In Australia, 18 is the legal adult age. It is culturally appropriate to celebrate big – go hard or go home type of celebration. Yes I was excited to have a huge party, but I also thought often of moving out.
For those of you who know me personally, probably know how often I would get grounded throughout high school. Yes, I said high school.
I was stubborn, strong-willed and hated being controlled. I thought I knew everything. Seeing my younger brothers out late while I was not allowed out after a certain time drove me mad. Not only was it double-standards, it was expected that I obeyed (hint: of course I didn’t). I rebelled. A lot. And got grounded for it. A lot.
Because of this, I made my mind up about moving out as soon as I was a legal adult. I realised years later, my parents were just trying their best to raise a girl in a world where our safety is statistically threatened.
Although my first rental experience was with extended family, the amount of freedom I suddenly had was such a relief. Yes, I now had responsibility with rent and being more organised, but this responsibility meant that I was free.
Since then, I have lived in 5 different homes over the last 7 years. All with their own benefits and challenges. I share these with you below!
Here is a snapshot of the 10 things I learned:
1 – Prioritise financial responsibility. From ages 15-20, saving money wasn’t a huge priority in my life. What I earned, I spent – and quickly. However, moving from home to home, I soon realised that having savings was a smart decision. The kind of decision where past-Angela would always be grateful once I took this responsibility seriously.
2 – You never know what a person is like until you live with them. Life gets stressful for all of us. Some days are so difficult that we lash out at others – our friends, family or even housemates if we live in the same vicinity. Be aware of your own behaviour and respect your fellow housemates when times get tough.
3 – Communication skills. For the most part, I thought my communication skills were great. I’d be told by relatives and strangers alike how well I spoke and when I speak in front of groups/crowds, I could command attention. However, interpersonally, I struggled to let others know how I truly felt. After a few years of meeting new people, going through many ups and downs, my communication is becoming clearer. I’m better at saying what I mean and that is an accomplishment!
4 – I’m responsible for my own life, not anyone else. But if I need help, I have to ask. This is a work in progress. When I was younger, asking for help meant I “didn’t know anything” and the gesture of asking was a shameful thing. However, asking for help when it is needed has been a tremendous benefit. Taking responsibility for my life as an adult, means networking and finding resources when I can’t do things on my own.
5 – People make a home, not the items. Decluttering was a game changer for me. Realising that I could let go of items that no longer served its purpose was a lesson of freedom I will always cherish.
6 – Relationships are a two-way street. Early on, I was busy working 3 jobs and studying at uni that I didn’t make time for a my friends or family. We can’t expect others to be in our life if we never balance our time with other commitments. Spend time with the people you care about! The present is all we have!
7 – Acceptance of others and yourself. *Huge lesson alert!* Growing up in a family of 7, it wasn’t new being surrounded by people. However, what was new, were the differing personalities, clashing schedules and sharing a space with non-family members. I learned a lot about patience, compromise and communication.
8 – Do whatever it takes. Whether it be financially, emotionally or physically, just do it. Achieve the tasks that you set. Pave the way for others in your family of your social circle. Remind yourself why you do what you do. If you’re stressing about money, get a second job or sacrifice Netflix for a year so you have enough to live.
9 – Remember what you’ve been through. There would be many moments I was terrified of not being able to pay rent due to working casual jobs (obviously my choice). I forgot about the plans I put in place to offset my lack in income. I forgot about the reminders I used to set for deadlines. Remembering that I’ve tackled similar tasks in the past, is such a good encouragement!
10 – Stand up for yourself and don’t take anyone’s crap. People have told me in the past that I can be easily persuaded or that I put up with “too much”. I finally took their advice and started saying “no” to demands and people who seek to treat me with disrespect. We all get hurt by others, it is a condition of the human experience. That doesn’t mean we let people take advantage of us! If something isn’t right, stand up against it!
If you have ever thought of moving out of home or perhaps you need a new start, I hope these tips are helpful!
Thinking back on all the memories, joyful times and challenges, reminds me that if I ever find myself in a similar situation that I will make it through. I’ve been through it before, I will get through it again. You will too! Our experiences make us wiser and stronger!
What lessons did you learn when you started renting? Share your experiences below!