Even before moving away to University, I knew I did not want to move far from home. The security of knowing my mom was just a short drive away – in my case, 40 minutes away, was something I did not want to lose. At the age of 18, I considered my mom (and still do) to be my best friend and thought of moving away was one of the hardest things I had done so far.
I lived in residence but I was able to drive home almost every weekend – which is what I did most weekends as I really wasn’t into the “party scene”. I lived in residence for my second year as well as I was part of the University’s student council and president of one of the residences on campus. Only after second year did I live entirely on my own – with roommates of course – for the next two years.
While I was living on my own, finding my own transportation, making my own decisions and doing what I wanted to do when I wanted to do them, I did not fully understand what it meant to live on my own until I moved to London, England in August of 2015.
Here are some things I learned living on my own that you may also come to realize:
~ Distance makes the heart grow fonder
I had never been in a long distance relationship before and while it was short-lived for only a couple months, the struggle was VERY real. There were many factors we had to work around as it was tough to speak to one another due to the time difference and our schedules. However, I think it is so important, especially in relationships, to give each other time and space from one another in order to see how you really feel. Can you live life without them? Can you go a day without talking to them? A week? In my case, we couldn’t stand going even a few hours without talking to each other! I believe we learned a lot more about one another because we spent so much talking about everything that was going on in our lives. While it was very difficult at times, the emotions that came with that experience are some I will never forget and I am so lucky to have someone so loving and supportive in my life.
~ You learn to actually cook real food and do laundry
Cooking food is not my specialty – but I do like to bake! Since I couldn’t find mac ‘n cheese anywhere in London, I decided to try buying real food and making real dinners. To do this, I turned to Pinterest. I searched easy dinner recipes to get an idea of what I could make and what I would need to buy. I realized going grocery shopping is one of my favourite things to do – I could be there for hours! After grocery shopping and testing out some recipes, you start learning what you like and what works well together. What I found difficult about cooking my own meals is having to do it every night – it gets tiring and boring after a while! I began learning new recipes and meal prepping to the point where I wouldn’t have to cook for 1-3 days after as I had so many leftovers!
~ Making decisions on your own, for yourself
I am the type of person that likes to talk about and plan every situation prior to acting on it, so when I had to weigh the pros and cons on my own, it was quite challenging! While it was challenging, I truly believe it is extremely beneficial to be forced to make decisions on your own because you will not always have someone to help make decisions for you. Making my own decisions, whether big or small, really taught me how to analyze a situation and decide what is best for me. I guess that is the best part of making decisions on your own and for yourself – it allows you to make choice without having to consider anyone else!
~ Appreciating the people that you once took for granted
When at home or close to home, we sometimes take for granted the amount of time we get to see our friends and family. Living 40 minutes away in University and later on living overseas, has really made me appreciate my family and friends so much more. Distance not only makes the heart grow fonder, but it also makes you realize how valuable your time with your loved ones really are!
If you every get the opportunity to move away from home for a short while, I highly recommend you do it! You will be so thankful for the opportunity and learn so much about yourself and the world around you!
Have you lived on your own before? What was your experience like?