There is a phrase that goes something like, “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.” This mantra is a line that my parents used to use on me all the time. I eventually stopped listening to them because I was SO tired of hearing it, and it never made sense to me since I always thought you should know what you have before you give it up. I didn’t realize how wrong I was until I moved out.
For me, moving away from home after graduating from college was a no-brainer. I came home after finishing up my senior year and went stir crazy immediately. I loved my parents, BUT, them asking me where I was going, who was I seeing, and what was I up all the time to drove me nuts. I had just spent the past four years not being monitored by someone, and here I was again having to answer to my parents.
I lasted about a month before I seriously started looking at options to move. There was literally nothing for me career-wise in my hometown, so leaving was the only choice I had. I had interned in New York City two years before, and I had always wanted to live there anyway, so that is what I set my sights on.
“How will you earn a living?” “Where will you live?” “Won’t you miss us?” These were just a few of the many questions my parents had when I let them in on my plans. It was really funny to me that my dad was the one who was more receptive to my idea, my mom, on the other hand, did not want to see me leave. Why I found this funny was because my mom had done exactly the same thing when she was my age.
When I say that my mom was an independent young adult, I am not lying. Being from a small town herself, she felt the need to leave too. So, she went to radiology school at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where she just happened to meet her best friend while going to school together. Unlike my mom, though, this friend was from the West Coast—California, to be exact. And when this friend asked my mom if she wanted to drive back across the country with her after graduation, my mom immediately said yes. She hadn’t really been that many places outside of her own hometown, so to her this was the chance of a lifetime.
So after her graduation, she and her friend packed up her friend’s car with all of their stuff and drove to sunny San Diego where my mom stayed for the next 25 years. She said that while she missed home, she had to get out and live a little. And she did because she eventually met my dad and I was born there.
Knowing all of this, I could not understand why she didn’t want me to leave. If anyone, she should be the one to understand why I had to. But once I received two internship offers and a permanent job situation in New York, there was really nothing she could do to stop me from going.
I arrived in New York on August 30th with just one suitcase and a place to stay for two weeks before I had to figure out something else. To me, everything was going to work out, it just had to because there was absolutely no way I was going home! I was my mother’s daughter, so I was determined to make this work.
I started my internships and new job and everything seemed perfect. After the two weeks was up, I was able to stay with a friend for another two weeks before I moved into my own New York apartment. But soon, I began to realize just how different living on your own is compared to living at home.
At home, I never had to worry about what or when to eat. Somehow, food magically appeared courtesy of my mom on a regular basis, and the fridge was never empty. And things like driving your car to get groceries or shopping didn’t seem like a big deal either, it was just normal. Both of these scenarios do not happen when you are on your own or in New York, though.
In the city, money is as tight as it can be so there is no way your fridge will ever resemble your mom’s. You may not need enough food to feed an army, but you do need to eat. The other problem is that most of the time you can only get what you can carry since you do not have a car to help you. Ubers and taxis are expensive, so taking them on a regular basis is just not possible.
As for laundry, you have to do it yourself too. And here, a Laundromat is the only place you have unless you lucked out and have the magical New York apartment that has in-house laundry. And let’s talk about the apartment issue too.
Everyone knows that rents in New York are sky high, even for the worst apartments. The small amount of money you are making does not exactly let you be picky about where you are living, you are just happy to find somewhere you can afford, even if it is a four-bedroom apartment. Not that you mind having roommates, but more space to get away from things, like your basement at home, would be nice.
The first time I went home for a long period of time literally felt like a vacation from my own life. My mom had filled the fridge with all of my favorite foods, I could drive my car aimlessly around town when I wanted to, and my mom had offered to do my laundry. The things I had thought were so annoying before I moved suddenly didn’t bother me anymore.
After being home for two weeks, I was ready to go back to New York, but I still wanted to take bits and pieces of home with me. I had been spoiled the past two weeks, and I wasn’t ready to go back to the starving artist way of life again. But then I realized that is the point of coming home; you have somewhere to come back to when you need it.
Things are a bit easier than the first year I moved away from home, but I still miss it every once and awhile. There is just something to be said about being home, I guess. And now that I have been living away from home for awhile, I don’t take the small things for granted anymore or get annoyed by them. Instead, I look forward to them when I come home, especially being fed on a regular basis!