When I signed the lease to my new apartment, I felt what everyone feels: excited.
I was excited over the beginning of a new phase in my life.
I was excited over figuring out where I'd place the gray couch, my favorite reading chair and my picture of Audrey Hepburn.
I was excited for taking the next big step and living with my best friend and the man I'm eventually going to marry.
Moving in together is a big step.
But, I've learned leaving home is, too.
The morning of my last day at my parents' house was met with excitement.
We had normal conversations.
We drank coffee at the dining room table, we went over the plans for the day and how much fun the past weekend was.
It didn't hit me I was actually moving out until the moving truck came, and they removed my favorite artwork from my wall and brought boxes full of memories down the stairs.
Suddenly, I was left in the upstairs bedroom that only hinted that I lived there earlier that day.
I wrapped my arms around the cat's neck, hugged him and told him this is only temporary.
I grabbed my purse and walked out the door, leaving behind my home.
I cried for two days straight, and I didn't even want to talk to my mom on the phone the first morning at my new apartment because my emotions were running too high.
The place was pretty.
But, it didn't have my mom, who would be scrambling around Monday morning searching for dress slacks that didn't drag past her ankles.
The kitchen was large.
But, it didn't have my dad's cup of coffee still cooling in the microwave because he forgot to take it out again.
The bedroom furniture was gorgeous.
But, it didn't have my mattress with a dent the shape of my body in it.
This is not the first time I moved out, either.
I moved out for the first time when I was 18 years old, fresh out of high school.
I was on my own for almost three years before circumstances allowed me the opportunity to move back home until I got back on my feet.
When I moved back in, it felt weird because I was so used to being in "my house" that being under my parents' roof felt foreign.
Fast-forward four years later, and choosing to move out again left me feeling a whole new set of emotions.
For one, when you're 18, you're not thinking about anything other than your freedom.
There are no curfews.
There's no having to call mom and dad to let them know where you're going.
There's no having to listen to the house rules.
There's no having to eat your veggies or staying up as late as you want without mom reminding you about finals and the importance of a good night's sleep.
At 18, when you move out of your parents' house, you focus on what your apartment is not.
But when you move out at 25, you think about what your apartment is.
Living at home is about being surrounded by family 24/7.
It's being taken care of if you're sick and having your mom insist on making you a bowl of chicken soup.
It's about having someone there to help you when you need it.
It's about being in the comfort of your home that houses all the memories, from eighth grade graduation to your first prom.
It's about all of the incidental, sweet, unpublicized moments spent between just you and your mom or dad and how those memories are what makes leaving them behind so difficult.
When you move out at 25, it signifies a new undertaking.
Maybe you're like me, and taking the plunge is about getting a new home for you and your boyfriend.
Or maybe, you're moving in with your best friend.
Or maybe, you need to move for work or because you want a new zip code.
Or maybe, you're getting married or just got married.
Or maybe, you're having a baby and you decided you need more room.
Whatever it is, moving out at 25 isn't done on a whim.
It's planned. It's thought-out.
You're making the decision because you're about to enter a new stage in your life.
At the end of the day, the transition is difficult, and you may be a giant cry baby, like me.
But over time, things settle down, and your new life will become one you won't compare to the one living under your parents' roof.
You'll be entering a new stage in life.
Although every big step we take can be like venturing into the unknown, we all have to do it sometime.