I always thought myself to be a very independent person, or at least I claimed to be one. I never had the need to move away from home until I was done with my degree and had to take a gap year that ended up giving me much much bigger experiences than I could ever imagine, but more on that later.
When I made the decision to live away from home, I confess it didn’t feel like a big deal to me. Since I was just moving an hour and a half away, going to be staying at a relative’s place and going home every week, there were no tears being shed or “I’ll miss you”s being said. I was quite excited to be fending for myself, to be the adult and to live in the city of Kochi, which is where I always wanted to be.
I’m experiencing life on my own terms and being my own person for the first time in my life all without the hassle of going broke (or at least not completely). I’ve never had to live away from home even to study and this time has become my experience with living alone and being adult, but with training wheels of sorts. Most people are not as lucky as I am, they get thrown into the wild and open world of adulthood with no such training wheels and no safety net.
Moving away from home has in fact given me more learning experiences than three years on a personal level and this is just a post for those who are about to do the same, or has done the same and feels overwhelmed like I felt a lot of the time in my initial days.
Living And Learning:
I really didn’t have to struggle with paying rent or thinking about paying for my own food, or even about cooking for myself. And I was left to deal with the other side of the coin- the part that I really didn’t expect- of missing my home, missing my daily routine at home and even the way my mother made something as simple as chutney.
You are going to miss all of those things, believe me. Even if you are someone much less “mushy” than me, you are going to miss something or the other. The comfort of the familiar is what makes us miss these things, so look at your life and notice the parts that you enjoy more and make it a point to cherish finding new things that put you at ease. Making changes and learning to embrace them are in no way an easy feat, but with spirit to keep pushing forward, changes come with a lot of benefits you cannot even wrap your mind around. The following are the changes that happened to me and the what, why, how of it.
Devoid of the familiar life routine I am used to, I have learnt that I am a big lover of vegetables! When faced with the option to consume non vegetarian food on a daily basis, I have learnt to turn more and more to vegetables because I am finally learning to eat for how it makes me feel and not for how it tastes ( mind you, vegetables do have their charm, taste wise). So take this time to learn your real tastes, be open to trying new things and eat for how you want to feel and how it tastes.
Quitting While You Are Ahead:
I’ve also been a person who has thrown herself into her commitments 100%. But since I’ve started working I have learnt the importance of deciding to take breaks and taking time for myself. I am willing to work for 24 hours if needed be, but I am learning the hard way that only way to be productive consistently is by learning when to stop and take a breather. And the need to do this Every.Single.Day. It can be as small as my favorite- a coffee/tea break where you do nothing but enjoy that warm tingly sensation from a good cuppa or taking a walk to stretch your legs or treating yourself to a mani-pedi after a very hard week at work with a fun magazine when needed.
It takes more than moving out and getting a job for a single woman to be considered an adult, at least it is so where I am from. Respect, it is a word that is thrown around a lot when talking about women, but the parameters are never defined. “If you are not married, your time, space or commitments do not deserve to be respected and it does not matter how old you are” is such a common notion even in the current times in our society. The only way I could change this mindset was to show through my action that I was capable, however many mistakes I made along the way, to do well by myself and to do well by others in my life. I am not saying that I did not mess up in major ways in these last few months, but they have taught me to be and do better.
And that brings me to my next point,
In the first few months, I made a lot of mistakes- forgetting to call and let my family know my work is running late, or making use of every chance I got to go out and eat whatever I was craving ( big mistake), or making excuses to attend events that I was not even completely interested in just because I could, but did not end up enjoying. But slowly through the months, I like to believe I have changed. I make sure to call my parents every day – check up on everyone and everything is the least I can do to put their mind at ease. I have also stopped eating from outside other than an occasional indulgence. Eating out regularly would not reflect well on my health or my finances and I learnt that the hard way. I have also made a pact with myself only to spend time and energy on attending events that truly excite me and could give me an experience I will truly cherish.
At the end of the day, I am living and learning on my own terms and growing as a person (at least I hope so). Before I go back to my college life next year, I am going to enjoy and make the most of this lesson in embracing change and the joyous ride on self discovery.