Leaving home is one of those time-honoured rites of passage. In theory most people will leave home at some point in their lives, usually by choice but unfortunately not always. No matter the circumstances however, leaving home is always a pretty steep learning curve.
I left home at 18 to go to university, and it was a huge culture shock. I think I was better prepared than a lot of the people my own age when I moved out. I knew how to use a washing machine, I could cook a few basic meals for myself, and I was already used to organising my own doctor’s appointments. I still had a lot to learn though.
There’s a temptation when you do your own food shopping for the first time to buy all those foods your parents never let you have as a kid. And then you realise exactly why they never let you have them all the time, that shit’s expensive and really not that filling or good for you. Sometimes you have to learn the hard way exactly why your parents never let you have a whole cake for dinner.
You learn quickly exactly how to shop on a budget. Though cooking just for one is a skill I never fully mastered, I always seem to end up making way too much mashed potato. You learn how often you need to hoover your room, and how to clean your bathroom to avoid getting build up.
You also learn exactly how quickly a cup left on the side can become a science experiment, and then how to clean that same cup thoroughly enough so you can use it again without it being expensive. And somehow, if you’re in shared housing no matter how much cutlery you start with, you’ll end up with one fork, three knives, and all the spoons you started with.
Living away from home is hard. But moving back home after living on your own for a while? That shit is so much harder. There’s a level of independence you get used to, the fact that where before you could just change plans last minute and go out for food/drinks with friends, now you have to let people know where you’re going, with who, and how long you’re going to be out a lot.
Another thing about living at home that I miss personally is cooking. Whilst I appreciate on days I just can’t be bothered, having someone else cook my meals for me is great, the rest of the time it completely sucks. I miss making the meals that I like, and cooking things the way that I like to cook them. I’m sick of eating vegetables and mashed potatoes that have come out of a premade microwavable packet. Even if I offered to cook there’d be someone hovering over my shoulder trying to “help,” or telling me I’m doing it wrong and therefore all they’re actually succeeding in doing is pissing me off.
Leaving home is scary, and terrifying, and wonderful. But it’s so so worth it.