A Letter Of Immature Advice For My Sister, Who Moved Away And Lives Alone

A few weeks ago, my younger sister’s educational pursuits caused her to move from our parents’ house in our hometown to live alone in a new one. She asked me how I initially dealt and still deal with this dynamic, so I wrote her this letter.

Dear Holly,

Living alone may not seem ideal (propping up half the ping pong table and playing by yourself like Forrest Gump is no substitute for the real thing), but if you embrace it by doing stuff you weren’t able to under parental or roommate supervision, it can be pretty gnarly. Getting your own place means you’re growing up — it’s a huge part of the maturation process. And it can be gratifying to combat this by doing immature things sometimes, just because you can.

Know what I did yesterday when I came home from work?

I stripped down to my boxers and t-shirt, turned on the television and went to the kitchenette to make myself a motherfucking chocolate milkshake. A big ass one that almost exploded out of the blender. We’re talking three times your average serving size, easy. I brought it back to the TV and took a huge swig of it while I perched my right foot on my coffee table — like I was Captain Morgan — and vigorously scratched my pale and unsightly man thigh. I finished the beverage and put it in the sink. Didn’t even clean it. It’s still in there.

After that, I did some laundry out of necessity. This chore made me hungry, so I cooked myself some Brinner. Yep. Breakfast for dinner. Not that wild, right? Well, what if I told you I’ve eaten Brinner seven of the past eight nights, on the real? The only exception has been last Saturday, when I had a French dip and enough cans of Budweiser to make Dad proud of me.

To recap: I had dessert before dinner, put my dirty foot on the coffee table and didn’t do my dishes. Then I ate the exact same meal I’d had on a streak of consecutive nights. I can do these things, because I am an adult and I am alone. I have no roommate to make fun of me for “having a little Captain in me,” (even though that stance is really just a great way to stretch the hip flexor) and Mom’s vigilant eyes don’t extend to my apartment. Or to yours. If she saw my methods of domestication, she might have an aneurysm.

I understand that living alone may be tough. You think way too much about pretty much everything when you spend elongated periods of time by yourself — your present, potential and past (especially past) relationships; significant others, how your recent haircut makes you look kind of like Lloyd Christmas and how this might affect the level of seriousness with which others view you until it grows back, why boobs are good, if the potential cardiovascular benefits and better taste of red wine should outweigh the reduction in teeth staining you’d experience if you switched to white, how you can ensure you don’t slip and fall in the shower when there’s nobody else to help you, the true ramifications of your carbon footprint. Things like that.

But, sis, try to enjoy it while you can. I’m hopeful it’s temporary for both of us. I won’t always be the only person in the living room tearing up when I see a commercial like that Google one where the guy sets up an email address for his baby girl as a digital scrapbook for her to look at when she gets old enough. Someday, you’re probably going to have a husband, and maybe some children. Then you’re going to wish, sometimes, that you could go back to that time when you were able to do whatever you wanted.

But if you falter, just contact me like you did a few minutes ago. You can tell me you’re lonely, just like you can tell our parents and brothers you’re lonely. There are few people in this world who can’t empathize with you about the pains of loneliness, and that empathy is nice. Truth be told, I had a long conversation with Mom a few days ago about how lonely I am here, far away from you guys and my oldest friends, and she understood. But then I snuck up to a roof I wasn’t supposed to be on and remembered how liberating it was not to have someone tell me not to.

And if you feel a need to check underneath your bed for monsters or aliens, go ahead, because nobody is going to see you. If you need justification, just tell yourself you were doing a couple of pre-slumber push-ups while furtively glancing to your side. I can’t think of a better “two-birds-one-stone” combo than ensuring personal safety while also giving the pectorals a surprise late night shock.


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image – Marc Majcher

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