Life has a way of teaching lessons when you are overwhelmed. The more you are exposed to, the easier it is to learn these lessons. This article goes into what I wish I knew when I first got onto my own. There were many struggles, hardships and tough times you go through when you start your walk of life alone. But with it comes victories, and the knowledge of being able to get through anything. I hope when people read this article they will see what I put as a priority to learn when you become independent.
Learn how to budget! Learn how you're bank works, learn about taxes. Yes these seem like boring subjects, but money, or the lack thereof, can and will make your life miserable. This is something that many adults have trouble with, and it will put stress onto you. Just taking an afternoon to learn about what you need to do for your money needs will reduce stress.
2. Make at least one friend at the place you live.
The first apartment complex I lived at, I met a (I think) 45-50 year old man. I will not actually say his name but for this purpose his name is "Tim". Tim had lived in that complex for about 20 years, and he knew the staff and the residents. If I needed help or someone to talk to. He was more of a father figure than a creepy old guy. I was new to the town, living by myself, in the middle ground between a couple of in-town gangs. I needed all the help I could get, and when you have a connection it helps.
3. Know the differences between needs and wants.
Figure out your needs: food, rent, utilities. This type of thing ties into money and time. Do not invest too much time in people that are not good for you. Invest your time in your interests, hobbies, things that make you content. When you put your time in someone who at the end isn't worth it, it will occupy your mind months after they are gone.
4. Stay in contact with your family.
My family is pretty distant to each other. We could probably go a year without talking and it wouldn't bug me. My mom and I have gotten close recently. Generally the 'after high school' years. My mom has helped me through hard times, she has leaded me an ear, or some tough advice. Yes we've had our hard times, but there are many things that I have learned from her. I understand that once you get out on your own, it is easy to stop talking to them; especially if you had a rough time growing up. A story for another time, but if you can stay in contact even if it's as little as a text from now and then. Family is something that is hard to replace once they are gone.
5. The way life teaches lessons.
Life will teach lessons easy at first, then they will get harder to learn as we get older. An example of this is keeping your room clean as a child, then when you have an apartment. There is more cleaning to do. If you add kids and a house to that, it's even harder. My mom has an odd way of explaining this lesson. "It's like getting hit with a 2x4." The lesson first hits you, and it's small like a golf ball. Then the baseball hits you if you didn't learn before. Before you know it you get hit by a 2x4 and the lesson will hurt in someway. So please learn it before you get hit with a 2x4.