because the jar was clearly closed by a sociopath? NO. You will walk your happy ass outside and ask the first person who looks stronger than you to help you open that shit, and no matter what kind of looks you get from them that say you are probably insane, you take your open jar of pickles back inside with your head held high, because who gives a fuck what they think? You have spicy pickles.
2. You learn to stop watching the news. Basically what happens when you live alone, have a vagina, AND watch or read the news, is you become convinced that like, everybody wants to rape you. The guy that delivers the mail? He wants to rape you. The landscaper across the street trimming those hedges? Oh yeah, he wants to get all rapey on you. The check out guy at the store? The bicyclist who comes down your street every morning? The pizza delivery boy? They are all just WAITING for their chance to rape the shit out of you. Turns out, there's probably not that many people actually planning on raping you. Most of them couldn't pick you out of a line up. So you stop watching the news, because it makes you scared of everyone, and that makes it harder for you to ask strangers to open your pickles.
3. You also learn to never ever ever see a scary movie with someone you're not planning on spending the entire night with. One time I went on a date with someone who took me to see a scary movie. At first I was all, yeah yeah, very clever. Take me to a scary movie so I cuddle into you during all the jumpy/gory parts. But then I realized how truly clever he really was, because at the end of the night I really, really, didn't want to go home. There was nobody at my house, and I'm crappy at being a grown up, so I was 99% sure I hadn't left any lights on for myself. Was sleeping with this person worth it to not have to lay in bed all night with the blanket pulled up to my chin, debating between getting up in the dark to walk to the bathroom or just straight up wetting the bed because I was too afraid to move?
4. You learn how to deal with disgusting shit. One of the benefits of living with a guy is that you don't have to deal with most disgusting situations being an adult will present to you. Things like killing bugs, plunging the toilet when someone - not you of course - clogs it, fixing clogged drains and nasty smelling sinks, etc. When you live alone though, you learn pretty fast that the number of boys who are willing to come over at 2 am to kill a cock roach is very, very small, and gets exponentially smaller each time you actually make one of them do that. You learn to suck it up and kill the fucking thing, even if you scream so loudly the entire time, that your neighbors come over because they think you're being murdered.
5. You learn that you do a lot of weird shit you don't really want anyone else seeing you do. For those of you who watch Sex and the City, you know these things as your Secret Single Behaviors. Things you do when you are alone in your house, that you're afraid you'd have to give up if you ever cohabited with a man. Things like examining your pores in the bathroom mirror, while you sit on the counter with your feet in the sink. Or ripping pieces of cheese straight off the block and eating it in clumps while you stand at the kitchen counter at 2 in the morning. Whatever it is, you learn the little things that secretly bring you joy, even if they're not the most normal.
If I could wish one thing on all girls in their 20's, it would be that for just a little while, they live on their own.
I don't mean just live with other girl roommates and not have any guys around. I mean live 100% alone.
You learn so much about yourself, and you learn just how much you can really do on your own.
And, I think it makes you so much more grateful to have another person to help out with shit when you do finally live with a guy.
Once you've dragged a couch up two flights of stairs and wrestled it into your apartment by yourself, you will never take your boyfriend carrying something heavy for you for granted ever, ever again.