Moving out: an adventure well worth the challenges

Moving out of a childhood home is almost always a welcome change for people my age. In a time when teenagers are becoming adults and craving more independence, parents simultaneously often try to cling to their children harder, which can lead to conflict and an even greater desire on the adolescent’s part to move out of the house. That is the situation that I was facing for the past few months, until one week ago when I packed up my things and moved into my first apartment.
I was lucky enough to have a friend whose roommate was leaving for a long-term trip and would be gone for two months, leaving an empty room that was already fully furnished. When I was invited to stay for a few months for only a partial share of the rent, I jumped at the opportunity. I would finally be able to do anything I wanted, at any time that I wanted, and I immediately agreed.
At the time, I was facing significant conflict with my parents over wanting more independence, which is a common occurrence. My parents always kept a location tracker on my phone so they could see where I was at all times, which I definitely wanted to break away from. At 19 years old, it seemed completely unreasonable and I wanted to have the freedom and privacy to go where I pleased without my parents breathing down my neck. They reluctantly agreed, and we struck a deal that I would get some financial assistance based on how many college credits I took. Logistically it would work out perfectly, but I could tell that my parents were still discontent with me leaving the house.
On the first of October, I packed up most of my things and hauled them up to the fifth floor of my new apartment. I think something a lot of people don’t realize is the huge amount of random stuff that accumulates over time. I thought I would be able to take everything over in one or two trips, but it ended up being five loads in my little hatchback. Luckily, I only had to drive for 15 minutes to get from my house to the apartment, and I was set up and settled in by the evening.
My first night in the apartment was spent celebrating the fact that I could stay up as late as I wanted. My parents would always go to sleep by 10:00 p.m., at which point I would need to stay in my room and be quiet due to how small my house was and how easily they woke up. But once I moved into the apartment, my roommate and I were both on the same sleep schedule, and we did a full week’s worth of grocery shopping at 2:00 a.m., which I would highly recommend. Not having to put up with other shoppers clogging up the isles made grocery shopping much more enjoyable and laid back.
This new habit of staying up later than usual did have its repercussions though – getting up for morning classes became significantly harder. When the apartment stayed bright and active until the early morning hours, there was not much encouragement to sleep at a reasonable time and I definitely didn’t get as much sleep as I think I should have. On top of that, I really misjudged the amount of food that I eat on a regular week, and had to scramble to freeze food or eat things quickly to avoid items going bad, and I didn’t even do that successfully. That was my first experience with the learning curve of moving out.
As far as my relationship with my parents, things have greatly improved after a short week of moving out. Although I was grouchy with my parents and rarely talked to them while I was living in the house, I now enjoy telling them about my days, and there is no tension due to the fact that they no longer have any responsibility to my actions. It was a quick realization to me that I greatly value my relationship with my parents, and although I am still trying to figure out how to not eat top ramen every day, moving out was the right choice.
Without the conflict that constantly arose from my parents trying to control my life, the only thing left is a more friendly and supportive relationship that is more productive for all of us. My mom told me that she can more easily talk to me because she knows now that she doesn’t need to know every detail of my life, and I feel the same.
While I was living in the house, I was so desperate to break away and become more independent from my parents that I was unable to enjoy their presence. Now that I have all the space that I need, I can approach them with much more openness and joy to see them. Although it was hard on them that I had to more out to get to this point, it was proven that moving out at a certain age is perfectly natural and beneficial, and does not have to cause distance between parents and child – in fact, it can bring them together.
Of course, moving out is not without its challenges. Even though I am in a comfortable apartment, have my own room and everything I need, the big transition showed through to my work and classes. I had to develop a whole new routine, figure out how long it took to get to class, what time I needed to wake up in the morning and a multitude of other things that I did not expect to be so complicated when they all came together.
Since I’ve been moved out, I discovered a newfound gratitude for my parents support. I never imagined how complicated it would be to remember which cleaning products work well, what laundry detergent to buy and how quickly shampoo runs out when you don’t have a backup. The one thing that I have not struggled with is how to cook – luckily, my dad taught me from a young age how to cook with fresh ingredients in a bunch of different ways, so I know how to put ingredients together to make varied meals. The same can’t be said for my roommates, so I’ve already gotten stuck making dinner for them.
All in all, I’m glad I moved out. I’m sure I will discover new challenges over time, and I’ll probably end up calling my mom at some point to ask how much fabric softener to put in a load of laundry, or how to write a check. The harmony with my parents and freedom is well worth the newfound challenges, and although I’m not compeltely anxiety-free about the future, I am feeling confident and can’t wait to spring into adulthood.