Being independent at a young age

22nd January 2015

my 5 favourite cities to visit in Europe

When I was about 8 years old I went to Brownie camp and I hated every minute of it. I remember being so excited about a weekend away with my friends doing fun activities, but instead I cried all the way home and begged my parents never to let me go again.

From that moment onwards I thought I would be a home-bird forever. I think my parents thought so too. I thought it was homesickness, but now I look back and realise it was probably more the fact that we had to be independent; learn how to cook, clean up after ourselves, etc.

I moved out when I was 18. I was fortunate in that I had a good home life and it wasn’t because of my family that I moved out. I moved out because I wanted bigger things and I didn’t want to wait. I’d fallen in love with a city and I was prepared to do anything to be there; even end up in approximately £45,000 worth of student debt.

I remember the day I moved into halls and waved to my parents as they left. Reality hit me like a ton of bricks. I’d never used a washing machine before or cooked more than a handful of dishes. I’d never had to clean a kitchen or a bathroom before.

I kind of went into survival mode. I was facing my fear of independence.

It definitely helped that I wanted to be in Liverpool. I think that was my motivation to stay even on the dullest days. If I’d lived in a place I didn’t like I honestly don’t know if I would have stayed.

I came home a lot in my first year of uni. I can honestly say that I was homesick because I lived in the crappiest room known to man and I missed my bed dearly. I also missed my parents and Tyrone.

I moved home in the March of my first year for summer because my lectures had finished and I saw no point in staying. I loved being home and I worried that I might even get a bit too comfortable back in Shropshire. The worries soon evaporated when I got a terrible job in a supermarket and realised that if I stayed, that would be my life.

So keen to get away again, I moved to back to Liverpool in August 2013 and brought Tyrone with me. We found our little flat and settled quite quickly. I was happier because I was living in a much better environment and because I had a piece of home with me; my boyfriend.

Even after moving in with Tyrone I still considered myself to be very independent. I turned 21 at the beginning of this month, but even before the age of 20 I had managed to rent a flat, sort out electricity and water bills, and deal with the council (and their uselessness) on several occasions. When I look at that I realise that not many 19 year olds I know have had to do those things, and to me that is a huge mark of independence.

I like being independent and I like being independent at such a young age, even though it isn’t always easy. Sometimes I want to throw it all in and move back home to feel safe and to be free from worries, but that’s just boring.

If you were to ask me what I thought my greatest achievement has been in my university life I would probably push aside the 1st class grades in my first and second years, and the highest score in the class on a phase test. I would say my greatest achievement has been moving out and staying out.

If you are at that point in life where you are wondering if you should become a little more independent then do it! Take that leap, no matter how scared you feel. The sooner you do it the easier it will be. The more time you spend considering it, the more you will talk yourself out of it.

I’m not so afraid of being independent any more because I am.

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with you.

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  1. Thanks for sharing that. I had no idea the Uni is so expensive in the UK, as I finished it long before moving here.
    It’s scary to make such an important decision at only 18. Well done.

    • Holly

      The year I started university fees went up to £9000 a year, and I also have a living costs loan which is around £6000 a year. It’s ridiculous!

  2. Susanne

    I think moving out at a young age is a good thing, and especially moving away from where you grew up. It makes you grow and develop as a person. I moved out when I was 19, and moved away from my home town. it wasn’t the best option at the time, because of the financial crisis (this was in the 90’s) and high unemployment rate, but that’s what I did, and what I needed to do to get anywhere in life. I would never had become self confident and independent if I had stayed.

    • Holly

      It must have been difficult moving out during a financial crisis. I guess I was fortunate enough to have gotten the loans I did because I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them. I’ll worry about paying them off when I’m earning enough!

  3. I love this – I moved out for uni when I was 19 and after graduating in September I decided to stay in the city I moved too.

    Like you, when I moved back home for summer I’d often get comfortable again, but the reality of the crappy job made me realise even more why I went in the first place.

    I also now rent a flat with my boyfriend along with a full time job, and love the independence! Even though sometimes it’s a pain having to deal with all the companies (like you said they can be SO useless) and being pretty skint after paying the rent – I could still never imagine moving back in with my parents. (Even though I get on with them very well).

    Being independent is definitely one of the best feelings!


    • Holly

      There’s always a sinking feeling when rent and other bills leave your account. It’s going to be even worst when September comes and I won’t be having a student loan coming in. *cries*

      I would hate to move back home because it would feel like I was taking a step backwards.

  4. Please don’t take this the wrong way Holly, but god I’d love to have been in your shoes.
    Moving out and having to deal with all the shit that comes with it is just petrifying, but oh you made me smile, never used a washing machine at 19? Oh Sweetheart.
    I remember getting booted out my parents at the age of 15 and trudging to the laundrette weekly, I woke up and I learned quickly! I had to though and we obviously had very different situations.

    But I’ve learnt some tricks. 😉

    I think moving away from where you grow up is so important, you learn to much and they are important lessons and I really hope that everything goes smoothly for you when you Graduate, because lovely, that’s a whole different kettle of fish 🙂

    • Holly

      I know my situation is definitely a lot better that other people, but I know people 10 years older than me who have never touched a washing machine because they still live in that safety bubble with their parents. It’s like one extreme to the other.

