Moving Out


Photo by Nicolas Huk

Living on your own. The freedom. The independence. You can do whatever you want when you want it and your parents can’t tell you no. It sounds great but reality has a way of slapping you in the face.

I have always dreamed of moving out and living on my own, even when I was a kid. I wanted to feel like I was an adult and could make my own choices and do what I want, how I wanted, so living on my own became the epitome of that dream. I’m an only child, so growing up I spent a lot of time alone, especially in the summer. During the day when my parents were at work, I was on my own and it was the best time ever. I did whatever I wanted; it was like I owned the house. One of my favorite things to do was stuff I wasn’t allowed to, like eating on the couch and putting on makeup (I wasn’t much of a rebel). I thought when I was finally old enough to move out, it would be like those childhood summers all the time. I would be like the quirky girls in the movies who had those cute little apartments in New York and were fun and confident in a weird way.

I know now that idea is crap because a) no regular college girl could afford to live alone in New York and b) moving out for the first time is hard. Actually, a lot harder than I thought.

To clarify, when I say I want to move out, I mean move to an apartment or something similar. While for some people, the first time they move out is freshmen year of college, but for me, that’s most likely not going to happen. So when I imagine moving out, I don’t imagine the perks of living in a dorm, like provided amenities and meal plans.

The great thing about living alone is you make all the choices about how you live, but the sucky part is you are responsible for everything. You have to fix the fridge if it breaks, you have to make an appointment if you get sick, you have to be the person who talks to the insurance people and remembers payment deadlines. A bunch of teens have to do chores, but I doubt they have to do every single one. Cleaning the bathroom, taking the trash out, doing laundry, and cooking dinner all become your job. Having a roommate or two might help, but if you decide to go out on your own, your workload can double. Every problem becomes your problem and most of these problems cost money to fix.

If you don’t budget, living in an apartment gets expensive, fast. According to Go Banking Rates, across 50 U.S. cities, the median cost of a one bedroom apartment is $1,234 a month, and around $150 for utilities. And that’s just the obvious stuff you have to pay for. NBC News said the average cost of  TV and internet services is $132 per month and it bumps up to $164 if you add your phone bill. The United States Agricultural Department reports the average cost of food in the U.S. ranges from $174 to $348 a month for a single person Add on the cost of car payments, the million types of insurance you need, random fees, and other miscellaneous stuff, and suddenly, your brain become a spreadsheet of all the numbers you need to keep track of.

All that stuff sounds stressful, and I’m already trying to get through senioritis. However, despite the amount of responsibility I would have to take on, my dream of moving out has not wavered. I love change and I never could stay in one place. If I could, I would move constantly and travel everywhere to see how different people around the world lived. I believe that by moving out, I can learn a lot about myself, without the safety blanket of my home. I always felt really proud when I could do things on my own and I want to know that I can take care of myself and solve my own problems.

Moving out is difficult and stressful but it can be exciting and I hope I channel my younger self when living alone felt like an adventure.