This summer, after my freshman year, I decided it was time to take flight. Not on a plane to Europe (I wish), but flight out of my nest, away from my family. It’s a big step in everyone’s life that has to happen sooner or later, and though it might be the scariest thing your 20-something-self has ever done, I promise it’s also the most life-changing thing you’ll do.
1. Become more money conscious
When you have an empty kitchen and only $50 to grocery shop with, you really start to see the value in money. It can be hard to limit “fun money," but in the end, your full stomach and parents will thank you, and on pay day, your savings will thank you too.
2. Understand the importance of cleaning
I doubt all of you reading this are going to be on the next episode of "Hoarders," but not everyone can be clean all the time. Living on your own basically ignites your inner housekeeper. There’s something about having your own, personal space that urges you to keep it as clean and organized as possible. If this instinct doesn't happen for you, you'll appreciate cleaning as soon as you spot maggots in that two-week-old trash you haven't taken out.
3. Finally get over your fear of spiders
This might take some time, and happens at a last resort. It’s either fall asleep with the fear of a spider crawling away from that corner in the ceiling, or take matters into your own hand. Not going to lie, this is the most grown-up step I’ve probably taken. I bet my dad is so happy I finally grew some balls.
4. Learn to cook
A person can only rely on frozen pizza and Steak n’ Shake for so long. Along with your new frugality, you’ll realize fresh ingredients are usually cheaper than quick frozen items, and there are so many cool ways to cook them. Just be sure to have your fire extinguisher ready.
5. Become more responsible
This comes naturally with having to fend for yourself and having your own space to take care. Hopefully at this point in your life you’re a little responsible, but by being on your own, you’ll remember to lock your doors and car, turn the oven off, and do laundry when you run out of underwear. If you’re lucky, you might become so responsible you’ll pay your bills on time and even take out your trash before it overflows.
6. Gain independence
You’ll learn to appreciate the time you have to yourself. Yes it’s fun to be surrounded by friends, especially when living on your own, but alone time is important to growing up. You’ll learn to stand on your own two feet and how to take care of yourself. Also, there’s no curfew when you’re the woman of the house!
7. Value relationships
Along with independence, living on your own makes relationships stronger. You’ll have to put effort into them that maybe wasn’t needed when you saw them in your dorm every day. Make phone calls, go on dates, and have all the movie nights Netflix can handle. You’ll come to find this helps weed out the bad, or lackluster relationships in your life as well. If you try to reach out and are getting nothing in return, maybe they don’t deserve to be a part of your chic new adult life.
8. Become the next star of HGTV
You have a space that is all your own, now it just needs some personalization. Pinterest will become a BFF for cheap and cute decorating ideas, and soon you’ll find you’d rather spend on home décor than new shoes. Trust me, Joanna Gaines would be so proud of my place.
Living on your own is a big step—it’s part terrifying part pure excitement. Eventually, we all have to leave the nest, and odds are, it’ll be the best thing that’s ever happened to you.