I was dying to move out of my parents' house after high school, and I think many of us can relate. I couldn't wait to experience unlimited freedom and what it meant to be a "real adult." I dreamed of living a life without rules, with my best friends right by my side. I loved my parents with all my heart, but I was craving some independence. Once I graduated high school, I finally got my golden ticket to go away to college two hours away from home. It wasn't too far, but it wasn't too close, either. To my surprise, my relationship with my parents improved when I moved out.
I never considered how leaving for college would affect my relationship with my parents. I knew I'd miss them a bit, but my excitement far outweighed any fears I might have had. After a few months, I learned how real the college struggle was.
I found myself calling my parents more often than I thought. All of a sudden, I missed the advice and guidance that I was so longing to get away from. I also began to realize a lot about my role as a daughter and their role as parents. I could actually have conversations with them like a friend as opposed to a child, and it felt so good. Here's how my relationship with my parents changed in these three unexpected ways.
1. They Viewed Me As An Adult
After moving out, I was suddenly faced with my own responsibilities. I was responsible for paying bills, scheduling appointments, and motivating myself when it came to classes and extra-curricular activities. I didn't have anyone looking after me or telling me what to do. This was freeing for both myself and my parents.
It's natural to view someone as a child when you're looking after them (even once they turn 18). But when I became fully responsible for myself, my parents began treating me more like an adult. It made me feel like they respected me and my decisions. This freed up a lot of tension between us.
2. We Spent Quality Time Together And Focused On Being Present
It's easy to get annoyed over the small things when you see someone on a daily basis. It's also easier to take advantage of each other. After all, you see your parents day after day. The truth is that anything could happen at any time, so it's important to cherish the time you do have together.
Time and space apart meant that we'd mainly come together for holidays. Instead of seeing each other every single day, we began seeing each other for life's more important moments. This made every interaction and meeting that much more special. We were sure to focus on being present and enjoying every minute, because life is too short.
3. As Corny As It May Sound, The Distance Really Made My Heart Grow Fonder
With time apart, I appreciated my parents so much more. I started to understand why they did some of the things they did when I was growing up. I especially began to appreciate every sacrifice they made for me. As a result, I began treating them better. I didn't let the small things get to me, and chose to take the high road in arguments. I realized that they were simply doing their best and I owed so much to them.