Living on your own for the first time brings up different emotions in everyone.
It can be scary, trying to figure out how to manage your own household, staying on top of cooking, cleaning and budgeting. It can be lonely or isolating, especially when you don’t know many people nearby. It can be overwhelming, waking up to a day without any plans and thinking, “OK, now what?!”
For me, the most prominent emotion was unbridled excitement.
While I had spent some time away from my parents before and moved a whopping hour and a half away for college, the first time I truly lived alone was the summer after my freshman year. I had a job that fell through at the last minute, and, as luck would have it, some family friends had a dog-and house-sitter that fell through around the same time.
Discovering the Joy of Living Alone
Taking care of their house was easy, and the dog – a sweet and aging Brittany Spaniel – was a great companion. I found babysitting gigs to make extra money, took an online class and spent a lot of time reading and binging TV series. Like, A LOT.
I knew very few people in the area, just one college acquaintance and my grandparents, who lived 20 minutes away. I made the most of my time near them, as they were 80 and 90, facing health problems and were no longer the spry grandparents I knew as a child. We didn’t do much when I visited, just chatted about life, ate dinner or sometimes took a walk or wheelchair ride around the block if they were feeling up to it.
I mostly remember eating a lot of Eggo waffles, a food I had introduced to them many years prior that my mom regrets ever letting into our families’ freezers and toasters.
It was easily one of the best summers I’ve ever had. It confirmed something that I had always suspected: I love living alone. I loved that true freedom of doing whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I did not have to care about bothering a roommate or a family member with loud music, spending unguilty days lazing around, eating junk food and watching trash TV. I could live life in the nude, both when I got an awful case of poison ivy from my ankles to my thighs and clothes were too painful, and just when I was feeling it!
I discovered the joy of doing things alone – going to dinner, the movies, bike rides, events at the nearby college and hanging out at the bougie local library. I made it my mission to try all the ice cream parlors in town to find my favorite (spoiler: I couldn’t choose, ice cream is fantastic). I got better at “adulting,” like cooking and grocery shopping or knowing when to call a doctor or house repair person.
I learned that I absolutely love living alone – just a dog and me.
Enough Roommates to Play a Football Game
I wouldn’t have that lifestyle again – just me and a dog – for eight years. And despite the abrupt circumstances, which were significantly less exciting than the first time, the joy of living alone was not diminished.
I spent the years in-between in various arrangements, moving between 10 living situations, four states, two countries and briefly a cursed tent. I went through enough roommates to play a football game. The places I lived the longest were those with my significant other, but they never felt stable for both internal and external reasons.
I moved around between government-furnished housing as a Park Ranger. I shared a triple dorm room in college and briefly within that, a Megabed, which is exactly what you would guess.
In the few opportunities when I did live alone, the places were temporary, and the situations were less than ideal. I was so hasty to find an apartment during my semester abroad in Mexico that I signed a lease without realizing that it didn’t have a kitchen, not even a minifridge and hotplate. My parents still tease me for calling them crying because there was no toilet seat, and I didn’t know the words to ask for one (don’t worry, I do now!).
Another move landed me half an hour from anything other than cows and the 1800s military fort that was most definitely haunted (this one is kind of on me, I didn’t even Google the location until the night before I was scheduled to arrive, after I had driven 1,500 miles across the country with all my stuff). These places weren’t great, but they provided shelter and some of the space I needed, physically and emotionally, although possibly too much space in the case of the latter location.
My Dog & My Domain
After many tumultuous years, the feeling of moving my dog Stella and me into our new apartment post-breakup and mid-pandemic brought an indescribable sense of relief. I finally felt safe. I felt at home. The feeling that I had found a place where I could live freely – just a dog and me – was so powerful.
The apartment is nothing special. It’s a very average one-bedroom apartment. It has enough space for Stella and me to exist comfortably but not enough to have separate surfaces for dining and working. Although, I did recently upgrade from a crappy plastic folding table to a gorgeous bespoke wooden table (big thanks to my parents for this incredibly adult birthday present).
But it’s mine, or rather ours. It’s a place where I can choose who to let in, and I guard my sanctuary carefully. It’s a safe space where I can ugly cry as much as I need to, embrace the mess when the craft inspiration strikes and laze about naked and eat a disgusting amount of chips.
Yes, I know living alone isn’t for everyone. I recognize that I am privileged to live in an area and work at a job that allows me to do so. I know that it’s easy to become too isolated for introverts and homebodies like me. Some people simply don’t like living alone. Everyone has a different situation and wants different things. But after all that I’ve been through, I am grateful every day to have my dog and my domain.
Finding a Good Home
Much as everyone needs to find the right living arrangement, NFL players need to find a home that fits them. Sometimes that means living on their own, sometimes that means moving in with their friends. Like the real world, it can be tricky to know whether or not a new place is the right one, but I am optimistic that these situations will work out.
CeeDee Lamb (WR, Dallas Cowboys)
I know that no player is ever “living alone” in this analogy, especially for wide receivers, but CeeDee Lamb comes pretty close. Lamb’s 18% Target Share in 2021 was less-than-ideal for fantasy players, splitting receiving work with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and Dalton Schultz.
While the latter will still be a key part of the Cowboy’s offense this season, the opportunities will increase for Lamb. Cooper was traded to the Browns and Gallup will likely be sidelined for the first few weeks recovering from a late-season ACL tear, leaving veteran James Washington and rookie Jalen Tolbert are Lamb’s primary competition.
Lamb’s roommates moved out, he’s ready to experience the joy of living alone, and fantasy football players should be ready to embrace a higher target share and some sweet fantasy production.
Davante Adams (WR, Las Vegas Raiders)
Living with friends can be a ton of fun, and that’s exactly what I’m expecting with Davante Adams moving to Las Vegas to play with his college quarterback Derek Carr. Adams brings years of proven high-level performance in Green Bay, finishing as a or even, the WR1 during four of the last six seasons using Points Per Reception (PPR) scoring.
Carr is a downgrade from Adams’ former QB Aaron Rodgers, finishing very consistently in the PPR QB 10-19 range over the last seven years. But he’s more than capable of supporting solid production from Adams. During their two years as teammates at Fresno State, Adams racked up 233 receptions, 3,031 yards and 38 touchdowns, helping the team win the Mountain West Championship.
Adding a top receiving weapon is great news for Carr, and Adams should still be a reliable WR1. But what makes me particularly hopeful about this reunion is that Adams chose to go play with Carr. I have to imagine that after years of “will he play? Won’t he play?” and other drama with Rodgers, the stability of an old friend and your favorite sport feels great.
It’s hard to find a good home, but I believe that Lamb and Adams have found the right ones for them and look forward to seeing how the season plays out for each.
Thanks for reading! If you like my kind of trash, you can find more on Twitter @trashsandwiches.