Moving out of my well-meaning but over-bearing parents’ home was always something I’d dreamt of. My fantasy was simple. No screaming matches over the standard of my room’s cleanliness, no black and white morals shoved down my throat, and a life where I made my own rules. It didn’t matter how shoddy the living conditions, it would still be far better than this tyranny. No electricity, no problem. As long as I had the freedom to say and do as I please, with only myself to blame for any mistakes I made, nothing could phase me. To leave home is what I have yearned for as long as I can remember. Now, financially self sufficient and finally able to realise this vision, my feelings are more conflicted than I expected them to be.
My musician boyfriend and I have finally found a place to move into. (Much more from my steam than any effort on his part, but he has many redeeming qualities which will be useful in our endeavour, so I’ll leave him alone, in this post anyway.) A small plank-lined room in a rennovated Victorian villa will be our home for the foreseeable future. It’s the mecca of flats; affordable with our modest second year student budgets, filled with interesting, creative people sure to provide plentiful entertainment, and in walking distance to University and work. It even has internet.
Sure, there are a few drawbacks, like the fact we’ll be living paycheck to paycheck. Necessities will take up 90% of our collective incomes, (well, it’s just me with the regular salary as of, it’ll be interesting to see if my other half can sort our some money before we move in, tomorrow), there’s one bathroom between eleven people, and our room is fondly nicknamed ‘the back shack’ on account of it being, in essence, a small box tacked onto the back of the second storey.. Did I mention it used to be the bathroom? Luckily I’ve always found the idea of abject poverty alluring.
I’m getting excited shivers down my spine just thinking about what winter will be like. Surviving on baked beans, with only a single woolen blanket and each other’s body heat to stay warm… No-one will ever call me a yuppie again! I’m sure the romance of our adventure will wear off soon enough, when we’re shivering miserably in our uninsulated hovel, tummies grumbling hungrily. But in a weird way, I feel like anything more comfortable would be suffocating. Independence, no matter how hard it is to come by is what I need now.
I have a confession: I’m scared. What if I can’t handle it and have to crawl back home, starving and in rags? I suppose it’s natural to be nervous about a massive life change like this, but it’s more than that. My pride is at stake. To admit defeat at this first real attempt at self sufficiency would be a humiliation I couldn’t face. My parents’ smug confidence in my imminent failure drives me forward like nothing else; save for my own motivation, that is. The possibility of disaster overshadows my knowledge that I am incredibly determined and hardworking. I know I can do it if everything goes to plan, but realistically any unexpected cost could break the bank and leave us homeless or worse, foodless.
I’m not the kind of person to leave these things up to chance. Upon analysis and extensive budgeting, I have come to the conclusion that mentality, not money is the cause of my worries. Lately I’ve been feeling particularly deflated and listless. This is for no tangible reason, simply a dissatisfaction with life that clouds what should anticipation and joy. An unshakeable fatigue weighs me down every day, accompanied by a gnawing anxiety. Despite all the positive things happening in my life; getting my licence (on the fifth try), and a new well paying job, I still seem to dwell on the negative. I’m my own worst enemy – nothing can overcome sane rationale like my roaring insecurities do.
This flat is absolutely perfect for us, and I know after a few weeks it will all seem normal. Humans are incredibly adaptable. It’s better than anything I imagined living in as an angsty teenager, and probably the closest I’ll ever get to living in a hippy commune. Part of our rent goes towards a Social Enterprise and Charitable Trust that helps create a community space for artists and creatives to collaborate. Flowing, bright clothes abound, as does long hair, marijuana, and herbal tea. Positivity and kindness radiate through this house, and I plan to absorb it into the fibres of my personality. I think I will look at this as an opportunity to let myself go, in the spontaneous sense of the phrase. It’s the kind of house where you’d feel out of place if you weren’t weird and artistic, so hopefully it’ll encourage that side of me to flourish.
In this new phase of my life, I will not let my anxiety get the best of me, even though I am terrified of having to live with 11 new people. I don’t want to just push it further down by hiding in my room. Hiding from things is not the way to overcome them. My mind will grow into a haven of compassion and courage that is toxic to any thoughts that would bring me down. This will force me out of my comfort zone if nothing else, and that is always a good thing. Quite potentially it will not be fun at the time, but I can only become wiser and braver by taking this step.
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”