Whether it’s a uni dorm room, a first time home, or that small studio flat away from mum and dad, moving out of your family home is a big step for us all. But after the tears have been shed, the goodbyes have gone and the door closes, what comes next?
Living independently comes with a lot of responsibility, and it can be hard to adjust to when you suddenly have a longer to-do list than ever before. Washing up, cooking, cleaning, paying bills, social events, rent, work, holidays to plan, packing, unpacking, shopping – it never seems to stop. So finding time to spend 2 hours on the phone to your mum talking about the next door neighbour’s curtains tends to fall to the bottom of the list.
Why is it hard to find the time to talk?
In the first few months of moving away from home, it can be hard adjusting to a whole new way of life. No one to cook you dinner, no one to hug you at the end of a long day, no to make that perfect cup of tea whilst catching up on Bake Off. Living independently is as much learning to live with yourself, as it learning to live alone, and it can be a real emotional overhaul adapting to the solitude.
For many young people, it can be suddenly extremely lonely, and an unexpected phone call from mum can remind you of how many home comforts you left behind. It can be an unwelcome reminder of how not-great your new life is, and how much you’re struggling to cope, making you more home sick than ever. So mentally, we try to avoid it.
This, of course, results in a seriously ticked off squad, one tearful mum mentioning how ‘she feels like she’s lost you’, and too many thoughts of ‘why did I ever move out?!’.
As we get used to our new lives, however, we simply get too busy. We begin to fall in love with our new lives, our routines, the freedom to do what we like, and the new people we welcome into our homes.
Romance, work life, responsibility can all pile up, and you begin to let your old life filter away – including the people we love. Now that the ties to mum and dad have loosened, the inbuilt need to update them on our life fades, and we simply don’t factor in the two-hour phone call into our new everyday schedule.
How do we remind ourselves to stay in touch?
Maintaining a great relationship with the ones you love back home is so important to your new life. Having a safe space away from the world you know now is crucial on bad days or when things go wrong. A flooded bathroom, a fight with a partner, or even just a bit of a low moment – you’ll want nothing more than head to back home. Which is why speaking with your friends and family should be steadily working it’s way back up to the top of your list.
Start small, with a simple text. Send a photo of a top you love to your mum for her second opinion. Ask her how to make her famous apple crumble. Recommend a TV show you’re into that you know she would love.
By changing the way you contact the people you love, from simple ‘how are you’ to actual enjoyable conversation, you begin to look forward to their interactions, and prioritise them in your head.
Skype is another great way to keep in touch, as you can get on with your daily jobs whilst filling your friends in on your latest gossip. The number of Skype calls I’ve had with my mum, with my laptop balanced on a jar of pasta sauce, whilst I’m frantically cooking dinner must be too many to count.
It also means that you get to see the expressions and the faces of those you love. The faceless world of cyber space can cause wrongly interpreted messages to cause friction and confusion for your friends and family. Talk to them honestly, show them you in your normal habitat, and let them see for themselves just how busy you are, and explain why you’ve neglected them so far.
The virtual world has allowed even the most tech-phobic amongst us to head online, so get your parents and grandparents hooked up to the latest social media sites, to let them keep up with you on there. There are now so many ways to contact people all over the world, there’s no excuse for a lack of contact these days.
Moving away from home is a strange, and unusual experience, and can be one of the most stressful things a person can do. But don’t let the new-ness of a new start let the ones who loved you in your old life feel neglected as you go.