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So here we are.
Your friends have unloaded the last of your things from the boots of their chugging Peugeot cars, and the door clicks shut behind them. Alone, in a hallway of an unfamiliar house you clutch the shiny new keys that you will, inevitably torture yourself over losing and finding from here on out-seriously, first thing first... get a lanyard. It's quiet, and the world is officially your oyster. Hello to independence and adulthood (haha, who are we fooling.)
Make the best of it.
Let's face it: you've moved most likely due to the fact that your previous living situation put you down to your final straw. You're exhausted emotionally, mentally and physically. Days of planning and packing, you're finally here and now you have to UNPACK AND DECORATE? SERIOUSLY? I know, it sucks. The thing is, it's pretty exciting though. Staying within the 'straight and narrow' set out by your slightly pervy landlord, you hold the power to turn this mouldy, boxy little setting into a place of your own. So, don't hold off- make it yours. Do the most epic IKEA run of you life and funk it out.* Getting unpacked and organised is so important in order to give you a clear head and allow you to relax after everything you have endured.
*Bear in mind that you are now officially broke, and owe rent. Keep it stingy, folks.
Raid the cupboards and roof space of your new abode.
Because hey, you never know what you may find. Between mouldy food or a treasure chest—there can be many little cool numbers left hiding around the place. And plus, you want to make sure there is no creepy guy bunking in the attic.
Moving is hard. Get help if you can- even if you need to ask your family, it will make life so much easier. Be aware that unfortunately, even when friends do mean well off, when they promise to help you move- there is a 90 percent chance they may not commit to their word. It hurts, it sucks but it is a big job and people aren't always around. Be prepared for a few let downs. Have a fool-proof game plan for the day you move or for any plans involving decorating etc.
Money and the 'Hey You're Minted' Stigma
Never rely on others for financial support, or lend a lot of money. When I moved, most of my friends (no matter how many times I told them otherwise) thought I had money to burn because I could afford to live alone. *laughs through the tears.* This is a very frustrating thing to deal with, but don't allow It to get you down. When I first moved out, it was summer- so my friends went out most evenings to McDonalds, the beach, everywhere. I struggled to spend time with them because I was doing my grocery shop for between £3- £5 a week. A cheeseburger cost a third of my money. Regardless, friends asked me to cover costs when they had simply forgotten to ask their parents for money for their meals. And I wouldn't see the money back. I don't mean any of this in a petty way, and I love my friends however I really struggled to afford spending time with my friends. Getting a loan from others, like I have harped on before, will never end well. Before moving, you should be financially sound.
"Oh my goodness, this is going to be so much fun! We could all come around and study at yours and it will be so good for parties. I'm literally going to just live at your place."
Let it sink in.
You will hear this a lot. From everyone. Even from people who mean well, and aren't trying to use you, you're going to hear it. It will hurt, and it will become very frustrating. Have your answer ready, because you need to set borders. Don't become too unrealistic as well. You are going to need a full time job to afford your place, so when you come home in the evenings you are going to be exhausted. Don't clamp yourself down with too many plans made in advance, you may need to cancel to look after yourself. This is also a reason as to why hosting should be limited: you will need your rest some nights, and to just curl under the covers but it's a lot harder to do with your mates basically living with you but without paying the bills. You need the place to be tidy, and to be your own. Socialising is important, but not with people who are using you. Get rid of those guys. Ensure there is a balance between how much time is spent at yours, and other people's houses.
Beware of any ol' Joe Blogs.
Scary thing is, you're young, alone and vulnerable. As much as you try to seem strong and independent. There will be people who manipulate and take advantage of that, so be very careful. Don't allow people into your house that haven't hung out with you before moving, unless you have been to theirs and know them well. Don't confide in people you don't know so well. Don't give out spare keys. It's simple stuff, and common sense however when you are suddenly very much alone and there are kind people approaching you, wanting to spend time with you and listen- choose carefully whether you should let them in or run a mile. Take it from someone who learnt she should have ran when it was far too late and got herself very hurt. Things can go downhill very, very fast.
Narcissists and Know- It-Alls
You have made a huge, amazing step in a good direction. You are maturing faster than other people and learning to look after yourself. You are doing a good thing. Other people, sadly will know this but do everything they can to tear you down. People (even friends) sometimes can't cope with your success and will find ways in which they can make you feel more like a failure or like the battles you have won are less significant than they truly are. I know your struggle, and I am so proud of you. Other people will be there to rhyme off all the ways you are failing. How grimy your house was before you moved, how bad your neighbours are, the landlord, the area you live, how out- of- the- way you are to pick up... it will go on and on.
