6 Steps on How to be Independent
So you are finally 18 and on legal age and you start to think, “How can I sustain myself therefore I can be independent?” These are the steps on how to be independent.
First of all, hurray to you for taking such a brave step on admitting that you need to start moving forward to adulthood; this maybe all because you want to set yourself free from your parent’s “as long as you live under my roof you follow my rules” shenanigans or maybe because you are absolutely fantasizing about living on your own and setting your own ground rules and just be absolutely free.
Whatever your reasons may be I salute you for thinking your ways out to send yourself to the real world. I was once like you, I wanted to be an independent young person and I wanted to set my own rules in my own way and in my own time without anyone telling me what to do.
Well, I did eventually become independent and boy did I learn much over the years and I still am continuously learning after nearly half a decade after I turned legal. You see it didn’t come easy and in fact I struggled big time to actually afford to be where I am right now.
I am going to tell you the facts here kiddo, life is not easy and the moment you step out from your parents house with your big backpack filled with ego there is no turning back or should I say, the little man in you will tell you not to go back because the worse thing ever is to tell your parents you’re having a hard time and that’s either because you don’t want them to be worried and start offering help – which will sort of hurt the man in you, or you just simply feel ashamed to ask for help. Whatever that is, once you’re out you’ll never want to go back.
Obviously this depends individually and I cannot speak for everyone so hopefully no one goes all nuts about this, I am just saying that these are few of the thousand possibilities that could occur so chill and just read more.
Like what I mentioned though, I’ll tell you the truth here and that it is not going to be an easy ride but I’m telling you to just keep on fighting and just keep on doing whatever you can to survive your way to independency much how the founding father’s of U.S.A fought for theirs.
Seriously, if you really intend to do this all on your own, you seriously have to give your full-blown energy to succeed. Nothing comes to you on a silver platter therefore you have to work hard for this unless of course if you’re born with a freaking silver spoon in your mouth or your parents could afford to buy you a fancy car then hell, why are you even reading this? Just kidding, same rules apply even if you’re born wealthy and lived an easy life.
In my opinion, it doesn’t matter what status in life you’re in when it comes to getting your own independence. Everyone fight their own battles and everyone have different stories to begin with therefore trying to claim your own rights in this world totally varies per individual. The only idea that actually comes to my mind that is quite relevant to any situation is on how you deal with it. We all have to think smart, wise and long-term in order to claim the rights of being an independent individual. It doesn’t matter how you fight your own problems, we all have to stay focus on the key rules therefore we don’t fail.
Here are 6 steps on how you can achieve independency:
Experience does teach you better in life and the cost involve is priceless because all what you will learn will play an important factor in your development as an individual.
You need to be ready!
First of all you have to be sure that you are 100% ready to do this. You need to have your thoughts, emotions and heart set for this next chapter in your life. You can’t just simply go by having second thoughts because that only means you are not ready and you need some time to get all of your shit together and be sure about this. I am telling you, be ready! It is important to talk to other people about this big step and ask someone who is already living their own independent life and ask them how’s the real situation so you can have some first hand real scenario information. This is real life kid, not final fantasy.
- Talk to your parents, older siblings or older friends who are already living on their own.
What I did? I spoke to my brother-in-law who is European. You see, I really have a different situation than most and that is because I came from a culture where kids live with their parents until they get married. In my case, however, I moved to a different country at the age of 16 under my sister’s guardianship and had two years to get used to my surroundings, learn a whole new culture and learn to live thousand of miles away from my comfort zone. I spoke to my brother-in-law and he gave me a lot of useful advice when it comes to living on my own when I am ready.
Find a Job – part time, full-time… as long as it pays!
Yes, you see I told you it is not going to be an easy ride. Now that you are on legal age or over (heck even if you’re younger, it doesn’t matter!) finding a job to sustain your life is not going to be an easy feat. The key thing here is to actually look for the job because whatever happens, unless you are a lucky bastard, no job will come looking for you! You can’t just stay at home play your video games, take selfies or play dress up and expect someone knocking on your door asking if you could work for them. You have to go out, send resumes, go to interviews, go to job fairs and anything related to job seeking. Another key ingredient to this tasty treat is that you should evaluate yourself and ask, what can I offer to companies? You need to know what you are capable of! You need to know what you want to do and what you can do. If you do not know then here’s one thing, apply to any jobs whether it is shit or not and give your best to actually get that job. That is one step forward and once you actually have a job, it is just a matter of time till you realize what you actually want to do in life. Trust me, sometimes you have to give your faith to patience.
- Evaluate yourself and ask what you can offer. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as you think it is something people would like to hire you for. Put yourself in the employer’s situation and ask if you would hire someone who, for example, knows all the moves in Tekken? Seriously, what the hell. Make sure that it is labor effective and something you can actually use to get an actual job. If not then find or learn something new to offer! For instance, learn how to be organized or how to think efficiently.
