IBD Awareness

Lessons I’ve Learned Living on My Own

It has been one month since I moved out of the comfort of my parent’s house. While this month has been the toughest month of my life, I have learned a lot along the way. Living on your own is definitely not easy. It requires a lot of extra effort, which sometimes I do not have the energy for with chronic illness. It is a huge responsibility and really embodies the term “adulting” that we hear so often these days.

My new kitchen plant window!

At the age of 23, I decided that now seems like the right time to live on my own. I work a full-time job and I am going to school to get my Master’s degree. It just felt like time and a good way for me to become more independent. I originally was looking to buy a house, but with how the market looks right now prices are too high for me. So, I decided to get a roommate and rent a house in an area of town that I know well. Still keeping that level of comfortability knowing that my parents and two brothers are not too far away.

Below I will highlight just a few of the lessons I have learned in the past month.

1. Get comfortable with silence.

When I first moved into my house, I did not have a TV or internet hooked up for a couple of days. This limited my options in terms of entertainment. I also had almost no furniture in the common areas and every time I talked or made noise, it would echo throughout the whole house. Emptiness. I quickly realized how addicted I am to my phone, the TV, and any distraction that causes me to forget about reality. Without all of these things, I had to become comfortable with silence. Appreciating those moments is everything, because it’s not every day that we get some quiet time to recharge.

2. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

My very first day living in my new house, I locked myself out. I know, rookie mistake. It was Easter morning and I went out to my car in the garage to grab something, forgetting that the garage door locks only from the outside. I did not have my phone or my keys. Luckily, we have a medium sized doggie door on our garage door and I was able to wiggle my way through that (in my Easter dress!) to get back into the house. It was a memorable moment. Making mistakes helps you learn and to do better next time.

3. Learn to be grateful for what you have.

Every time I walk into my house, I realize how beautiful it is and how lucky I am to be able to make it mine. I have also never been more appreciative of my parents and the way they raised me. They have taken such good care of me (and still do!) and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. Taking care of myself and cooking every night is hard, but I know I always have my parents to lean on. Going into each day with a grateful heart can really change your perspective on life.

These three core lessons are things I carry with me each day as I adjust to living on my own. I have also learned a lot about myself this past month. I have learned that I am much stronger than I think. I have learned that I can be an “adult” and be responsible for keeping a house. Despite my fears of a flare in my chronic illness, I have pushed through and found ways to relax and give myself the time I need to adjust. This next year will be a learning experience for sure and I know there will be more lessons to come.

What have you learned from living on your own? Share below in the comments!

This blog post was inspired by the Grief Reality.

4 thoughts on “Lessons I’ve Learned Living on My Own

  1. Because this illness has many ups and downs with a constant need to adjust I have been force to go easier on myself. I try to make list of tasks categorized by the energy that is needed. Like I usually have more energy in the morning so that is when I need to do my high energy jobs even if that means I need to go to sleep earlier the night before so I can wake a little earlier to get it done before other necessary jobs. Trying to plan and conserve energy for times that I’ll need it most during the day has helped a lot. I also, try to be ahead with as many things as possible like extra food supplies and paper product/utensils for the times I am too tired to go grocery shopping, do dishes, etc. This takes the pressure off me knowing I have some back up plans for the many times that I suddenly feel terrible. If I am too wiped out to exercise I tell myself that’s Ok, and give myself a break and instead enjoy slow stretches and funny TV show, or music.

    Being a mom, I still think a good day is when I’m not being barfed on by sick toddlers-LOL. Plus all the tiring work of having to clean all that along with all the clothes, laundry, staying up late and waking up several times at night checking fevers, giving Tylenol, having them sleep sideways in our bed with me and my husband almost getting no sleep being kicked all night and trying not to fall off the edge of the bed we are left with, etc. All funny now but, it was really tough then especially with a chronic illness. It was all worth it and I love them so much and have so many great memories now that they are teenagers. But all of it made me figure out how to fit some fun things into the day even if I have to break them up into smaller chunks of time around other jobs. I usually leave the easy sit down activities for when I have less energy. Often, I have to let many things go (even though I don’t like to). “Simplify” is my key word along with my favorite phrase of “You have to play to survive”. Also I’m finally learning to set boundaries and take care of myself better. Sleep seems to be very healing at least in helping deal with all the other physical and mental challenges of IBD. When in a flare and I’m not able to sleep much even laying down to rest earlier or short power naps when possible helps me refresh. One good GI Dr. told us it’s very important during a flare not to get overheated or overexert and that does seem to hold true for me for the times when I forget and I pay the price with a variety of symptoms.

    You are on the right track with already learning that you are stronger than you thought and finding ways to relax and time to adjust. I love your new plants!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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