[adv] I'm afraid to move out

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[adv] I'm afraid to move out

Post by Hirundo Bos on Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:16 am

I live with my mother. It's mostly nice. We like each other and get along. But neither of us want it to be a permanent arrangement, we'd both prefer a little more space. Problem is, it's been a nonpermament arrangement for five years now, and in a way for more; in a way, I never really moved out at all. Oh, I tried a couple of times, but it didn't stick.

The first time was back in 1998, when I was 19. Unfortunately, that wasn't a very good period of my life. A lot of problems I had been keeping at bay for a while were catching up with me and I was anxious, angry, and behaved like a part of the body that's also frequently spelled with an a. So after some years of making a mess of things, I moved back home, and begun, very slowly, to put myself back together.

The second time I moved out was in the summer of 2001. It was a student apartment, kitchen and bath shared with other students, but the bedroom was my own. I went a lot over to my mother's for visits, though, and sometimes I spent the night, and then the visits became longer and longer. My mother's place became my base of operations, and I developed an aversion to staying at my apartment for more than a few days at a time. I still held on to the place, but eventually I had to let go, and then I didn't even try to find somewhere else. And that's how it's been for the last five or so years.

Over the last of those years, the idea of moving out has advanced from "some day in the future" to "any day now", but I've been anydayingitnow on my own now for far too long, so I'm wondering if forum people have any advice on how I can actually make it happen... how I can make it stick when I do...

Like with so many other things, the specifics of my problem are unclear to me, but there are some things I have figured out already:

Reasons why I want to move out:

  • Both me and my mother are single adult people, living in a rather small apartment, and we could both use more personal space.
  • I'm not so sure the current arrangement is fair to mother. She does a lot of those invisible everyday things for me, and I'm not doing very much in return.
  • Not having my own place will be a big drawback when I eventually get around to dating. Me and my date, between us, will have one less place where we can go to be alone. (Also, if OKC questions are to be believed, most people in my age group would hesitate to go out with someone still living with their parents, and I think they are fairly reasonable to do so.)
  • Being in the same room with someone and coordinating my daily rhythm with theirs take up quite a bit of my mental resources. I've been fine with that until now, but as I'm looking for a more active life, I'd like to redirect more effort towards that.
  • For the most time, I really enjoy being on my own, and taking care of myself. I really like those occasions  when my mother is away and I fot the place to myself. And being along is one of the reasons why I'm so happy in my tiny Swedish cabin.


Some possible reasons why I'm holding back:

  • Both previous attempts at moving out coincided with a lot of anxiety. The raging, everythingsucking anxiety of my early twenties, and the aversion I developed towards my student apartment. I have changed a lot over the last five years, but anxieties tend to stick around.
  • I'm also worried about the practical and economical side of it. Will I be able to keep my own household, to take care of my own economy? Will I have the willpower to shop for groceries, the energy to cook my own meals? Theoretically I think so, but I have had too little practical experience to really know.
  • Even though I like being on my own, I might get lonely, and I might come to feel helpless when the problems of everyday life starts piling up. That's one of the things that happened with my student apartment; those were the times when my visits back home increased in length. (Now, though, I'm in the process of building more active friendships, so I'll probably depend less on my mother for support.)
  • Finally, it just feels like such a big step, a step into the unknown, and I can hardly imagine myself doing it.


Some smaller steps I have already taken:

  • I have been looking into my personal economy, and tried to figure out what kind of apartment I can afford. I have looked over that category of apartments and become familiar with what my expectations ought to be.
  • I have downloaded a personal economy app, that I'm using to keep track of my expenses. For now, it's mostly for practice, but when I do move out I think it will be a helpful tool.
  • I have found some sites that shows me available places, and have a sense of the search criteria that give the best results.
  • I have written a standard e-mail that I can edit at need and send to people with places to rent out. (I have to rewrite it a bit though.)


The step I have in front of me is to begin sending out those e-mails, begin to look at apartments, or anything that will get things moving and mean I may actually have to move out. That's where I'm stuck right now.
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Re: [adv] I'm afraid to move out

Post by Guest on Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:38 am

For me, at least, the hardest thing about these steps is always the commitment to finally reaching the end they seem to represent. As long as you're at home, searching the web, you're not involving other people in the process, and the step of reaching out to another human being and saying, "Okay, I want to do this, help me get there!" is always the hardest for me.

