We have all been there, moving out for the first time. Taking those first daunting steps towards independence, leaving the comfort of our parents’ home. We know it can be scary and intimidating but fret not, you- like all of us- will be just fine!
Speaking from my own experience, moving out of my parents’ home was a huge wake up call. I’d never really thought of, or reflected over, much my parents actually did for me while I lived at home. Not saying that I thought that dinner magically appeared on the table every evening or that a little fairy washed and neatly folded my away my cloths every night, but I would lie if I told you that I knew exactly how much time those things take. When I first moved out I was 19 years old and straight out of high school. I spend the summer at home with my parents but when fall came around I wanted a new adventure so I decided to move to the US as an au pair. Thankfully this meant that I still was partly looked after and I could ease in to this whole independence thing since I still had someone that cleaned my room and bathroom and kept the fridge filled at all times. I did however have to learn how to use the washing machine and dryer, the gas cooker and the broiler (all new stuff to me!) and stand on my own two feet in a strange country using a language that wasn’t my mother tongue. But guess what- I did just fine, and not only that, I loved it so much that once my time in the states was over I decided to head for my next adventure- London!
This time around I realized I had to go all the way and truly be independent. No more helping hands from either parents or surrogate parents. This time it was just me and my best friend. High in spirits, a little naive and probably pretty high on life we arrived in London and figured that this whole grown up thing couldn’t be too difficult could it? Well, turned out it could! Just finding a place to stay that we felt lived up to our expectations in terms of standard, that was located in our desired areas and within our budget proved to be a more difficult task than expected. Finally after weeks of endless apartment viewings we found the “one”- this is it, we though, we’ve found our perfect flat- let’s move in! Guess our first hit of reality was realizing that here in UK a month is not considered to be 4 weeks as we naturally assumed, its 4.3 weeks and it might sound insignificant but that little revelation meant the flat was no longer within our budget L damn! What do we do now? Ask mum and dad for a loan? Thought not- we’re being independent over here! So we kept on looking at other flats but nothing came close to the “one” and a week or two later we called the agent up to see if the flat was still on the market and figured that the amount the landlord was losing by having the flat empty would soon mount up to the amount we’d need to get it discounted by. So we made him an offer of the maximum price we could pay and said that we’d take it immediately. Luckily enough, he accepted our offer- we were back on track! Now to the next problem, as a foreigner with no credit history in the UK we were asked to pay 6 months’ rent up front- 6 months!! And have our parents act as a guarantor, ok I admit, maybe not as independent as we would’ve wanted to be, but in the end it was just a document and thankfully their obligations never had to be enforced.
We finally had our own home and life could begin for real. This is when it really hits you- the amount of responsibility you parents have. We had to set up electricity, water and internet accounts in our name. Apply for a national insurance number to be eligible for work, register with a GP, organize insurance and lord knows what. But the matter of fact is that, as you go along you learn and you realize what needs to be done. We also learned that you have to clean more often than you might like to, that long hot showers are EXPENSIVE, that the freezer needs to be defrosted occasionally and that every now and then your pipes get clogged up. Trust me, no one likes to clear the drains but unfortunately it is one of those things that just have to be done. Despite all the responsibility and sometimes time-consuming tasks that comes with having your own place being on your own is the best thing. The feeling of accomplishment and proudness of boing your own person and resolving your problems yourself is just awesome. It’s such a freedom to live on your own and no matter how much I love my parents I know we’re all much happier when I’m at my own place.
What I wanted to show all of you soon to be new flatsharers is that even if it feels daunting and scary and even overwhelming now, I’m positive you will be totally fine and more than that love the fact that you made the decision to move out and get your own place. There’s no doubt in my mind that moving out will be a ride, but it is certainly one worth taking.
Best of luck and have fun!