Last week, I wrote about my experience during my first move. As I write this article, about a year has passed since I moved into my first apartment. This post is going to sound pretty cliche, but, hey, cliches exist for a reason, right? Honestly, I can’t believe how much my life has changed after a year of living on my own.
It’s now “my house”
I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but at some point, I started referring to my apartment as “my house,” and the home I left back in PA became “my mom’s house.” When I travel (to visit my SO, to visit my mom, etc.), I find myself getting homesick for my apartment.
In the past year, I’ve had maintenance complaints, annoying interactions with neighbors, and spent a ton of money on rent, but it’s all been worth it. Despite any of the problems I’ve had, I am so happy in my first apartment. I love the location, I love shopping and cooking for myself, and I LOVE living on my own. I just have so much space, and it’s all mine! Everything I have here is mine. I chose all of it, and I’m responsible for it. I have my own kitchen, and my own living room. I can keep it all however I want it to be. If I want to hang out with friends, I get to invite them into my home.
…but it’s work
I’ve learned how much work it is to be on my own. There’s no one to clean up my messes for me, so if I don’t scrub my kitchen every few weeks, I end up cooking in filth. I never understood why my mom used to feel the need to vacuum so frequently, until I went a month without doing it here–boy was that gross. Keeping track of bills, sitting on hold with the front desk, and forcing myself to buy and eat vegetables even though I don’t like them very much? All of it is hard.
However, I’ve also become so much more confident and independent than I was a year ago. I pay bills (almost always on time), I drive to the laundromat every month or so, and I shop for my own groceries and make my own meals. I make grocery lists, which I sometimes even remember to bring to the store with me. When my AC broke, I handled all the necessary phone calls to get it fixed. I make appointments for things without even conferring with my mother and pay for them all myself.
I’ve started to view myself as an adult
I have a friend here who still lives in her childhood home, and sometimes I find myself feeling jealous of her. Her parents still buy her groceries and cook her meals, and she doesn’t have to worry about paying rent. She can keep her AC turned as cold as she wants, because she’s not the one in charge of the electric bill. But she also doesn’t have any space to herself. She has a whole set of rules and restrictions she has to abide by. And, in all honesty, she’s never had to learn how to fend for herself. I see myself as an honest-to-god adult; she still thinks of herself as a high-school student, four years after graduating.
I’ve learned to drive in crazy traffic
I remember how I felt the first time I drove around Memphis by myself–panicked, terrified, and convinced I was going to die in a horrible wreck. Now, I can manage these roads like a pro. I drive around here like I’m a Memphis native (except I use more turn-signals than most of the natives, and still refuse to tailgate other drivers). I live here on my own, needing to navigate without help, and you know what? I can do it.
I sometimes still need advice from mom
Yeah, I still call my mom pretty often, sometimes just to talk, and other times because I have genuine questions I really need her help with. And sure, I get lonely sometimes and miss having someone to take care of me, whether it’s a parent or an overprotective college administration. But despite all that, I am so happy with life in my first apartment. I love everything about it, from the tiny, useless water-heater, to the insane levels of independence I’ve reached.