A year and a day ago, I packed up my room and moved away from home to a new state. And to this day, even though life hasn't been perfect, I've enjoyed the journey and the freedom of living on my own, and I learned to to balance my new responsibilities. Let me tell you about how it happen for me to inspire your journey and give you an idea of how to get started.
Before I actually moved, I planned for six months but I was so clueless about the order in which I had to do things. I started saving money which was the only thing that made sense and looking for jobs in Charleston while keeping an eye in the companies I was interested in, just in case jobs became available (CCPL was actually in my list and I managed to get a full-time job there). I was also looking at places to see how much rent would be, and I think my excitement got the best of me.
Gaining my freedom has been the most rewarding thing ever, but as they say...freedom isn't free. When I first told my family they weren't so supportive of the idea of me moving five hours away from home which was tough to deal with at first. They did come around eventually but not as I wanted to.
Truth is, Charleston wasn't an entirely new city for me, I visited almost monthly which contributed to my love for the city and I do have family and my boyfriend in town. There were many things I was nervous about but I had a support group where I was going, which was one of the most important things at the end of the day.
Anyways, I moved a week after I graduated, and thankfully I managed to get a part-time job at a local gallery which felt like a dream at the moment, and thanks to the fact that I had family here, I had a roof over my head while I got hired at CCPL for a full-time job. I kept all my stuff in a storage unit while this happened.
When I got my full-time job, I kept my part-time job and ventured to rent a one bedroom apartment because I didn't know anyone I felt comfortable moving in with. Like I said, things haven't been perfect, I wish I hadn't been afraid to as for advice or look for a roommate to give my finances a break, especially after the gallery I worked at closed in December of last year without much of a warning.
Living on my own has been a growing experience. I've learned to develop routines and take responsibility of my expenses and my space. I get to wake up in the mornings to make a warm cup of coffee and water my plants. I can enjoy reading a book in absolute silence or cook while listening to an audiobook. I get to make art and decorate my walls any way I want to. Those were things I didn't get to have before, but truth is, once you move out and take care of yourself, you get to do with your time and space whatever you want.
The key will always be finding balance and knowing the difference between want and need. Unless you are well off with a career that allows you to be financially stable, you need to learn how to budget and learn of ways to save money. That is definitely something I had to learn, but it's the topic for another post. Achieving this kind of freedom is possible if you plan ahead and ask for help.
Right now, I found a roommate to move with once my lease is up, and I've taken my time to get to know her and and I feel really good about it. You will try and fail and learn along the way what works for you. We're all bound to make mistakes, but here I am, telling you it is possible.
Here's a quick list of things to think about to get you started:
• Where are you going and what is the cost of living there?
• How much will you need to save up? Add costs of moving, research deposits, add your regular expenses (car, insurance, phone bill, card bills) for at least three months plus the cost of living.
• List all the jobs and start applying.
• Look through Facebook groups to find apartment or room lists and roommates. Even if your move is months away, people will most likely start looking for rooms and roommates early on, this will help you get to know your potential new roommate and maybe even secure a place.
• Do you know people where you're going? Stay in touch with them. You will need all the help you can get.
• What can you get rid of before you move? You don't need to carry with unnecessary stuff.
• Make a list of the things you will need to acquire and see if family or friends are willing to pass some of those things to you (furniture, appliances, etc.) Otherwise browse through thrift stores or Facebook market in the area you're going.
I'm aware all cases aren't the same, which is why I didn't give you a checklist of things to do. Just think about the life you want and work your way to it. It's worth it. Don't be afraid to ask for support and be realistic about what is possible and what you need to wait for.
I believe in you. Believe your journey will take you where you need to be.
Stay safe and positive.