My experience living on my own for the first time

Do you remember how you felt when you moved into your first apartment? The feeling of excitement to be on your own and also the fear of being on your own. Many people go from living at home with family to living in a dorm room to finally moving out on their own either with friends and sometimes alone.

My transition from living at home to being on my own was slightly different. I lived at home during my 1.5 year art school degree because (A) there was no campus to live on and (B) my mom lived 5 minutes from the school. Doing this saved me money but I didn’t gain any real world experience. Then, after graduation I was ready for a change so I moved to Dallas, Texas with a friend from high school who had also just graduated college. We packed my car and my mom and I drove 1200+ miles to my new home.

My journey from PA to TX

My friend had lived on her own (alone and with friends) during college so she was pretty up to speed with taking care of herself. Me, not so much. While still in PA before the move I was so consumed with thinking about the MOVE that I didn’t think about life in Dallas at all.

Stupid, right…?

I was 19 or 20 and was ready to take on the world – I thought! I first realized that I was indeed on my own in this big scary world while my mom was still in town and we went to buy groceries. Now, I had gone to the grocery store with my mom MANY times as a child but had I ever made a meal plan or actually bought anything? Heck NO! I guess she didn’t want to tell me what to do or what to buy because I am pretty sure I left there with the stuff to make PB&J and nothing else. I can still remember how afraid I was walking back out to the car knowing that I was going to be dropping her off at the airport soon and then I would be on my own!

After a few months of living with my friend it because obvious we weren’t meant to be roomies and I decided to move into my own apartment. I was having fun living in Dallas and doing my own thing and had also gained a little more confidence about my new life. I learned to plan and cook a few things, had some groceries in the pantry, and had found (2) jobs to pay the bills. So I was a little more ready to live totally on my own but I had other problems.

I needed EVERYTHING for an apartment….

EVERYTHING….! Since I was working two full time jobs just to make ends meet there wasn’t a lot left over to furnish an apartment. My second job was at Linens N Things (sad face, they are no longer in business) and I used that to my advantage. I was able to purchase clearance items with my discount to get good quality items at a price I could afford. For furniture, Craig’s list became my best friend. I purchased a full size Ikea bed (mattress and frame) from the someone off the site, as well as a kitchen table (chairs not included). One thing that I did not consider (which I should have) was how large a full size bed frame and mattress would be…. and how heavy it might be…. Needless to say I probably looked a little strange with a full size mattress strapped to the top of my Rav4 through the sunroom and onto my cup holder… Even though it worked I wouldn’t recommend it, especially since I had to pull over more than once to reattach things. Another thing that had slipped my mind was when I reached my apartment I had to get everything up to the third floor…. alone… Lucky for me a dad came out of an apartment below mine and helped me carry the mattress up the stairs. Let’s just say it was a little awkward since he yelled and screamed at his kids the whole time… but I couldn’t have gotten it up the steps without his help!

Over time I slowly accumulated the basic necessities (and then some) for my first solo apartment. I had no sofa but I did have two microfiber / metal chairs (intended for a dorm room) to sit on. I brought my TV along with me and acquired an old TV stand from an ex boyfriend. The office I worked in when I first moved out upgraded to new office chairs so I took an old chair home to use at my kitchen table! Very classy! I also ended up with some hand me down end tables and a coffee table from my old roomie.

I used bunny ears because I couldn’t afford cable. I used WiFi from neighbors when it worked because I couldn’t afford internet. I had to learn to cook and clean and take care of myself without anyone else around. I’m sure I didn’t eat very well because I couldn’t afford much. I had a few friends in Dallas and with their help I was making it all work, all until that time I was back in PA to celebrate my birthday and my apartment flooded…

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