What it’s like to move away from home for the first time

Home Alone At Last: The Seven Stages of Solo Living

first-time-apartment2You may have already made the move out of mom and dads and into your own place or perhaps relocation is planned for the not too distant future. There are most likely mixed emotions about the prospect of living alone and away from parents – everything from excitement and anticipation, to fright and freedom. Whether you just unpacked your last box at your first place or you are preparing to make the move, here are the seven stages of your first solo living experience:

Fear: Excitement can quickly turn to fear once you are home alone. It can range from dread at having to be alone at night, the anxiety of being responsible for bills, or trepidation at finding the nearest grocery store. Perhaps you have moved to an entirely new city and there is worry about making new friends or apprehension about eating out alone. This is temporary – and entirely expected. You just made a big move, literally and figuratively speaking. Give yourself some time to adjust.

Choice: Suddenly, what is for dinner is not a question you are asking mom anymore? It is a question you are asking yourself! How liberating to be the one deciding what to watch on TV, what to eat, when to eat and what time you go to bed. Music can be listened to at any volume at any hour of the day and nobody is checking to see if you bed is made. Every choice you make is yours and yours alone. Of course, not every choice you make will be a good one. Live and learn.

Homesick: There will come a time when you will be homesick, after all home is where the hear it. Whether you just want to be back home or you are sick, or a little of both, the wish for mom’s chicken soup or dad’s helping hand to clean your car will most certainly arise. While you can always go home for a visit, it is nice to remember that your new home is where you can always come back to – alone.

Independence: Once the fear and homesick phases have passed and the realization that you are the master of your domain, it is wonderful to recognize that you are embarking on a new path. One that is independent of anyone else and yours alone. The liberation of making your own home and marking your own life is the singular moment that will define your old life from your new life.

Responsibility: With your own place comes your own set of responsibilities. Most important of those are the financial obligations of rent and utilities, together with upkeep and maintenance of your home. Most likely, your own place comes with a change in job or school. While you have choices you can make – both good and bad – it is important to be accountable to yourself and those that are counting on you.

Reality: This is when the truth about your experience is settling in. You have made the move, made good on your responsibilities and you are managing your day-to-day life on your own. Note this moment and hold on to it – you are an adult now.

Respect: Finally, the time will come where you will be thankful for everything your parents did for you before you made the move. The breakfasts before school, the hot dinners after a long day, the shuttling from event to event, the clean laundry, and the love and hugs always at the ready. Pick up the phone and thank them – and invite them over for dinner at your new place too.