IMAGE writer Geraldine Carton muses over the harsh realities of moving out of home for the first time.
Moving out of home for the first time can be an incredibly exciting (if not somewhat daunting) experience.
All of a sudden you go from being someone’s child, and having your every need tended to a cared for, to being a fully-fledged, tax-paying, grocery-purchasing, toilet-unclogging member of society who is now left to fend for themselves. For many people this is when they find themselves completely free to do what they always wanted to; to go out as late as they want; sleep when they want; throw parties whenever they want, and eat cereal out of a frying pan, if that’s what they really want…
However, before you go jumping the gun and spreading your wings, it’s worth factoring in all of the elements that come into play when you flee the nest. As much as you complain about your parents and annoying siblings, upon hearing the harsh moving-out realities that are to follow, you may decide that a few extra years living with “the mameh” doesn’t seem so bad, after all.
The day you move out
“See ya suckers, I’m bustin’ outta this joint. Catch ya on the flipside!” you shout at your loving parents as you swagger off to make a start for your new, unruly, unchaperoned life.
It’s easy to get somewhat ahead of yourself on the day you box up your things out and head off to your new abode. There’s the sense of “I’m a big girl”, I’m taking control of my life and I don’t need no parents telling me what to do anymore. This is my time to live my truth and express myself!”.
Well, take it from someone who’s learnt the hard way; you might want to reign this sentiment in a little.
Getting too caught up in the moving-in excitement may lead to some untoward interior decoration ideas, such as festooning your wardrobe and desk with polka dot wrapping paper, or hammering a wooden picket fence up along your wall, from where you intend to hang your shoes. Just because you can technically decorate your home exactly how you want to, doesn’t mean you necessarily should, as my picket fence system would suggest.
Nonetheless, the first few days after you move out can often be the happiest, as you approach hurdles such as no heating, no wifi and a no constant supply of hot meals, with the air of an idealistic struggling artist.
No electricity? No bother – cereal for dinner feels like reliving a childhood fantasy anyway! Lumpy mattress with spiky metal springs sticking out? Sure, haven’t you been telling people that sleep is overrated for months now?!
But then you notice you have no cutlery. And the cost of basic necessities like shampoo and toilet roll start to add up, plus paying rent isn’t as fun as you thought it would be. The straw that breaks many a millennial camel’s back, however, has to be the endless, soul-crushing rigmarole of washing one’s own clothes.
The clothes-washing process
When it comes to the build-up of used clothes in your room, you prefer to take an “if I don’t see you, you don’t see me!” approach. Whilst cute, it’s an extremely inefficient and unhelpful tactic. With each passing day, the accumulation of grubby garb grows until actual pong fumes can be seen emerging from the pile. Such is the length of time you’ve left the garments there to stew in their own filth…
Eventually, when your supply of underwear starts to dwindle, you lug the load to the machine, lob it all in one go, press the START button and stride away; affording yourself a clap on the back for doing such a great job at adulting. And before you ask, no; the load was not sorted according to colours. “Colour-sorting is for chumps” you chuckle to yourself.
Fast forward to four days later; scouring around your wardrobe you’re trying to locate a favourite pair of floral leggings when all of a sudden your heart stops, drops, and sinks. Cursing yourself under your breath, you thunder down the hall to retrieve the sodden clothes that have been sitting in the washing machine since you last abandoned them there nearly a week ago.
Christ, they’re even smellier now than they were when you put them in originally. And worse still, all items that were once a clean, crisp white, now don a murky grey hue; the tell-tale signature shade of lazy clothes-washers the world over. “Not again!” you sigh.
The harsh reality
As you slump back to your room, you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror; your eyes weighed down with heavy bags (thanks to no nagging parenting presence urging you to go to bed); crumbs speckling throughout your hair (you fell asleep on a bag of crisps mid-Netflix binge); your outfit – an ensemble of murky-grey, crumbled clothes (using your hair straightener as an iron does not remove crinkles as you imagined it would). It’s times like these when you’ll wish that you had appreciated your home comforts, and the care afforded to you by your parents, while you had the chance.
So let this be a lesson to all millennial and Generation Z youths out there today; you will never be as well tended to as you are when you live at home, or at least, you’ll never enjoy clothes as white and crumple-free as you do whilst living at home.
Cherish it whilst you can, young ones, because you’ll be donning that murky-grey hue before you know it.