Growing up, I believed I had a clear vision of what my life would be like as an adult. I'd move out of my family's house, and into my very own apartment in Los Angeles or New York City. I'd land my dream job as a television writer (which, of course, would need a stylish wardrobe fit for the role), and fill up my apartment with cozy, Pinterest-worthy decor. I always assumed I'd be the same old "me" with just an upgraded living space. It wasn't until I moved into my current apartment when I truly realized just how different my life would be. Looking back, I can see now how my life changed when I decided to live on my own.
Since I was born, I've been surrounded by people. Growing up, it was my family. In college and after college, I had roommates. Other than the occasional weekend when my roomies were out of town and I had the place all to myself, I always had someone to eat dinner with, vent to about my day when I got home from work, and to make chores fun on our designated cleaning day. Although living with other people has its perks, it didn't really allow for me to grow and thrive as an individual.
I Became An Independent Adult
I'm the baby of my family. If you are as well, you know that being the youngest child comes with its fair share of pros and cons. Your older siblings have your back and give you some of the best pointers to navigating school and relationships, but you also deal with your parents' firm grip. You become dependent on them. They watched every other child leave the nest, and there you were, the last of their kids to go.
When I decided to move out, I had to figure things out on my own. Google became my best friend when I frantically typed, "How do I unclog my shower drain?" along with, "What the heck is rent stabilization?" I had to remind myself of things like paying rent on the first of the month and getting toilet paper when I ran out, because I didn't have someone else there to do those things for me. I even had to brave the occasional spider all by myself when it decided to crash my living space. (SOS!)
Sure, I still called my mom a lot, but after a while, it was a matter of pride that I figured these things out on my own.
I Found Peace In Being Alone
I'll admit, moving out on my own was a major adjustment. I was so used to being surrounded by people, that it was difficult getting comfortable with being all by myself. There were times when I got so lonely that I broke down into tears. I called my mom, because she always made me feel better, but at the same time, I didn't want to tell her everything. I finally had my dream apartment, and didn't want her to think I couldn't handle it.
In those moments of self-reflection, I really got to know who I am and what I enjoy. I didn't realize how much I needed "me time" until I was given an unlimited amount of it. I started reading more, caught up on TV shows I had been putting off, and worked on more personal projects. There's even an entire DIY basket at my place filled with rhinestones, a glue gun, and yarn for arts and crafts projects whenever I feel like letting my creativity shine.
There are many Saturday nights when I'm totally fine saying "no" to going out with the girls, because I just need a relaxing night at home by myself. As far as I'm concerned, it's about as important as a power nap in the middle of the day.
I Established My Own Unique Style
Having my own living space meant having a blank canvas to decorate however I wanted. At first, I wasn't entirely sure what my style was. My childhood bedroom was a mixture of things my parents bought me, hand-me downs, and neon Jonas Brothers posters hanging on the walls. In college, I had the standard dorm room furniture, so what would this new space look like?
Of course, I couldn't afford to shop at the priciest boutiques for lamps and throw blankets, but I could still find some gems within my budget. Just going with what caught my eye, I now look at my apartment and get a better sense of who I am.
My purple couch alone shows that I'm a colorful, vibrant person who also lives for comfort. I've filled my bookshelves and walls with framed pictures of my friends and family, because I want to be able to see loved ones everywhere. I still have some Jonas Brothers pillow cases, because the nostalgia will forever be all too real with me. Taking a step back and looking at my apartment, I realize it has the same cozy feel of my childhood bedroom, but looks like an independent woman's home.
Since moving out on my own, I've realized that I'm now letting the inner me shine, and I put myself first. Even though I'm still technically the baby of the family, I make all of my own decisions. I'm who I'm meant to be, and could not be happier.