- Build a good resume. You have to impress your future boss so you have to make this nice. A good resume is the first step to get recognize and it doesn’t matter what kind of job you are applying for, you have to give your best. In here you can write all what you are capable of but do not over praise yourself because you actually need to know first hand what you write in your resume. When you write something about yourself in there then make sure that it will give the company the impression on how willing you are to learn and as well how motivated you are to work for them and that when they hire you, they’ll never regret it.
- Whatever happens, do not give up and don’t feel bad about rejections!
If you found a job then might as well be good at it.
It doesn’t matter what kind of job you landed because it shouldn’t justify how you should work. In these days you need to be aware that the employment rate is slowly going down and tons of people are losing their jobs therefore even if you scrub the toilets for a living make sure that you scrub that toilets damn well! I’ve done nasty jobs as well when I started my journey to independency I made sure that I did a good job and as well in my experience the whole thing is very humbling. On other note, your first job will be the basis of your next one. How? Remember on step two when I told you about the resume? Well, from this moment you can update it and finally add a working experience with references (contacts of your previous employer/s). How do you think your next employer will hire you? They will call your previous employer that you stated on your resume and if you did not do well on your previous job then obviously this new company will not hire you based on your reference. A lot of companies will do a background check depending on what position you are applying for. Personally I came from the bottom of the culinary food chain in the restaurant business starting as a dishwasher until I actually started handling food and eventually becoming a cook and my resume speaks for itself that I’ve done a lot of different work in the restaurant kitchen and from that alone whoever my new employer in the future will be will see that I take my job seriously up to the point that I’m willing to wash hundreds of people dirty dishes. I got tons of rejections from the past years and I don’t take it personally and you shouldn’t either! If you know you are good and can do a great job but still get rejected, it shouldn’t wound your ego because this is real life we are talking about. Rejection is part of life and it is inevitable. However, this doesn’t mean you should not continue doing great job or be the best at it. It doesn’t matter what kind of work it is (heck, even if you hate it!) it should definitely not make you a sloppy worker.
- It is essential to do a good job at work. This is seriously a duh thing to even explain, but the basics goes down to– if you want to keep your job then you need to give your best at it. Also, I’ve dealt with tough bosses in the past years too and I noticed that once they start to see that you are a hard working individual then in time they eventually will start to soften up and be nice to you. So yes, give your best no matter what!
- If you’re unhappy with your first job then it is best to find a new one. Because there is no point on doing what you hate. However, make sure to let your employer know about this as well! Communication is the key and if you are a good worker then for surely your boss will most likely try to keep you but on the other hand it is best to seek for a new place to get your income and as well make you motivated and happy. Also, do not quit your job unless you are 100% sure that you have landed a new one! Otherwise you’ll be jobless and it always best to be truthful and straightforward.
- Stay positive and aim for the goal! You have to understand that just because you found a job then that means you have to stick with that forever even you are feeling miserable to even come to work. It is never worth it and you’ll just suffer! Just because you want to look for a new job and quit your current one does not necessairly mean you are giving up, in fact it is a strong move meaning you got your eyes fixed on the price!
You started earning money? Hurray! Now, SAVE UP!
Once you finally found a job and starts earning money then good for you. You are definitely doing great already! However please be wise at it. I know the feeling when you get your first pay check and all of these awesome gadgets and stuff starts popping in to your head which you would love to buy from the hard earned money you just recently had then stop. Look at your circumstances, look at your surroundings and look at what you already have – stay focus and ask yourself, do you really need those stuff? Or is it just a matter of having it but not exactly a need? This is a good time to start learning because knowing how to handle money this early will benefit you big time in the future. To be wise on money is never a bad thing! If you think you need a reward for doing a good job at work then nobody is stopping you and if you think a pair of new shoes will make you happy then go for it. No one is telling you that you can’t buy it because it is your hard earned money – but make sure it is something all worth it. There is no bad time to start saving up money and it will absolutely only help you out later in life… trust me, I know. You don’t need to save all of your income and you definitely should give yourself something to enjoy and be wise all at the same time. It is not impossible but it surely takes a bit of effort to get used to it.
- What I normally do is that I split my income to several categories: Rent, bills, transportation cost, food, personal and savings.
- Next thing I do is that I add up all of my monthly expenses (rent, bills, transportation cost & food) and deduct it from my monthly income, which leaves me all the money I basically have on hand to spend which of course I will not do.
- Finally, I will take away 50% of that on-hand money after deducting all of the expenses and put it aside on my savings account and I am still left with the other 50% to spend for myself till the next salary comes in. I get to save up and I also get to enjoy my salary so my bank account and me are both happy!
Of course for some this can vary but I found that this scale is very easily achievable and not overly ambitious and more likely very wise. I’ve been using this method for years now and every time I don’t get to spend all of my personal “monthly allowance” then I either transfer it to my savings account or I just keep it for my own and perhaps after few months I can maybe treat myself to something nice (like go for a trip or travel somewhere for a staycation). All of these are all based on my own personal experience and for me the toughest part is about not being able to touch my savings. I’ve set rules for myself and that the savings is for the absolute emergency only and if my emergency for instance is about, lets say, buying a new scarf then I’ll suck it all up and keep my savings sealed and tight away from me. However if the situation is a matter of life and death then that is where having a saving comes in handy. Remember! There is no bad time to start saving up!
