I’m sure many people would agree that your 20-something years are some of the most fun and exciting times of your life. I know for me it was. I had graduated college and was living with my best girls in a three (match-book-sized) bedroom apartment on the fifth floor of a fifth-floor walkup building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. I worked two jobs, went out with friends and life seemed somewhat simple.
My roommates and I kept tabs on each other so we always knew each other’s whereabouts and when we would be home. If one of us were gone a bit too long, we would check in on each other. We had a mutual yet unwritten safety system. After a couple of years, however, we all went our separate ways and got our own studio apartments so we could live on our own.
That’s when it became blatantly obvious that personal safety needed to be a high priority and a part of my everyday routine. Commuting alone, entering an empty home alone, and sleeping in an apartment by myself was new and sometimes a little scary. Luckily, around the same time I was training in martial arts, which gave me a better awareness of my personal safety. As I practiced this newfound awareness I began to feel more confident and safe which was very empowering.
If you are in your twenties, and living on your own for the first time in your life, you don’t have the comfort of knowing there are campus security cameras on your walk home, or campus police a panic button away.
Whether you are living with roommates or completely by yourself, here are my top tips for living safe and empowered in your twenties.
Commute like a boss
Whether on public transportation or in your car, heading to and from work should be an alert and empowering experience. Too many of us like to zone out with headphones on, absorbed in our smartphones or tuned into our to-do lists. Yet, this is exactly when we should be paying attention to the road or the subway platform, holding our purses/bags tightly and walking with intent to our destination. Keep your phone in your bag and leave the headphones at home so all of your senses are awake.
If possible, take different routes home, so your commute doesn’t become predictable to potential stalkers.
Carry a Mace Brand personal alarm or pepper spray in your hand while walking to and from your apartment or car.
Make home a safe space
Your home should be your sanctuary: a place you retreat to after working hard all day. You shouldn’t have to worry about your safety once inside your home. If you haven’t yet, make sure all windows and doors are secure. They all should have working locks that you use every day, especially when you are sleeping. For extra protection, use Mace Brand Door & Window Guards to scare off any intruders with piercing alarms during any forced entry.
Keep your blinds or curtains closed in the evenings when it’s easy to see inside your home. You never know who may be watching.
Also, try and get to know your neighbors. It’s important to know who’s living beside you and who you can count on in the case of an emergency.
Have a check-in buddy
A check-in buddy is someone you check in with on a daily basis. This can be your roommate, bestie or a relative. Someone should know your whereabouts at all times. It’s also empowering to play that role for someone else (so reach out to a friend and make the promise to always check in).
Not into sharing your whereabouts with someone all the time? There’s an app for that. In fact, there are many free apps for that nowadays. The following three apps all allow you to set up a network of guardians who can follow your whereabouts if you let them. If you’re someone who likes their alone time [hiking, biking, running, wandering or shopping] I highly recommend you use one of the following:
The more aware we are of our personal safety, the more confident we will become. The more confident we become, the more empowered we feel.