There's a line from Komarr, by Lois McMaster Bujold, where the protagonist is dealing with someone with his back to a metaphorical wall. He's trying to find a way to push this person into action, and muses that raising the pressure is just going to squash him. "Don't raise the pressure," he says, "lower the wall."

Right now, you have a wall. You've taken all the steps you can take on your side of the wall, and now you're there. At the wall. Unable to climb over.

Is there any way to lower that wall? Maybe the first step is to try to physically go out and do things in the real world that don't suggest any real commitment. Are there any apartment complexes that have open houses? Even if you don't want to live in an apartment complex, you could try that. Similarly, you could try to schedule a visit to see a place that you don't actually want to move to (again, I'd do this for a property managed by a property company, so you're not making pointless work for someone for whom renting is a sideline).

The internet is great for doing things without making commitments, but it's really hard to make that jump from internet research to action sometimes.

Another thing that might or might not work for you: when I am having anxiety about contacting someone, I will often draft an email and leave it open on my screen, knowing I'm not going to send it. I'm just going to have it open. The act of sending it only takes a split second, so if I can manage to summon a second of resolve at some point, I can do it, and I don't have 15 minutes of doubting and second-guessing and changing my mind while I'm writing.

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Re: [adv] I'm afraid to move out

Post by Mel on Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:43 am

I think your reasons for wanting to move out are good, and it's a good sign that you're thinking this through carefully to try to avoid the issues that have come up in the past. I can't give you specific advice from my own experience, because I've never lived on my own (I went from living with my parents to living with the guy I've since married), but some general thoughts on your anxieties:

-It sounds like your general anxiety can get pretty intense. Have you talked to a professional about it? If you're able to see a counselor, it might be worthwhile if only just for a month or two before and a little while after the move to help you through the transition.

-Practicing your personal economics with that app sounds like a good start. I wonder if you could also start being more independent in your mom's apartment? e.g., Tell her that to prepare yourself for getting your own place, you want to spend a while making your own meals, doing your own chores (and at least some of the joint ones), etc., and then follow through on that. Then you'll be able to prove to yourself that you can handle grocery shopping, cooking, and so on before you're outside that safety net.

-You'll need to give this some thought, but I suspect one of these two options would be ideal: Either you move somewhere pretty close to your mom's place so she's in easy reach if you do need to turn to her, to lessen the anxiety around possible loneliness/helplessness, or you move somewhere far enough away that it would be impractical for you to just stop by, to discourage you from falling back on depending on her and force you to find other ways to cope. You'll have a better idea which would work for your mental state more, based on past experience, than I would. Smile

-Give yourself as large a financial cushion as you can manage--save up as much as you can before you move out so you don't have to get anxious right away if unexpected expenses or job issues come up, and so you can definitely afford a few luxuries (new entertainment, going out with friends, ordering in occasionally) when you need a mood boost.

Hope that helps!
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Re: [adv] I'm afraid to move out

Post by kath on Mon Oct 06, 2014 11:23 am

I think also, make a plan for how your friends / social life will fit in when you move. So, make sure you move somewhere that will make your friends accessible / pick a location that is by other stuff you like (whether that's a particular park, or a particular district, or your work, or whatever) - assuming you can afford that location, of course! And don't get something shared, if the sharing of kitchens / bathrooms stresses you out.

Also, have you talked it through with your mom? I'm assuming she's on board with you moving out? She might be able to provide ongoing encouragement and some input. I do NOT think you should basically give her this as a project she can do for you - but she does know how to manage a household and budget, and what things she things make a good place to live, so you could talk to her about your apartment search, and get advice from her. This might help ease the transition, if you feel like she knows what you are doing and is supportive and informed.

When you do move out, you can make yourself a rule that you always go home at the end of the night. You can do this structurally - if you live and work far enough away that the only practical way to not screw up your day the next day is to go home and sleep in your own bed. Or you can make up a bedtime routine that you like, but you can't do at your mom's.