Evaluate the circumstances, goals and development
Now that you know the basics on how you can start supporting yourself financially comes the hardest part of all: goals. If you have a goal in mind and you want to achieve it then this is the time you have to start thinking about it. You need to evaluate the moment and start to think what you want to do (Tip: think long-term!) and if you want to, lets say, go to University and get a degree then perhaps it is best to confront your parents about it because most parents save up for their kids education and then compromise must be achieved. If your parent’s aren’t like the majority and still you wish to get a degree then please do not get dishearten because everything is achievable if you work very hard for it! Remember, you’ve come as far as getting a job and then learning how to save up – University is your calling then the tuition fee is your ‘emergency’ therefore saving up for it is your goal. However if you want to continue what you are currently doing while figuring out what you want to be/do in future then it is best to take it easy because it will eventually come but when it gets too long then it is best to take a step back and analyze what could be happening. Patience is the key and stress will most probably lead you to nothing so be patient and decide your steps carefully but with precision.
Short-term goals aren’t a bad idea either; in fact they are great because it is better to have a goal than no goal at all. In time you’ll eventually start aiming for long-term goals because as long as you practice achieving the little and easy goals you have, then eventually your goals will start to be bigger and harder for you to achieve which will and should motivate you to move forward and up your game. In this time your development as an adult starts to come in phase and you start to think as an individual, a person of your own and that is a good thing! You need to start growing up if you want to be one therefore realizing all of these early enough will only benefit you in the future. But do not forget to have fun all along! You need to have a little laugh and a little giggle every now and then. Do not be too serious about everything because like what I said, nothing comes easy anyway so at least enjoy a little bit along the way.
Moving out, new lifestyle and the consequences
Now you’ve come to terms that you want to be your own person because you already have a job, you started earning, you started saving up and you have a goal in mind. Depending on what your goal is I want to congratulate you because even if you are still living at your parent’s house or not, you are already independent. How I can say that? Because now that you have stepped up and hugged adolescence tight then I must say that you are already few steps forward. Again, depending on what goal you wish to attain is going to be the basis of your next step and whatever it is I wish you good luck.
However if you really want to experience the reality of living on your own then finding an apartment for yourself is yet another challenge. Rent could be really pricey and along with it comes those little white envelopes encasing a letter that states an amount and a due date, also called the bills. Before you start dreaming about your first apartment make sure you are earning enough therefore you can actually pay the rent! You can also consider having roommates, which is a rather good choice because your rent is a little bit lower and you get to have roomies (it could be your friends!). I’ve had roommates before and I enjoyed it. Clearly at this point you need to be realistic about the prices around you because once you decide to start living on your own then that also means you carry all of the payments on your shoulder and to do this you need to have a certain amount of income coming in every month to cover all of your expenses from rent to food and to your own personal enjoyment.
Go to Google, check out the apartment’s prices and ask around how much people spend on their monthly bills, which includes groceries, electricity, Internet and water bills. Add to that your own personal bills (phone bills etc.) then get a calculator and add all those estimates and you’ll see what is the minimum amount of money you should earn each month and from that alone you’ll see how much it will cost you to live on your own. This amount is basically just the minimum and it does not include the money you’ll spend on clothes, personal necessities or money for savings. Again, think long-term and be aware of your surroundings. If you see that you can afford all of these with a little extra on the side from your salary then that is a good thing! This means you can actually afford to start living on your own, paying your own expenses and just be an independent individual you want to be. Just understand all of the facts and you will do just great! You need to be wise and somewhat ambitious for something better all the time and eventually everything will fall into place for you. Embrace this new lifestyle you have and as well this journey to maturity because every steps and challenges you face will teach you to be stronger and wiser!
- Face new challenges well and even better with a positive attitude. Handle problems with an open mind and as well be smart at solving it.
- Don’t let challenges get into you, we all have to face it and some even face it more often than you do and yet they survive it wiser than all of us.
What are the important things you can do when you become independent?
Aside from being able to control your actions without anyone telling you what you should do – the best advice I can give you before anything is that experience does teach you better in life and the cost involve is priceless because all what you will learn will play an important factor in your development as an individual. I would say travel and experience new places and go have an adventure; but of course that is my own personal preference and since I don’t want to sound biased I’d tell you instead to do what you love doing. You love to paint, draw or make art? Do it. You love shopping? Do it in moderation. Remember, anything excessive is never good. Whatever you love or would love to do on your own then please just do it! Nothing criminal though! Lets be fair and lets just do good things, okay?
Disclaimer: These steps are all based from my own personal experience. I’ve been living on my own since I was 18 years of age and so far has been providing for myself since then. I don’t urge young individuals to follow these steps unless they are sure and understand all the facts involved.
Photo Credit: Photo credit goes to the owner (all photo’s are downloaded from Unsplash).
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