A year after graduation, I decided to live alone in the jungle that is the city.
My job as a media practitioner requires me to hop from one place to another, interact with people, and meet deadlines in between. If you are in Manila with a 9-5 job and you partner it with the daily dose of stress coming from traffic, I am sure you know the feeling.
And so I asked my parents if I could live in the city—on my own. Hesitant, of course, my ever supportive parents nodded and gave me a checklist of dos and do not’s they still remind me up to this day.
Fast forward to four years, I may have been still the same old girl my parents know—who loves to eat sinaing na tulingan or dinengdeng, I know am more confident and independent as I was before.
I would love to share with you these four things I learned for the past four years of living independently.
- You have the freedom to do whatever you want, but you are responsible for any actions you make
Yes, I know. You are a 20-something millennial uncovering the next chapter of your life alone. It sounds oh so independent. You’ll get to spend time for yourself, see someone without the having too many interrogations from your parents and your nosy siblings, or go wherever you want to go without worrying about the curfew.
But these actions, if decided too abruptly, may end up ruining a supposed independent life in the city. Start by weighing things in: Do I really need to buy a car? Can I support myself with all these responsibilities? Do I have savings? Do I really need to say yes to this man I just met? Can I afford to go on our barkada trip?
Take note of your actions and decisions, consult someone if you need to, get advice from your parents, and decide on your own. Remember, you are your own decision-maker. It’s nice to have as many choices as you can but follow what’s inside your heart and you’ll never go wrong.
Sure, you can always go home to your parents and cry yourself to sleep. But I say, as long as you can handle it yourself, you deal with it on your own.
- You thought you’ll get to save but you end up spending more. Nevertheless, you learn to value money.
Moving out of your parent’s house means you are taking off the once sheltered space you have. You’ll wake up with no food on the table (You have to cook, or else you’ll end up getting fat from the chain of fast foods in the block), the laundry will pile up (and it will smell), and you have to clean your place.
Moving out of your parents means you need to have your own space, buy groceries for yourself, pay the bills—credit cards, insurance, the internet, electricity, water, gym fees, and what-have-you (Oh, adulating problems).
For a time you will think of saving because that’s what independents do, right? And so you’ll save a portion of your salary and open a bank account. But then you spotted a seat sale! Or you needed to buy a new book or a pair of trekking shoes for your next hike. The next thing you know, your money is just enough for your survival till the next paycheck comes. Worst, you need to borrow money from a friend or get attracted to more credit cards.
These are the times we realized our parents’ hard work—since we were brought up to this world until they send us to school. We get to see the worth of every single peso we work for, and thus, we learn, in time, to spend it wisely, and save up for ourselves in the future.
I learned to think of what’s necessary first before splurging on something. Yes, we say “Treat yo’self!” every once in a while but be sure you’ll not be spending more than what you are earning.
Better yet, you might think of doing part time jobs—be it writing online, putting up a pre-loved shop, or make money out of your artistic skills. Be creative and passionate!
- You will have to deal with different kinds of people.
The first weeks would mean discovering that your neighboring boarders do not share the same genre of music as you. Blasting sounds from the next room might irritate you or the neighbor’s dogs might be barking so loud that you can’t sleep. Though you are renting your own space, you will still have to try interacting with other people. Eventually, you will meet people of different kinds. You might not like them, or you end up being friends with them—either way, you will learn how to deal with them.
And it’s not just in your own place. At work too. But while there are a lot of people whom we might not end up being friends with, eventually you will meet people who share the same passion as you. Treasure them. Go on adventures with them, create projects together, and know them more. I am sure they, too, are looking for like-minded individuals whom they can also share their interests with.
- Wherever you go, you’ll always go back home
I have been to many places, met many people along the way, and learned things while I live life on my own in the city. But what’s best is coming back home.
Sometimes, when I am stuck in my room doing nothing, or if the bad weather cancels work and suspend the internet, I think of home and what my father could have been cooking at that time.
This is why I always see to it that I come back home every week. I would excitedly go home in Rizal and spend time catching up with my family. Sometimes, I will drop by the market to buy fruits and some knickknacks for my nephew before going home.
On weekend nights I would spend hours of conversations with my parents about how my week was until the wee hours. Then my mother would cook a hearty breakfast for the whole family and continue catching up till the afternoon over coffee and bread.
My mother always says that we all have a place in this world. I am currently chasing my dreams and finding that place in the city. I know it will not be that easy but with all the support of my family and the learning I got from being away from home, and being in different places, I know I am getting there.
How about you? Did you have the same experiences as mine? Let me know!