I would also move all of your stuff out. You're not going to make it your base of operations if there's nowhere for you to sleep, no clothes, etc.
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Re: [adv] I'm afraid to move out

Post by Guest on Mon Oct 06, 2014 12:02 pm

Seconding kath's advice about not leaving any stuff at your mum's. Nothing. Not even boxes of childhood toys unless she says she's keeping them for HER, not for YOU. Your stuff must all go with you to the new home.

There are a couple of things you can plan that will make life easier for you as a newly-fledged independent person.
* Internet banking, if you don't already.
* Get a shopping list with a pen that sticks to the 'fridge. Get into the habit of writing stuff on it as you think of it.
* Make yourself a list in advance of 10 meals that you like, are nutritious and you know how to cook. It can be beans-on-toast and stuff like that, but it will enable you to plan and shop for meals without getting too stressed about it if you're feeling low energy.
* Put together a plastic crate with dishcloths, toilet cleaner, washing up liquid, rubber gloves, etc. The crate can be made in advance and move with you on the first day in the new home. This is now your cleaning box and it will live under your sink.
* Do the same with a few dry kitchen staples. Coffee, sugar, instant mash, packet soups, cans. that way, when you move you will only need to get the minimum of fresh stuff like milk on your first day.
* Seconding the suggestion to try taking on more chores now to see how you manage.

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Re: [adv] I'm afraid to move out

Post by Enail on Mon Oct 06, 2014 1:11 pm

Seconding Mel's suggestion to try taking on more household tasks. You're aware that your mom does a lot of invisible everyday things for you - noticing what they are and starting to do them yourself will eliminate some of those nasty surprises of "why do the dishtowels get dirty here, they never did at home?"  

Especially, I'd suggest seeing if you can take on more of the planning-supervision level tasks. Embertine mentions meal-planning, but also noticing what needs cleaning/purchasing when (rather than just having a specific chore you do or waiting to be told). For me, that kind of stuff was a surprisingly energy-intensive thing when I moved out.

Also, keep in mind that it's pretty normal to rely on your parents for a little help when you first move out. I called my mother frantically demanding to know how long I'm supposed to cook green beans! Over time, you'll need to do that less and less as you learn more.

Another thing you could plan ahead would be some strategies to handle when you get lonely. Putting friends on your list of people to call/skype/get together with as well as your mom, places you could go out to if you want to be near people, music or shows in the background to make your place feel less empty. Since you're worried about going to your mom's for a visit and landing up staying longer and longer, I'd suggest planning other ways to keep in contact with her - meet up for coffee or an activity, call/skype, invite her to your place. Some of your challenge will be resetting your relationship with your mom to one where you can still be close to your family, but in a less dependent way.
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Re: [adv] I'm afraid to move out

Post by nearly_takuan on Mon Oct 06, 2014 5:30 pm

I've had a few of the same worries you mentioned—after college, it was less of a financial burden on myself and my parents if I moved back in with them until I had a non-minwage job. Luckily, it only took a couple of months to find one, but what I'm getting at is I had a similar kind of experience with the opportunity/threat of independence. (However, it's obviously not the exact same; salt to taste.)

Hirundo Bos wrote:
  • I'm not so sure the current arrangement is fair to mother. She does a lot of those invisible everyday things for me, and I'm not doing very much in return.
I don't really know what your relationship with your mother is like, but if it's anything like mine, this is one subject to avoid bringing up at all. My mom will insist that it's not a problem and she likes doing it, and all that makes explaining "this is why I want to move out" harder instead of easier.

Hirundo Bos wrote:
  • Being in the same room with someone and coordinating my daily rhythm with theirs take up quite a bit of my mental resources. I've been fine with that until now, but as I'm looking for a more active life, I'd like to redirect more effort towards that.
  • For the most time, I really enjoy being on my own, and taking care of myself. I really like those occasions  when my mother is away and I fot the place to myself. And being along is one of the reasons why I'm so happy in my tiny Swedish cabin.
This is definitely stuff you can look forward to, though, and I think you should consider articulating it to your mother if you haven't already, in addition to asking her to help push you to move out. (Assuming that's something you'd be comfortable with, too.)

