Monday, September 15, 2008

Flying solo in your twenties

“Never become romantically involved with anyone
who has more trouble and less money than you have.”
~ Classic advice

1. Ditch the roommates

"The postponement of marriage has led to a substantial increase in the
proportion of young, never-married adults," said Jason Fields, author of
America's Families and Living Arrangements: March 2000. "For example, in
the past three decades, the proportion of those who had never married
doubled for women ages 20 to 24, from 36 percent to 73 percent, and more
than tripled for women ages 30 to 34, from 6 percent to 22 percent."

When you are young and just starting out in life, it’s likely that you will share an apartment with others or rent a room in a group house. Eventually, unless you are remarkably tolerant, living with other people and their messes will drive you crazy.

You will long for your own refrigerator, so that you can come home from work reasonably confident that the chicken breast you planned to have for your supper will still be there. You will grow weary of stepping over prone bodies on your way to the kitchen in the morning. You will insist on a bathroom that is more or less up to code.

It’s time to find a small space you can call your own.

When I moved into my first apartment, many years ago, my best friend Judy sent me the advice you see above. The only thing I could add to this would be: buy a plumber’s friend and keep it handy because if you ever need it (and this will probably happen at some odd hour) you won’t feel like venturing out to Target or a hardware store to buy one.

2. Live in the city

What a great time of life — to be in your 20s, independent and fancy free.

Depending on your career aspirations, you will find employment where the jobs are. Great cities for young professionals include New York, Washington DC, Boston, the San Francisco Bay Area, L.A., Seattle, Chicago, Atlanta, Austin, and (yes) Minneapolis. Smaller university towns are good bets, also — Ann Arbor, Chapel Hill, Charlottesville, Madison, for example.

Even if your workplace is in the suburbs, find a place in the city. You’ll have a reverse commute and you won’t be stuck out in the boonies with all the married people and their bratty children.

I know several single women who bought (admittedly, affordable) houses in developments so far away from the rest of us you have to take a light plane to get out there, and I think they were out of their minds. Nobody wants to go visit them and by the time these women get home from work exhausted the very last thing they want to do is get back in their cars and retrace their commutes.

The ‘burbs can be lonely places for the unmarried, so go urban. Ask your friends where other young people live. Twenty-somethings tend to congregate in cool neighborhoods close to restaurants and bars. Chances are you won’t have a car so you’ll want to locate within walking or cab distance of your friends and their hangouts. Have a great time.

1 comment:

jfoo said...

Hi Kit, your friend's advice is spot on!

Get a candle or three and some matches (and when the power goes out, use your flashlight to find the candles and matches, then light them and save your batteries).

Use Craftsman (or any other brand with a lifetime guarantee) tools.