Please, don't listen to it. These are other people trying very hard to quench their personal insecurity by broadcasting the small challenges that you are dealing with (and overcoming.) In reality, look where you are. You are making change to improve your situation—you are doing something for yourself, and you are fighting hard for it. Positive self-talk and positive friends and family surrounding you are essential for your growth. You may live alone, but remember that you are not alone. You also have the power to choose who you surround yourself with.
Some people will try give you advise, even when they have no idea what they are talking about. Smile politely, cringe into yourself and bite your tongue. Laugh about it later. Understand that no matter how hard you try; other people won't understand. I sat at a party once, being yelled at by my friends mother who, while intoxicated felt it necessary to tell me I was "a stupid wee git" throwing everything good my family has done for me back in their faces. In front of everyone. I smiled, I nodded and I never forgot what she said. In my mind I was screaming at her. I was screaming my story and all the painful reasons why I had moved. I was screaming at her everything I endured, I was screaming about how much I wish I hadn't had to move. I was screaming at everyone at that party staring at me. I wanted them to know, to understand that everything I was doing was to fix my family rather than the opposite, but then I realised it. No-one had the right to know my life story. Even I they did, I doubt they would have understood because they simply didn't want to. They wanted to be able to look down on me. So, I just had to hold onto the facts that I knew myself. I had to trust myself and my instincts and shake off everything else.
Take a little pride in your place.
When you have time off, invite someone over (even your parents) over for a meal. Tidy the place up, light a candle or throw on some background music. Enjoy being in your house, and enjoy the company of others in it. Even if you're cooking level doesn't exceed the "just add water" and microwavable foods, people will appreciate it.
Also, don't be afraid to ask other people to respect your home. If friends are real, they shouldn't need to be told anyway. Ask people to help you tidy up, or ask them to be respectful in the first place.
Learn to be happy alone.
I'm someone who likes being alone. I am generally loud and outgoing, but I've learned to enjoy my own company. At times, it can still be a little challenging to be alone a lot. Perhaps this comes from quick times at home between jobs, eating alone or needing a day to rest of tidy. It can feel miserable. So, what to do? My number one rule was blasting music. Just always have music playing. Let the house be filled with noise and melody. Dance around, be yourself, be free. Watch TV, read or invest your time in TED talks while having a meal or doing chores. Learn an instrument in spare time, do a jigsaw or paint a mural. Take yourself out somewhere: the gym, coffee, a jog.
I also found this time to be good for my faith. I never felt truly alone, because I felt God was always there. I trusted him and I felt he truly looked after me. This could be a great opportunity for you to discover or learn about something new.
Tidy House, Tidy Mind
That's it. Case closed. Your life will be so much simpler when live somewhere clean and tidy. Look after your home as a means of looking after yourself.
You got one? Take a deep breath. Set out fair rules, keep an open channel of respect and communication for each other. This is a home for you, and you deserve it to feel like it and equally it is a home for your housemate, and they deserve it to feel like that. So, have times when the two of you are happy to have guests. Share cleaning duties and other responsibilities. Do not allow yourself to be walked over, but equally know when to be quiet. You are going to be tired and easily irritated, so be careful to stay fair and rational. Be sensitive, and try to live more in the shoes of your housemate, and in their perspective. This can be a great way to learn more about yourself and personally grow.
Down to the Dolla'
So, lastly we are pulling it back to the most essential point (and most sucky, sorry.) Money. Keep on top of it—get yourself a special little notebook and keep a rough log of how much you spend and earn. You should make rent and bills a first priority before anything else, and should have the money for that set aside before anything else. The most dangerous thing you can say to yourself is:
"I'm going to buy this now, because I get paid again next week and that money will cover rent at the end of the month."
*Tears out hair.* Red lights should be flashing. Don't be in a state of dependency on your pay check coming in. Never buy something other than your essentials if you have bills to cover. As soon as your pay comes in, take the cut aside what is needed for your bills.
As I had said in part one, all the best. I do know the difficulties that you are going through, I know how hard it is to move. But, if a messy, dramatic clutterbags like myself can do it—you definitely can. You are doing amazing.
If you enjoyed reading, or find my articles useful—don't be afraid to tip so that I can keep them coming! Thank you to those who have been encouraging me so far.
All the best,