Hirundo Bos wrote:Some possible reasons why I'm holding back:

  • Both previous attempts at moving out coincided with a lot of anxiety. The raging, everythingsucking anxiety of my early twenties, and the aversion I developed towards my student apartment. I have changed a lot over the last five years, but anxieties tend to stick around.
  • I'm also worried about the practical and economical side of it. Will I be able to keep my own household, to take care of my own economy? Will I have the willpower to shop for groceries, the energy to cook my own meals? Theoretically I think so, but I have had too little practical experience to really know.
  • Finally, it just feels like such a big step, a step into the unknown, and I can hardly imagine myself doing it.
This all sounds like kind of the same single issue to me, just maybe different facets of it. I think you'll find that the practical/financial side isn't really that bad—if you ever get too close to forgetting to buy groceries and cook them, you'll get hungry and be forced to do something about it. The other anxieties are, I think, similar—you've built them up mostly by imagining a bunch of problems you may or may not even have. It's good that you recognize you'll also run into a lot of problems you never even considered, but fixating on that isn't helpful either.

Every time I bumped into a mundane household-tasks problem, or something like that, my first thought would be, "why didn't anyone warn me this was a thing?" And my second thought would be, "because they forgot, because they figured out how to deal with it more or less on their own, and now it's just trivial and automatic for them so they don't think about it anymore." And then I figured it out, and now I've forgotten which specific things I'm referring to because all that's really stuck with me has been the mindset.

Hirundo Bos wrote:The step I have in front of me is to begin sending out those e-mails, begin to look at apartments, or anything that will get things moving and mean I may actually have to move out. That's where I'm stuck right now.
You're only stuck because you haven't done it. Wink
The apartment search is boring and maybe you don't want to spend too much time on it. If you're willing, maybe you could ask your mom to nag you on a regular basis about your progress. Having someone ask you "what progress have you made today" may provide the motivation to actually have something to report each day. Or maybe it'll just get annoying. You know yourself best, I hope.
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Re: [adv] I'm afraid to move out

Post by Hirundo Bos on Mon Oct 06, 2014 6:51 pm

This was a lot of good advice, so thank you everybody. It was also a bit of scary advice, and I think that's a good sign when anxiety seem to be at the heart of it all. (And I'm seeing a therapist, have been for years. I'm going there tomorrow and plan to bring up moving out then.)

I like that metaphor with the wall (and have had that writer on my reading list for a while) – I think ways to lower the wall is exactly what I'm looking for. And the steps I have already taken, like figuring out the economy of it, have helped make that wall a bit lower. It's still a little too high, though, and I can't really seem to get a grip on it... like other walls in my life (and there have been a lot over the years) it is invisible to me, intangible, I only know it through its effect: That I'm not yet standing on the other side.

Being scared by advice is probably a good sign that I've bumped into a section of that wall.

The three scariest pieces of advice was:


  • Taking over chores. I'm not entirely certain why. It might be the commitment of it, or fear that I won't be able to keep to it. Getting started with chores has some walls of its own, I think. Actually... another reason why I want to live on my own, is that then I can structure my life somewhat the chores will fit me better. If that makes any sense. Like... in the student apartment, I had very little kitchen equipment, because then the dishes wouldn't pile up. (And autocorrect almost turned that into "kitten equipment".)

  • Taking all my things with me, making rules to avoid prolonged visits. Reading this made me realize that if I move away, things won't be the same as they are now. That's something I find it very difficult to imagine. Every image I have of myself in the near future is of me where I am now – on the couch by day/bed by night, or at my laptop, or at the comfortable blue chair in front of the TV. Dear, familiar surroundings. I don't like the idea of something changing forever. I really don't like it. There's probably a big section of my wall right there.

  • The general idea of becoming less dependent led to the scary realiziation that I am, in fact, more than a little dependent on my mother.


