I was once asked “what is the best decision you ever made in your life?”, without hesitation I answered – moving out of my parents’ house. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mom and my dad and I miss them a lot but I never regret taking that big leap. We Filipinos have that family oriented culture wherein we stay with our parents at least until we are at the right age to get married and have our own family. Most of us however are craving that western liberal notion of independence. Of course, some of us do it not because we want to but because we need to. Maybe it’s work related or it’s plainly just about time.
It’s been four years since I decided to exploit my independence and try to make it on my own. I’ve had my share of doubts and fears, of bliss and excitement cause hey, you now have that scary big wide world to deal with, so flying out of your nest is a guaranteed cause of extreme emotions.
So for all of you brave souls out there, here are some tips to help you decide if it’s now time to move out of your comfort zone and how to keep your new found liberty in order.
Always think twice – thrice – before making the decision.
Ask yourself this – Am I ready to be self-dependent? Do I have the means to support myself? Am I moving out for the right reasons? If you can honestly answer Yes to all of these questions then congratulations to you. You are now off to a world of sacrifices and on to the next..
Moolah – Yes, it’s a VERY big factor (unless your parents will finance you then that’s not independence – and this post is not for you).
Before anything else you must have a stable source of income. Your parents might be all generous at first and hand you that “starter kit” to your independence but hey, it’s your decision to move out. Support yourself – financially! Your parents have done enough for you and it’s now time to learn how to budget your own expenses. Let them enjoy life again now that you’re out of their hands.
Remember those basic needs of an individual we learned in grade school – shelter, food, water and clothing? You need to pay for those now without mom and dad. Oh, and don’t forget all the other requirements for you to have a decent way of living like appliances, furniture and cleaning products and lastly the most important one for me – you still need to SAVE ten percent (preferably more) of your income every month. Still think you’re ready? If yes, then It’s now time to..
Find the right place – not perfect – just ‘right’.
When I decided to move out, I was simply wasn’t ready. I joined my sorority sisters in looking for an apartment in Makati for the reason that it’s such a hassle to commute. Braving the rush hour riding an MRT is a big no-no for me (I’m pretty sure most of you can relate to #MRTchronicles). My parents did not approve yet the stubborn child in me went anyway. I packed my stuff and rented this two-bedroom unit together with five other girls. I love my housemates but the apartment? Well what can I say.. I think we were able to see all of the crawling, gliding, walking, flying, running insects and rodents in Manila. Who knows, we might have discovered a new species of insect? So after more than a year of living with friends (whom I miss so much) and those nasty crawlers (which I hope I’d never encounter again), I decided to move out and live on my own and this time, I followed all the right rules.
When searching for a place remember to take your time. Don’t rush into it. You don’t want to get stuck with something crappy just because you signed a contract of lease right away. List all your requirements but remember not all of it will be met. My advise – (1) know your budget, (2) find the right place with a good neighborhood, and when you found one you think might fit the first two (3) don’t forget to inspect the unit from top to bottom and every corners. Never be afraid to ask any questions. This will save you from a lot of regret.
Hide a spare key – not just one but two.
Once you’ve found that one place you know you won’t regret living in, what would be the first thing on your to-do list? Change the existing locks and add one more. Don’t sleep there on the first night with the house keys you got from your landlord. The old owner of the place might come barging at your door and opening it in the middle of the night all drunk just because you did not change the locks. Or something even worse? But seriously, change it and remember to always lock the door and close the windows when you’re not at home. Safety and security is of utmost importance and yep, hide a spare key. There is a really good chance that you might lock yourself out so I recommend to have spare keys. Give it to someone you trust or leave one in your office.
Choose your housemates/flatmates wisely.
Seventy percent of you who are planning to move out will be living with a housemate to cut on rental and living expenses. This is totally fine as long as you are comfortable with the person you will be living with. Just remember that there are also a lot of adjustments you need to do when living with a housemate that is not at all related to you. Their preferences and living habits may be way different than yours and there will be disagreements. Communication is the key to having a harmonious relationship with your housemates. You will then come to realize that it’s so fun to be with them especially at the end of a rough day. Just sharing a good laugh makes all the negative vibes go away.
Do your own laundry, wash those dirty dishes and clean that bathroom.
Don’t be lazy. Move your butt and clean. You embraced adulthood so love whatever it comes with and that includes doing your own chores. Please don’t let those dirty laundry sit for one month, that’s just gross.
Set up rat traps and kill cockroaches.
Somehow those nasty crawlers and squeaking furred animal will get inside your most loved place. What to do? Kill them. The only good roach is a dead roach! They’re pests so killing is acceptable.
Since your mom is not there to scold you into eating healthy foods, you can now have take outs and canned goods every night.
Please don’t. I repeat – please don’t.
You don’t want to look back one day while you’re at your deathbed at the age of 40 and say “I regret having those salty fries and Pancit Canton for dinner, please take me back. I still want to live longer”.
Learn to cook for yourself and cook healthy food. This is also a very good skill to teach your future children.
Learn how to use that screw driver and wrench.
The only two things my dad gave to me when I decided to live on my own is his old hammer and screw driver (+). It’s basically saying,“you will need these now so go and learn to fix stuff on your own”. Prepare to face days when you impulsively buy that bookshelf which you would need to assemble on your own. Just have a toolbox handy with all the basic tools in it, you’ll never know when you’re gonna need it.
Prepare for emergencies.
1) First aid kit and a fire extinguisher (seriously even a small one wouldn’t hurt).
2) Extra bottles of water and easy to cook food
3) Candles, matches, flash lights and a whistle.
4) That basic AM radio – yes, AM where there is actually news to hear.
**above list c/o the boyfriend 🙂
Find ways to attract cats.
Just what people say, “cats are like chips, you can’t have just one.”
Or dogs, whatever.
I guess what I want to say is just know how to keep yourself entertained. Remember that moving out means having a LOT of alone time (unless if the boyfriend/girlfriend comes over).
**photo above taken from cats,cats everywhere
Decorate and invest in good furniture and appliances.
This will actually validate that your decision to move out is successful. Because you do have some spare money to buy those nice furniture that matches your wall and that flat screen TV you’ve been eyeing on for months now.
Love your neighbors.
Keep a healthy relationship with them because they can help you when you need small favors. Just like when you need to ask for a little salt to put in your Chopsuey just because you’re too lazy to go out and buy one.
Never be afraid to ask for help.
There will come a time in your journey of independence when you’ve used up all your resources. Maybe you decided to quit your job because you’re burnt out at work and you realized that you don’t have enough savings to get you by that two to three months of unemployment. You then finally admit that it’s now time to ask help from your parents or friends. Go ahead and ask for help. Just remember to pay them back when you’ve managed to get back on your feet. Don’t be afraid to make the wrong choices because that is where you will learn – it’s part of being independent.
Now that you’ve established that you’re ready to move out, you have nothing else to do but enjoy your new found freedom. I know I am! 🙂
There you go guys, I hope I was able to help some of you out there who’s contemplating if it’s time to take that big leap to adulthood. With an open mind and a little courage, you will surely be on your way. Wishing you enjoyed this one and feel free to comment about anything under the sun.
Sending you cat hugs from across the web. Till’ next time! 🙂