Culture Identity

Home Is Where The Peace Is

In her second piece for our platform, Rachel documents what it is like living alone during a pandemic and why having her own space, in a city that is currently in the midst of a housing crisis, is so vital.

One of the biggest lessons that 2020 has taught me is the importance of your home being a place of peace and comfortability. It is something that is vital especially as we’ve spent most of this year inside. Working, socialising and living solely confined to a singular space brings a lot of things into perspective. 2020 has taught me the value of home.

“Covid-19 made us shut the outside world out. But when external factors are your main methods of escapism and are the places where you can find joy; what are you left with?”

Growing up in a home environment that I can only describe as being bad vibes, I knew that I did not want to spend a second lockdown feeling trapped there. Through reading the experiences of other Black and queer people, I know this is not something that I alone was experiencing. Covid-19 made us shut the outside world out. But when external factors are your main methods of escapism and are the places where you can find joy; what are you left with? You are left inside a building with people that you may be biologically related to, but who do nothing for your soul…or worse than nothing, they subtract from your being.

(Source: BrickzWithTipz)

So I moved out before Boris locked us up once more. The ability and means to move out of my family home is an absolute privilege. Especially being able to do this in London, a city of astronomical rent, is something I do not take for granted. We all know what the housing situation is like in this city. The mere thought of owning your own home as a 20-something is so far off for a lot of us. There is both a shortage of new affordable housing being built in the UK and almost 200,000 second/empty homes left dormant for over 6 months of the year. Increasing rent prices, exploitative landlords and working out if it is a financially smart move to rent in London is the perpetual dilemma most millennials face. According to The Evening Standard, the pandemic has only worsened the housing crisis as there have only been 1,201 new affordable houses built in London from April to September 2020. 

Bearing all of this in mind, I prioritised my happiness and moved out.

Some of the things I’ve discovered from living alone: 

Facebook Marketplace is your friend – One of my girlfriend’s favourite lockdown pastimes was scrolling through Facebook Marketplace to see all the weird and wonderful things being sold. Some of the funny (& borderline unhygienic) things being sold were opened skincare sets and even braided lace wigs. It seems like there is a buyer for everything on websites like Facebook Marketplace. However, it is actually a great place to buy furniture which has a bit more character. When it was time to decorate my flat, I managed to find a vintage armchair and footstool for only £70. Such a steal! 

Starting my day with a workout instantly puts me in a better mood – I am a self confessed morning person. One of those really annoying people who can bounce out of bed and do a Chloe Ting workout at 7am before work. Living alone has given me the space and freedom to become more adventurous with my workouts. My ‘’close friends’’ on Instagram are having the pleasure of seeing snippets of my attempts at soca workouts and barre fitness.

The most important thing I’ve discovered from living alone is about how well my mind works when it has the time and space to create. I’ve been hyper productive and really inspired over these past couple of months. Having the ability to sit with yourself and engage with all the vast thoughts you may be having is something really beautiful. This experience is something that I will never take for granted.

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