Moving Out? Are You SURE You’re Ready to Leave the Nest?
I moved out of my parents’ house almost 8 years ago when I turned 18 years old. At the time my parents and I were butting heads. They didn’t like my blue hair, my boyfriend or my “constant partying,” and I didn’t like their judgments, their rules, or the boring lifestyle they were forcing on me. I felt trapped, I was suffocating and I needed out. I wanted to stretch my wings and live life my way, somewhere nobody could tell me what I could or couldn’t do, where I could do what I wanted, when I wanted. So I packed my things and without thinking moved into a crappy one bedroom apartment with my best friend on the other side of town. It wasn’t much. We shared a room and we didn’t have cable or AC, but finally, I was independent!
Since then, after falling out with roommates, falling in, out, and back in love again, I’ve moved a total of four different times. While I did have fun times on my own, (in between the jobs I constantly had to work to pay my rents) there are a few key things I’ve learned that I hope anybody that still has yet to leave the nest will consider before venturing out on their own.
Money doesn’t grow on trees:
Everybody knows that living on your own means paying rent, but there’s also security deposits, renters insurance, gas, electricity, water, groceries, phone, cable (if you’re fancy) and other essentials to consider. God forbid something really bad happens like your car breaks down or your dog gets sick and you need to come up with a quick $1,000 (been there). I used to have nightmares about murders, but these are the things that haunt my dreams now. The point is, it’s REALLY EXPENSIVE to live alone, and you kind of kill the whole point of being independent if you have to keep asking others for help to cover your bills once you’re out on your own. Also there’s really no point in having an awesome apartment if you don’t get to spend any time in it because you’re always away working to make money to pay the bills. Staying home as long as possible gives you a chance to save up. Make a nice cushion for yourself before it all gets ripped out from underneath you by a bill collector.
“OMG BESTIES 4EVA!” How many times have you said this in your life? Now, how many of those friends are still your best? Unfortunately, as times change, so do people. When you live with somebody, there is no escaping that person. They’ll be there when you wake up, when you go to bed, good mood, bad mood, sickness and in health. Just like you fight with siblings at home you will fight with roommates, but this time the whole ‘family thing’ that brings you back together doesn’t exist. Rooming with besties has RUINED friendships. Just because you can party all weekend with somebody doesn’t mean that you’ll still like them when you see them unshowered on the couch on a Sunday night, using YOUR blanket and making a pile of garbage and dirty dishes that YOU’LL probably end up cleaning. Half the time they won’t even know they’re doing it, but can you believe that they’ll use the last of your ranch dressing and not replace it?! That bitch.
It takes a certain level of maturity and respect to live with another person and unfortunately not everybody is there. Make sure you choose your house mates carefully, if your friend has that one adorably annoying habit that drives you crazy, chances are it will have you punching holes in drywall by the 3rd month.
Mom makes you take out the garbage at home. Dad makes you mow the lawn. Bet you can’t wait to move out so nobody will be bossing you around anymore and you can relax right? Wrong. How about adding about 100 more things to that list? Everything is on you now. It took me about six months of being on my own to realize that I need to take one whole day a week to just do chores. Vacuuming, laundry, dusting, mopping floors, taking out the garbage, doing the grocery shopping. Mom’s nowhere to be found, and those few chores you had to do look like a day off. Independent means exactly that, there is NOBODY there to help you, and if you don’t look after yourself you’re going to end up on the latest episode of Hoarders.
Oh, and when the winter comes? Forget about it. I was 24 years old, 120 pounds and digging my car out of a four-foot snow drift by myself.
Now, by no means am I trying to discourage anybody who’s thinking of moving out. I think independent people are amazing, I just simply want to point out the few things that I had to learn the hard way. These are all things that you can prepare yourself for, just don’t rush into it. Unless your parents are pushing you out, stay home, save up, learn who your real friends are, and make the most of being taken care of.