Ever since I was about twelve, I've always wanted to live alone. I would decorate how I want, keep it exactly to my personal level of cleanliness – no higher, no lower – and watch exactly what I wanted to television. When I got a bit older I realised that living with one other person would be acceptable, mostly because having someone else to keep the bed warm at night is very nice indeed.
Mostly stuff doesn't work out like that. I lived with a small family of mother, father and younger sister until I went to university. I spent university in houseshares with a few people, some of whom I got on with, some of whom... not so much. Still, I assumed that when I left I would get to Live By Myself and that it would be Splendid. I actually did a summer of living by myself, when my housemates went on holiday/home, and I spent the summer drinking too much and heckling the TV. It was good times.
Unfortunately, the only job I could secure for myself after leaving university was a retail job in the city near my hometown; a transfer from my university job. So I moved back in with my parents. Bless them, they were over the moon. I drank a bottle of wine that night, stole a packet of my Mum's cigarettes when her and my Dad had gone to bed and sat in the garden, chain-smoking and crying about being a failure. (I am not a smoker; very occasionally, it seems like a sensible thing to do.) I then lived with my parents and sister for a year, falling into all of the same traps of being eighteen, before eventually moving back into a houseshare. The houseshare was significantly better than living with my parents, and the couple I lived with were fabulous humans, but still, it wasn't what I wanted.
Now I live with Mr Disorientated Graduate in a flat of our own and I'm moving towards actually having the place I want. These flats have paper thin walls, though, and I haven't had a full night's sleep for months as the baby in the flat downstairs is teething. Apparently the only noise that can penetrate my earplugs is the sound of a child crying in another property. BAD TIMES.
This is the economic truth of many a graduate, I think. Although we dream of the flat we'll own ourselves, and decorate, and live to our own rules, the sad truth is that we simply can't afford it. Although Mr DG and I are quietly determined to at least live somewhere with really good soundproofing next time, we're doing fairly well thus far for people our age. As that baby gives yet another wail downstairs, and another set of graduates prepare for their first Christmas as 'boomerang babies', the sad truth is that graduates are some of the lowest people on the rung of houses. The only option to squash together in family homes, in blocks of flats, in what will probably be increasingly rubbish housing.
This post is brought to you by a borderline hysterical lack of sleep. This may be a little obvious.