There’s this thing that we all (well, almost all) have to do at some point in our lives: move out of our family home and face the big wide world by ourselves.
Some can’t wait to make the move and gain independence, while others are a little more reluctant to let go of the comforts that living with mum and dad offers.
We get it – the idea of suddenly having to pay a ton of rent and cook your own meals every day can seem a bit daunting. But let’s be honest, the older you get, the less cool it becomes to say that you still live with your parents.
Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz is a perfect case in point. Her mantra may have been “There’s no place like home”, but she wouldn’t have had all those adventures, made new friends, gained new insights, and been the star of a classic movie if she’d just stayed at home helping mum with the chores.
It’s even been scientifically proven that the optimal age to move out is 21-24 if you want to be successful later in life.
But if science, Dorothy and street cred alone aren’t enough to convince you, here are 10 more reasons why you should fly the nest before you hit the big 3-0.
1. Independence + responsibility = life in full colour
Back to Dorothy for a moment… You know how at the beginning when she’s at home in Kansas, it’s filmed in black and white? And then when she enters the world of Oz the film becomes technicolour? Well real life is kinda like that too. In order to experience it in all its glory, you have to take that all-important step into the unknown. Sure, there will be highs (realising you can have chocolate and soft drinks for breakfast and nobody will bat an eyelid) and lows (discovering how little of your pay check is left at the end of the month), but isn’t that what life is all about? Nothing beats the feeling of having a place you can call your own and knowing you worked hard to get it.
2. You’ll realise how much stuff you’ve accumulated
When you pack up your belongings to make that first move away from home, you’ll realise how much clutter has built up over the years. First homes are not known for being spacious, so you’ll need to have a good clear out and decide on what’s important enough to take with you. You may also find yourself letting go of some friendships, especially if you’re moving a considerable way from ‘home’. But don’t worry; it’ll soon become clear to you which ones are worth the effort of maintaining long-distance and which just weren’t meant to last.
3. You’ll develop better financial management
It’s easy to get financially complacent when you’re living with your parents. Even if they charge you some rent, it’s probably nowhere near what you’d be paying if you moved out. As a result, you have heaps of disposable cash and can spend it on your car, wardrobe, or social life without any negative consequences. Perhaps you’re living there under the pretence of ‘saving for a deposit’, but come on, are you really pushing yourself to save as much as you can? Moving out will be a shock to the system, but it will force you to develop better budgeting habits that will set you in good stead for the future.
4. You can do whatever you want! (pretty much)
Want to get drunk and pass out on the sofa? You can! Want to go out partying, come home at 3am and have noisy sex with the guy/girl you just met? Go ahead! Want to order pizza for breakfast, Chinese for lunch and Indian for dinner? Why not! There is such refreshing freedom to be found in not having your parents around to keep you in check.
5. About that guy/girl…
Whether you’re in a relationship or are enjoying ‘just looking’, your love live will take a leap to a whole new level when you move to your own place. No more locked doors, sneaking around, trying to keep quiet, or awkward conversations the next morning (at least, not with your parents). And definitely no more asking permission for someone to stay the night.
6. You’ll meet all kinds of new people
When you do make the move, you may well be starting out with a house share. This is a great fast-track way to make new friends – especially if you’re moving to a new area – because not only are you living with a group of people at the same stage of life as you, but you’ll be able to hook into their social circles too. With any luck, some of your housemates will turn out to be friends for life. But they’re not all perfect, and some are downright weird and annoying. Embrace these challenges, because they’ll help you improve your communication and conflict management skills ready for when you have to deal with colleagues who are downright weird and annoying.
7. You can have it your way
If you’ve spent the last twenty-something years staring at embarrassing baby photos lining the walls of your house, it’s time to move on and take control with your own style. Start from scratch in your own place, even if it’s just one room, and get creative with colour, design and layout exactly how you want it.
8. You’ll make your own adventures
Flying the nest may feel like a step into the unknown financially, emotionally, and culinarily, but that means you’ve got a world of adventure ahead of you. You’ll learn that life doesn’t follow a rigid plan and it can be much more fun just to see where it takes you.
9. Think of all the ‘likes’
Everyone needs a ‘moved house’ milestone on their timeline. Just think of all the before/after photos you’ll be able to post. And if you’ve never invited all your friends to a decorating & pizza party, you’re missing out!
10. It really is time
If you’re clinging on to still being able to class yourself as ‘late 20s’, it really is time. Whatever is stopping you, you can overcome it. Go and embrace your independence and all the challenges and adventures it brings. As Mark Twain put it: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do”.
Motivational talk over. You’re welcome.