What I Learned Living On My Own For The First Time

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first apartment

I officially moved out of my parents’ house June 1, 2013. By July 3rd I was scrambling to find a new apartment on Craigslist because my three, male roommates had stolen hundreds of dollars from me and when I confronted them about it they just shrugged their dumb, twenty-something boy shoulders and played stupid. I moved all of my stuff to a friend’s place then quickly hustled over the next seven days to find a new place. I found what is essentially my dream, twenty-something place with three awesome lady roommates. Life after college can be tricky but it’s supposed to be, right? So here is what I learned in about the last six months I’ve been out on my own.

I am not bad with money, I just don’t actually have any.

This is important. I know it’s a privilege to live in New York City but I was really beating myself up about being bad with money. I figured I must have been splurging all the time even though I had nothing to show for it. Nope. After reviewing my bank statements there is no splurging. I didn’t buy clothes with the exception of a winter coat from H&M that was on sale for $24.99. I didn’t go out much at all. (Hello, Netflix.) When I did go out I hardly spent any money. All of my cash went to rent, bills and groceries. Not having money sucks but knowing that I didn’t have some weird spending problem was a huge relief. It is just the state of things. Things aren’t supposed to be perfect in your twenties and money typically is one of those key imperfect things. It was important for me to know that I could be resourceful, that I could pay my bills on time, that I could make it in the big city, even if I wasn’t popping bottles in a limousine.

Bills Suck. Paying Rent Sucks. I want my mommy.

No, really, they suck more than I’d ever imagined. Really, I have to pay $800 a month to live in a 8×10 foot room? WHAT? It’s like a tax for just living, on top of all the other arbitrary taxes I have to pay. Oh and by the way, taxes are like 25% of what you make. THAT IS SO MUCH. Really? I have to put 25% of what I make back into the “government” so that I can still not have healthcare and allow the government to spy on my text messages, while they cut the actual meaningful social programs like food stamps and welfare, all the while expanding the military? OK. SURE. Sounds good.

What I mean to say is that I really, really learned to appreciate my parents.Bills suck but raising two kids and having to pay bills must suck even more. My dad is a security guard and my mom is mentally ill. It was not an easy combination but they always paid their rent on the first of the month, the bills the first week they got them, there was always food on the table—they did it.

I have to schedule my own doctor’s appointments. I want my mommy.

I don’t have health insurance but hypothetically speaking if I had to go to the doctor, I’d have to call the doctor myself? My mommy wouldn’t call? EXCUSE ME? /cries

Student Loans.

Lol. I have to pay those back IRL?

Working a 9 to 5ish isn’t the worst.

We all have to do what we have to in order to make ends meet but ideally we should be working toward something we enjoy or at least can stand. I get to be a writer in NYC. Whenever I feel blegh about my existence there are plenty of people around me to chime in about how cool my job is. You spend most of your life working. 9 hours a day. Plus commuting. Plus sleeping. That doesn’t leave much time you are not working. It’s nice to know that I made the correct decision about pursuing my career and that working the grind isn’t the end of my existence.

The dishes don’t clean themselves.

Sad.

There will be mice.

Ew. I got a cat, tho!

The laundry doesn’t do itself.

It actually costs the same amount for me to put quarters in the machine as it does for me to have the cleaners wash and fold it. Maybe it’s a scam but hey, it’s a luxury to not have to fold my own underwear and I’ll take it.

Lastly, I am completely accountable for my own destiny.

In college you can blame the system, in high school you can blame your parents, in childhood you can blame your naivety but in adulthood your life is in your own hands. Every choice you make you have to own. Maybe you quit your job. Maybe you move across the country. Maybe you go back to school. Maybe you move back home. Just know, there are no constraints. There are no limitations on the choices available to you because you always have the choice and it is your responsibility to make it. No one is going to hold your hand and while that is completely scary, nerve-racking and ominous, it’s also completely freeing.

[Image Via. Shutterstock / Monkey Business Images]

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