I’m not sure what prompted my little trip down memory lane. That said, I do occasionally think back to various points in my life that I can acknowledge are crossroads.
We all get to a point in our lives where we know it’s time to finally cut the apron strings, and take that step – moving out from a parents house, and having to be responsible for ourselves.
In my situation, I was living with my Dad. I’d recently graduated from university with a decent degree, so I was all set to begin my career in software development. Here’s the crunch part though – I was painfully aware that to follow my dream, and to continue following the path I had set myself upon, I wouldn’t be able to stay comfortably close to my family and friends. The jobs in my chosen profession were all down south. The closest thing to what I wanted to do that was located close to where I had grown up was a very poorly paid data entry job.
I guess this is why it took over 3 months for me to even begin a job search – and even for my Dad to mention that I should probably start job hunting. We both knew that me getting a job would mean that I would be moving over 100 miles away. I think it’s why we both avoided the subject for a bit. That said, my Dad was always very good about pointing me in the right direction of being a responsible adult, even when it was painful.
So, my Dad gently suggested that it was time to start job hunting. I got myself into adult mode, signed up for job seekers allowance, and started the hunt in earnest.
I had a job landed within 2 weeks. It felt too soon, but by this point, I was committed. I’m not sure if my Dad was surprised at how short a time it took. That said, I think that even if it had taken a month longer, it still would have felt too soon.
I remember my last night as a resident at Dad’s house, feeling incredibly melancholy as I sat outside just looking at the garden. I was less than 24 hours away from starting a new life in my dream career, but all in a place where I had no family and no friends. Maybe it seems dramatic – I was moving 120 miles away, but I have a car. It’s only a 2 1/2 hour drive. Phone calls are a thing. Somehow though, it’s not the same. I cried a bit, but I was still excited about finally starting to adult.
The first few years were tough. I think it took me 3 years to finally feel like my new city was home. I missed my family desperately. I still do, occasionally. I often wish I could live closer to them all. Moving out isn’t hard. Moving so far away is. I think if I’d known how hard I’d find it, I would have chickened out.
That said, I have no regrets. I feel that this was my first step into ‘adulting’, and I think I did ok. I’m also grateful that my Dad allowed me that small breathing space after gradutation to carry on being his little girl for just a bit longer before making it clear that I did have to start being fully responsible for myself. Thankfully, he brought me up to have the resilience and knowledge that he knew I would need to make it on my own. Which I guess is another thing to be grateful for.
That said, he’s not rid of me yet. Parenting is a 24/7 job for the rest of your life, and I phone him most evenings just to make sure he remembers this. When visiting, I am seen off with a carrier bag full of food and necessities. His house is still a place of refuge when life throws a curveball my way. It’s comforting to know that he still has my back, and should I need it, I can always run back there with my tail between my legs. I know that I’m lucky to have this. Even though my Dad has made sure I can adult with little assistance, knowing that he still wants to look after me has been a huge comfort over the years when life wasn’t treating me well. Just because I *can* do it all on my own, doesn’t actually mean that I have to – and I’m incredibly lucky to have that kind of situation.