Living Independently

Image of a clean small hotel like room with a large window and a man standing at it.

I’ve been living without my parents for about a year now. Throughout my whole senior year I was only living with my sister and her boyfriend. I’ve spent my last year of high school learning how to be independent, and how to live on my own or with roommates. Within this article I’ll try to pass on some things I’ve learned that have made learning how to be an adult easier.

I haven’t really experienced an ordinary transition into adulthood. I didn’t move out of my parents house; My parents moved out of my house. So, my situation is a wee-bit complicated. My sister, her boyfriend and I rent my childhood house from my parents- so essentially my parents bought another house and left me the old one. This means I have a lot of support mechanisms around me and it’s made being independent much less stressful. My parents are my landlords and my roommates are my sister and her boyfriend. I don’t have to worry about it being the end of the world if I miss rent one day. I have 2 adults that I’m very close with that I can learn from; I’m comfortable talking to them about the struggles I have with being an adult. This is the first and most important thing I can tell you. Having the support around you to act as a safety net is essential. Being able to know that if things really start to get bad you won’t end up living in an alley is a big deal. I suggest you don’t cut your ties. Keep the support you have now in your life. Having family and friends you can lean on if times get hard is essential.  

Another thing that I’ve had to learn about is how to be a good roommate. When you share space with people you have to be aware of your effect on the environment. So be aware of the dishes you leave in the sink, be aware of your shoes you left in the middle of the living room. It becomes much easier when you can criticize each other as roommates. Now that doesnt mean yelling at each other, it means “hey you left your dinner dishes from last night in the sink can you go take care of them”.  When you can make that a civil conversation that goes by easily your living situation becomes much more livable. Just be kind to each other and respect each other’s requests. 

However the best suggestion I can give you is don’t get cocky. Don’t start to blow off the responsibilities and good habits you pick up. It’s like when you start a job for the first time; You start off working hard and doing your best, but as you get more comfortable with the workplace and what you’re doing you get sloppier. When it comes to your house you want good habits. Don’t start to think oh I always do the dishes when I get home I’ll do them later tonight. That starts to bleed into every chore you do and it’s hard to get back in the groove after you quit. 

Living alone is hard; It’s a big switch up from living with your parents. But if you do it right and safely it gives you an amazing experience that translates into the rest of your life. You learn to live with people you aren’t family with. You learn to budget yourself with rent, food, and other necessities. Everything you learn while living on your own will help you later in the future.