Moving out at a young age
Moving into my first apartment nearly 8 years ago was no big deal. Hiring movers and making the first big step into adulthood wasn’t as difficult as everyone made it seem. Just about all of my furniture were hand-me-downs from family or stuff I was bringing along, and when moving into an apartment there isn’t too much else to take care of since first, you’re not expecting everything to be perfect, and two, much of that stuff is someone else’s responsibility.
I lived in this place for a few years and I still have fond memories of it today because it was large and clean for the price, the area was a “nice” ghetto in that it was very green, close to the waterfront, and a quiet area. It was also during this time that I met my girlfriend and we started to build a relationship together, and we would spend the nights there making romantic dinners, watching shows or doing other things. This is also the time when we were very young so we had some interesting parties and get-togethers there, and that was when I could still drink some alcohol without feeling out of it or sick to my stomach like I do today!
These were fun times and it was also a time of less responsibility in a sense; I had most of my expenses to pay for and I was going to school full-time but at that time I was working fairly random jobs and there’s not too much mental stress in moving boxes around or things like that. In fact, looking back I wish I had taken at least the early years more seriously, though I had shaped up somewhat by the time I made it to university. I can thank my girlfriend for playing a big part in that as well as my grandmother for making it possible for me to go.
The downsides were that this place had absolutely no security whatsoever (the front door was usually left wide open) and it became more and more ghetto over time because the rent was very cheap and the law prevented the owners from raising the rent very much. It really went downhill when my old neighbours moved out and new ones moved in. They were barely out of their teens and already had two kids with a third on the way, and they smoked pot and drank alcohol all of the time. If it was just for social occasions that would be fine, but not all of the time and not around kids! The walls were paper-thin so I would always hear them yelling and hear the walls banging, because either they were fighting or they were #*@!ing. I would always smell the pot.
There wasn’t much the landlord could do or maybe he just didn’t care, and many visits by the cops didn’t really change anything. I was about to head overseas on an exchange trip, anyways, so I gave notice and left that place behind, never to look back.
Lessons I learned from this experience
It is very easy to afford living on your own, if you can find a nice ghetto area like I did that is ghetto only because the residents are poor, not because it’s dangerous. I don’t say poor to demean anyone since I was poor myself at the time; I was going through school and while my grandmother was there for me there was only so much burden I could place on her, which meant that I had to cover the rest myself. I learned a lot of lessons about self-responsibility and independence in this way.
Poverty doesn’t mean deprivation. I’m sure I was under whatever poverty line the government had concocted, but I had a TV, a computer, internet, shelter, clothing, etc… and the area was green and sunny. I had a nice bikepath to ride my bike on, and I even had a car. I wouldn’t go back there today since I didn’t know very much about finances and I was living almost paycheck to paycheck, but even back then food was one of my lowest expenses and I was able to cover almost everything; I didn’t have to worry about student loan forgiveness since I didn’t take out a student loan, and though I was in no need of debt reduction, if not for the car I probably even could have saved money. For much of this period I was earning somewhere between minimum wage and 1.5x minimum wage.
There were downsides, of course. While I didn’t have it that bad, there are a lot of things that I missed out on. It would have been nice to have had more family support; I could potentially have gotten better grades if I didn’t have the burden of having to live on my own and work on the side; I think just doing interships would already have been good experience.
I could also have had the cultural benefit of travelling to various places while young, which I never ended up doing until I did my overseas exchange to South Korea three years ago. Finally, I could have built up some savings during this time instead of spending thousands of dollars each year on various living expenses.
In the end though, I don’t regret this period of my life one bit. It was a period when I was going from a rough phase to a better phase, and many things improved for me during this time. It helped to build the foundation to get to where I am today, and hopefully I can continue onwards. Life is long and while some things are not the same when you’re a bit older, I still have plenty of time to see the rest of the world and explore and do the things I always wanted to do!
This was originally going to be a post on lessons learned while moving, but then I remembered my early experiences and started reminiscing! So, reader, when did you first fly from the nest, and what were your own first experiences?