The transition into adulthood comes with the power to make life-changing decisions. The implications of those decisions rest solely on your head. As a young adult, there comes a moment when living in your parents’ home is not as comfortable as it once was. You yearn for your independence. For some, moving out of home doesn’t require extensive thinking or planning. But for others, it is a decision that will torment your thoughts as you weigh the pros and cons of moving out.

I have always wondered whether there is ever the perfect moment to move out of home. When do I stop referring to it as ‘my home’ and instead start referring to it as ‘my parents’ home’? I have heard of 30-year-olds who still live under their parents’ roof. I have also heard of 18-year-old youngsters who’ve moved out of home and succeeded on their own in a different environment. I have often made the mistake of perceiving everyone’s situation from the same angle. Whenever my views have clashed with those of my mother, thoughts of moving out often visit my mind. No one would dish out rules to me in my own house, I’d think.

When I was in my last year of high school, I mentioned to several people my intentions to move to a different city immediately after I matriculated. Most of those who I confided in exclaimed that I was being overly hasty and advised that I slow down. “Living alone is not as glamorous as you think,” they all said. Needless to say, none of what they said altered my decision. I had never thought that living alone would be glamorous. I was well aware of the financial responsibilities that came along with my decision, however my reasons for moving out were far greater. My relationship with my mother is not the conventional mother and daughter relationship. Our constant disagreements transcended a mother warning her rebellious daughter of the dangers that loom in the world. What fueled my decision to move out was the belief that my mother and I would work on building a relationship. We would both have the space to reflect on what we meant to each other.

Moving out of home is not as effortless as taking your belongings and heading out of the door. There are far greater contributing factors. Societal expectations of moving out of home before a certain age fail to take into account student loans waiting to be repaid and unemployment in a country whose economy balances on a string. Society is filled with unemployed graduates who had far greater plans for themselves, but whose hopes diminish with every job rejection. Various researchers say that setting a time frame for your goals helps you stay aligned to them and increases your chances of achievement. However, they fail to take into account all the wrong that could occur. What if you don’t move out of home at the age of 25 as originally planned? Does that turn you into a failure? Societal expectations are the worst challenges that young people are bound to face.

It has been seven months since I matriculated and I am still under my mother’s roof. I have a job as well as several other income streams that ensure that I never want for anything. I am in a much better position to move out but I won’t. I have come to realise that my reasons for moving out aren’t valid. Relationships are not strengthened by creating distance, but rather by uniting and finding a feasible solution to the problem. Absence might not make the heart grow fonder in the case of my relationship with my mother, because it was absence that created the tension to begin with. I have also figured out that financial independence alone is not reason enough to live on one’s own. Emotional and psychological stability are compulsory factors as well and I have neither one of them. Had I possessed these qualities, I would’ve resolved the issues that exist between my mother and me instead of escaping them.

Here are a few tips for moving out of home:

• Financial stability: Having a job might not be enough to help you out. You need to draw up a budget and have some level of responsibility with regards to your finances. You suddenly have the task of paying your own rent, bills, paying for food and sustaining yourself. You need to learn how to be financially responsible before venturing out on your own.

• Teach yourself basic lifestyle skills: Perhaps you have never had to do your own laundry or cook your own food before. Well now is the perfect time to learn! When you’re out in the real world, you’ll have to do all of these things for yourself. Eating at restaurants as well as getting house help costs money.

• Living alone or with a roommate: Having a roommate means sharing some of the responsibilities with someone else. It’s important to decide whether you’ll live alone or with a roommate.

Adulthood doesn’t translate to being in a race. Allow everything to happen at a comfortable pace. The decision to move out ought to be carefully thought out. It is of extreme importance that you never compare your situation to anyone else’s. Societal pressures or expectations should never be the reason that you do anything.

Read about one writer’s battle with the stigma surrounding mental health issues here


Tell us: When do you think is the right time to move out of home?