Today marks the 5th month of me permanently invading my partner’s personal space.
In most respects, its feels like your average Monday morning/early afternoon; the duvet is still wrapped around my toes, acting as a pastry in an effort to preserve its tasty contents’ warmth, and the lump to my left gently rises and drops in sync with the ever so subtle whistle that accompanies each inward breath. This feels normal. Of course it does, because we’ve been together for 4 years now and know each and every attribute of one another from the distinctive beat of him running up the stairs to the nightly routine of making toast at 2am. However, every now and again it hits me:
I’m eighteen years old.
Don’t get me wrong, things couldn’t have turned out better in the end, and my partner and I are closer than we’ve ever been but I could have never imagined myself here this time last year.
The move was determined by the fact that my parents decided to leave our town in the country and head back to the city where we’re from and, being in love and halfway through exam season in my final year of secondary school, I decided the move was impossible.
I guess I’m just writing this as a guidebook for anyone else who might find themselves in a similar scenario, so let me reassure you; it is not easy. But it will be fine.
Leaving home is never easy.
Whether you’re going to uni, travelling the world or simply leaving home, leaving is hard even if you don’t have tight bonds with your family. For me, even if it sounds shallow, one of the hardest things was leaving behind the products that we used in my house, my bath, my own bed, toilet, fridge, shampoo and bread brands and the sofa! These were all things that I had contact with on a daily basis, and so when you first meet your new, foreign khazi, it can take a while to feel comfortable in the privacy of your own new “home”. Living with someone else is particularly strange, as you have to adapt to all of their routines too, and incorporate them into your daily life.
Your brain takes a while to catch up.
Getting taxis after a night out was a NIGHTMARE during the first month. Mix my awful memory with 3 large glasses of Merlot and your headed 5 miles in the wrong direction before you notice that home is somewhere else these days. You’ll be giving out the wrong house number to the bank and ordering your new boots to the wrong postcode for weeks, but don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it.
With new housemates, conflict is inevitable.
Whether your girlfriend is hogging the duvet (sorry), your roomie won’t pass the remote or there is a major personality clash in your new home, there will always be arguments. It’s a major shock too, especially when it’s somebody you love because you’ve always imagined this cushy new lifestyle and perhaps planned exactly how shared living will be. Well, it’ll never be how you expect it to be, trust me. But with this fresh surprise-round-every-corner kind of lifestyle, you wont ever get bored. Just try not to take anything personally. Everyone is adapting and adjusting to this new arrangement, so just give it time or talk about your issues. It can’t be swept under the rug if it’s a rug you both walk over.
You have to mature and be a responsible “adult”, even if you still feel like a baby.
It’s probably the hardest bit about the whole process, but you have to grow up, basically. Nobody wants to do your dishes any more than you do, so you have to wise up, clean up, and take responsibility for yourself. Yup, it’s shit. You’ve already heard this lecture from possibly every single family member, teacher and adult but it’s the advice that counts; you really are on your own now.
Except you’re not! Which is the great part. Although nobody’s going to follow behind you, picking up every single crumb that you drop, living in a new place is great because you now have an expanded support network, new friends and new family.
Okay, so I could give you LOADS more advice like “don’t burn pasta to the bottom of the pan” or “don’t enter the bathroom without knocking” but I thought we should keep this one petite.
At a young age, it’s easy to feel vulnerable and alone in a foreign setting, starting from scratch and creating new bonds, but the truth is; you’re already a natural.
You’ve done it all already from the age of 4 when you started school to your first school trip up until now. You’ve been trained for this moment all your life-so without any further cajoling:
Fly, bird! Spread your wings! Drink, dance, eat, cuddle, cry, snore-do it all. You’re ready.