      Yeah, I’m not looking forward to graduating. I’m just glad that I was savvy with my money from my student loans in my first two years of uni because I’ve saved a ton.

  5. I was once independent, but no more. That’s what mental illness does, it takes away your independence all at once, but it’s always possible to get some semblance of control, but I don’t think I can be myself a hundred percent. I’m wounded in ways that can’t be fixed, but it doesn’t mean I should give up. I just try my hardest to function at some level.

    I’m glad at least you can take pride in your independence! Never let anyone take it from you, never let anything snuff you out. You deserve to be your own person!

    • Holly

      I can only imagine how difficult that must me. I’m struggling enough with my mobility issues, but I refuse to let it get the better of me. I do rely on Tyrone for many of my day-to-day tasks now because my mobility isn’t so great, but hopefully my new treatment plan will get me back to normal.

  6. Kya

    That is so wonderful that you have been able to live so independently and be really happy about it especially at your age.

    It is very strange how time circulates and different generations will stay at home longer. My grandfather had to move out of home at the age of 14 and get a job. He was pretty much an adult at 14. Today, I can’t imagine that happening.

    One day I would like to try, but I have a number of things that set me back (mainly health wise) so it’s more difficult.

    • Holly

      Yes, I think these days young people are trying to hang on at home for as long as possible – mainly for money reasons. I think my grandad was in a similar situation and I just can’t imagine it.

      Health is becoming a big issue for me with living away from my parents. I have mobility issues but now I don’t have anyone to drive me around so I rely on my legs. It’s tough.

  7. I sometimes envy the life you are having, Holly, you chose to leave independently at 18… I still haven’t ever lived without my family for more than a couple of days. I really need to get the feel of what work actually is as I, like you, live in the most crappy bedroom (which I adore, though!) but currently I don’t see anything beyond my studies and I need to change that soon! You really are lucky!

    When I truly have to become independent after a couple of years, this lazy attitude of mine is gonna affect me a lot! 🙁

    ps. AWESOME layout!!!

    • Holly

      I like my independence but then some times I really envy those who still live with their parents.

      Glad you like the layout. 🙂

  8. I’m a twin, so when I went on Brownie camps I never really felt alone. I stayed at home for my first year of university, but moved out after I came back from New York before second year. I think the absolute bravest thing anyone can do is move in with people they don’t know – and you should be really impressed with yourself.

    Liverpool City Council are rubbish. They are worse than HMRC. If you’ve managed to get anything sorted by them you’re already more successful than most of the city.
    Good luck with the rest of your independence! It takes on a whole new level of excitement once you’ve graduated =]

    • Holly

      I remember the day I moved into halls thinking “How am I going to live with these strangers?!”. I’m happy to say that I am still very close friends with one of my flat mates from that year.

      I ended up ringing Liverpool City Council so much because they kept sending me council tax bills and final demands. I end up going to their office on Dale Street with all my student loan documents trying to prove I was a student!

  9. Agent Q

    Based on this story, I can say that you’re handling your situation pretty well. We all know that everyone will [or should] have to leave their nests eventually, so the sooner they live an independent life the better.

    You had your first shock of time away from parents at age 8. I guarantee you, even a short-term separation prepared you better than one of my roommates who could not even get over homesickness until a few months in. As they say, the first cut is the deepest. In this case, the first separation hurts the most.

    • Holly

      Yeah, I think Brownie camp was my very first time away from my parents which explains why it hurt so much.

      I still have friends who were so homesick in first year that they didn’t come back for second year, and even moved to a uni closer to home. I think it’s a real shock for some people.

  10. […] Thursday I posted a personal/reflection type post, and I really enjoyed both writing it and reading your responses. I just felt like doing something […]

  11. I loved reading this. I just really admire your strength and independence, and I’ve noticed since you started university that you’ve just pushed on through the hardships. Homesickness can be hard to deal with, and I can’t say I have felt that way very much, but I know I might miss more of my parents and friends around the area if I moved out to a place far from them. I’ve never really needed or wanted to move out but I find it amazing that you just went for exactly what you wanted.

    I think if the time does come that I do want to get away, then I’ll just go for it. My ex really wanted to move out of the country and I guess maybe I didn’t understand that 100% because while the idea of travel made me excited, I didn’t want to ever settle too far from my parents.

    I think I would definitely feel the same way as you, though, because I can’t cook a meal for crap (I just cook really simply with a bit of seasoning, nothing too extravagant), I hate a lot of chores. My mum even believes I wouldn’t survive on my own but I guess I’m not ready to move out anyway. xD

    • Holly

      I feel the same about moving abroad. I know it would be better for job opportunities but I couldn’t bare to be that far away from the people I love. I don’t think I’m ready to make a move that big just yet.

      I barely ever cook anything from scratch. I use lots of sachets of sauces and jars of food, but I guess it’s better than microwave meals. 😛

      I use to think I liked cleaning because I enjoyed sorting and organising my bedroom at home. Then I moved out and I’m completely sick of it, haha!!