If you’re a baby bird that’s just flown her nest - you’ve finally moved out of mom and dad’s house and you’re on your own - you might need some tips for being independent to get you through. It’s a tough time, I know! But there’s nothing to fear, and with these tips for being independent you’ll be well equipped for whatever you might face.
1. Know Your Neighborhood
This is one of the tips for being independent most people overlook, but it’s so important! Knowing your way around your neighborhood is crucial not only for your safety, but also for your independence! Do you want to have to rely on someone else for directions whenever you go somewhere? Of course not! When you first move in by yourself, you should use your entire first week there to drive or walk around and get to know the area. Find alternative routes home and memorize them. Take note of the shops and other important buildings like police departments and fire stations.
2. Be Money Smart
Unfortunately, true independence can only be gained through financial stability. I know with all the insanity of getting on your feet, finding a job is one of the most difficult aspects. But having some means of income is crucial and shouldn’t be put off. If you haven’t moved out yet but are going to in a few months, start saving money now! That pair of stilettos might be calling your name, but wouldn’t you rather have money to pay your rent?
3. Take Care of Your Needs
There is nothing worse than coming home exhausted and hungry and wanting nothing more than a warm dinner… and there’s no food in the kitchen. It’s so easy to forget about if you’ve had mom doing the groceries for years, but when it’s you on your lonesome, there’s no one else to get it done but you. Especially if you moved out of state, or to another country. Doing things like keeping lists of necessities and setting reminders on your phone to go shopping once a week will take care of the no food problem.
4. It’s Okay to Ask for Help
Even the most independent person can’t do everything alone. Sometimes you’ll need help, and that’s okay. Don’t be afraid to call a friend or relative if you really feel in over your head. If you’re having a problem that can be fixed, let someone help you so you’ll know what to do the next time.
5. Realize You Can do It Yourself
Yes, asking for help is fine, but before you do that, try and solve the problem yourself. I’m not a master carpenter or anything, but I know my way around tools and can build just about anything if I know where to start. So when it came time to build my bookshelf, I could’ve just suffered through the mess for a few days while I waited for my dad to come over and build it… or I could’ve grabbed the screw gun and some screws and put it up myself. Which I did. And I must say, it looks gorgeous! Never underestimate what you can do yourself.
6. Keep It Clean
It is SO easy to drop clothes on the floor and leave dishes in the sink when you don’t have mom nagging you (sorry mom!) to pick it up all the time. Before long, your beautiful living space turns into a messy nightmare! You don’t have to go all 50s housewife and scrub the place down every weekend, but just picking up little things here and there will make a world of difference.
7. Don’t Go Crazy
You’ve got a place to yourself now! WOO! Time to go partying every night and sleep all day, right? Wrong. A huge part of independence is knowing when to have fun, and when to be responsible. Of course it’s okay to go to parties and enjoy yourself. But when you start getting completely off-balance drunk every night and don’t get home until 5 AM on a daily basis, that’s taking it overboard. Restraint is a huge factor for independence.
8. Learn to Cook
Okay, so learning to cook isn’t strictly necessary, but being able to whip up a delicious meal whenever you want will always be better than having to rely on fast food and take out. Pizza may seem like the easy-way out, but all the price of always ordering out adds up very soon and so do the extra pounds. Becoming a versatile cook will be a huge benefit to you in every way. No, pouring cereal does not count.
9. Be Brave!
The biggest thing you need to be completely independent is bravery. It’s hard to live on your own and support yourself, but it’s doable. Even if you’re afraid you won’t be able to make it, you will, I promise. Everyone had doubts and fears, but overcoming them is the last step to being completely independent.
As much as we love our parents, we can’t stay with them forever. Are you recently independent? How has the change been for you, and what are some ways you dealt with it?