Today marks one month since I moved out of my family home. It’s only been a month, but I’ve already learned quite a few things. Things were way different than what I thought. Some things were better, some things were worse. Here are some things I learned in my first month of independence.
1. Expenses add up quickly.
I knew I would have to pay for my own rent and food and utilities. What I didn’t think about is all the other expenses involved in running a household. Cleaning supplies and all the other little things needed around the house may not be very pricey on their own, but all of them combined costs a non-insignificant amount of money. Not only that, I now have to do the work of knowing what I need and choosing which ones to buy. My mother was doing all that and I took that for granted.
2. I’m on my own schedule.
I knew this, I guess, but I thought it would be awesome. No more my mother nagging me to wake up or go to sleep. No more my mother disrupting my focus session to tell me to have lunch or run to the grocery store. It felt liberating at first, but I soon realized that my life would spiral out of control if I didn’t have some kind of routine. My life is now far more regimented than before. I wake up at 7AM, no more sleeping until noon. I go to bed around 11PM, no more staying up late. Everything my mother told me about the importance of having a routine was true. It is so good for me.
3. I should have appreciated my family more.
All the work my parents did to support the household, all the work around the house they did, the emotional support my sister gave me, I took all of that for granted. Having to rely on myself even when things get tough is unsettling. Doing things for myself isn’t easy; I can’t even imagine how my parents did everything for me when I was an infant, on top of everything else they had to do. Being a person is hard work, and so much of it was done for me until now. I know my family will always be there for me, but it is time for me to be more independent. And I will always appreciate my family for raising me to be able to be independent.
4. Household chores aren’t as bad as I thought.
I hated cleaning, doing laundry, and washing dishes. I would feel guilty about not doing my share, but not enough to actually do the chores. One thing I thought I would dislike about moving out was having to do all of the domestic labor myself. It turns out I do not loathe chores, in fact I actually quite enjoy keeping my living space clean. Perhaps it is because I now get to do it in my own way rather than my mother’s way. I declared Saturday as my cleaning and laundry day and I do not mind spending my Saturday like that at all. I’ve always procrastinated when my mother asked me to do something until she got fed up waiting and did it herself. Now I rarely put off doing things around my apartment. There is something cathartic about cleaning. Incorporating household work into my routine actually improved my mental health.
5. There’s no one to help me when I’m ill.
I fell sick shortly after moving in. Being sick without my mother to care for me was hard. It’s not even that I needed anything done for me. I had the necessary medication with me and it’s easy to get soup delivered these days. But being on my own with no one checking in on me while I’m sick felt so lonely. I called my mother and she offered to come get me but I said no, I’m not dying and I can get through this myself. But before I got to enjoy my independence and freedom, I had a bitter taste of the harsh truth of living alone.
6. I don’t really know how to prepare meals.
My mother suggested that I learn to cook many times. Each time I thought, “What do you mean? I already know how to cook!” But cooking every once in a while and being entirely responsible for every single meal are completely different, I found. I have to plan what groceries to buy and what to make with them to optimally consume them before they go bad. I grew bored of the things I knew to cook well rather quickly, so I had to step outside of my comfort zone.
7. Living with strangers is even harder than I thought.
I do have flatmates I live with. I chose to do this to save money. And I worried that other flatmates might be inconsiderate. Thankfully, they are not. But what I didn’t fully comprehend was how hard it would be for me to be considerate. I have to clean up the kitchen immediately after cooking, I cannot put it off. Pretty much all the chores have to be done on time and done well or I will be inconsiderate. I know I should be a responsible person, but having to not disappoint other people is a new kind of pressure. This is pushing me to procrastinate chores less and be more diligent about cleaning so that is good, but I do feel weary at times.
Those are the things I wish I had known before moving out of my family home. I hope this helps those who are planning to move out. Let me know your thoughts in the comments and be sure to check back, I will be posting more about moving out and being on my own. Thank you for reading!