As for the less scary advice: Making lists and boxes was a good idea. Particularly the list of 10 things to eat. Deciding what to eat is one of the most stressful things when my mother isn't home. And thanks to nearly_takuan for reminding me that living somewhere is a skill, and one easier to acquire than one I'd think.
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Re: [adv] I'm afraid to move out

Post by Hirundo Bos on Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:03 pm

Quick update to a months-old thread: I responded to a place-for-rent ad today, for the first time, well, in 14 years. That's many many steps away from actually moving out, but it's been the scary step for me, the one I've used since October to get a handle on, and if I just keep it up and continue responding to ads, I may be living in my own place soon. (And stop feeling embarrassed when I browse the questions of someone nice on Okcupid and see they wouldn't date someone who lives with their parents.)
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Re: [adv] I'm afraid to move out

Post by Enail on Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:25 pm

That's a big step! Congratulations and good luck!
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Re: [adv] I'm afraid to move out

Post by PintsizeBro on Wed Mar 04, 2015 3:01 pm

Congratulations!

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Re: [adv] I'm afraid to move out

Post by Werel on Wed Mar 04, 2015 5:25 pm

Awesome! Congrats, Hirundo! Grin
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Re: [adv] I'm afraid to move out

Post by reboot on Wed Mar 04, 2015 5:29 pm

Yay! Congrats on the progress
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Re: [adv] I'm afraid to move out

Post by Hirundo Bos on Wed Mar 18, 2015 11:07 am

As I just wrote in another thread, I made a phone call about an
apartment today, and the guy wanted to me to come see it right away. It was... very good! Everything on my list of both needs and wants, including price... the best part is that it's just a few blocks from where I live now, so I don't have to learn a whole new
neighborhood, and I can go visit my mom whenever I want, with little temptation to stay over.

There was also someone else there, who also appeared to love the place... so I have to wait until Monday before I know how it goes. I have no idea how such decisions are made, or of what impression I left of myself. So... this wil also be an exercise in bracing myself for disappointment, to get over what could turn out to be apartment oneitis, get out there searching, be prepared that the find could be quite different, with it's own flaws and appeals.

However it goes, though, I've now have experience with these first stages in the process: To find the place, to make the call, to go to the viewing... and the unchartedness of those stages was part of why it was so difficult for me to get started before.
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Re: [adv] I'm afraid to move out

Post by Enail on Wed Mar 18, 2015 11:51 am

That's awesome, Hirundo! Good job making the call, and many fingers crossed for the apartment. Waiting to hear about apartments you want is a special kind of hell, so sending much sympathy your way with the waiting and the apartment oneitis.
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Re: [adv] I'm afraid to move out

Post by Hirundo Bos on Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:33 am

I GOT IT!
I GOT IT I GOT IT I GOT IT!

*running around in erratic circles*
*crashing into a piece of furniture*

Oh, guess I won't be keeping that much furniture in my NEW APARTMENT!!!
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Re: [adv] I'm afraid to move out

Post by Wondering on Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:40 am

Yay!

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Re: [adv] I'm afraid to move out

Post by Enail on Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:50 am

Woo! Congrats!
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Re: [adv] I'm afraid to move out

Post by nearly_takuan on Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:51 am

Congratulations, and glad you seem to be feeling more excited than apprehensive now.
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Re: [adv] I'm afraid to move out

Post by Werel on Thu Mar 19, 2015 2:40 pm

Awesome! Congrats, Hirundo! Grin
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Re: [adv] I'm afraid to move out

Post by Caffeinated on Thu Mar 19, 2015 2:40 pm

Hooray! That's wonderful!
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Re: [adv] I'm afraid to move out

Post by Hirundo Bos on Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:15 pm

Thanks, everyone Smile And thanks Enail for the x1000 good luck modifier, looks like it worked! nearly, you're right, most of the fears i expressed back then seems not so significantly now... for one thing, I've kept growing, and made particular progress with the willpower thing. I now know I do have the skills to get out of the chair when I need to, like when I'm hungry. (If not before, I proved it to myself by getting this apartment.) And the other thing, the reason I'm excited by this particular apartment, is that it's only four blocks from where I live now, so it won't be that much of a change.
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Re: [adv] I'm afraid to move out

Post by reboot on Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:43 pm

AWESOME!! Happy new home!!!
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Re: [adv] I'm afraid to move out

Post by Hirundo Bos on Fri Mar 20, 2015 5:47 am

Hey, reboot, I had it wrong up there, you were the one with the x1000 luck modifier Smile
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Re: [adv] I'm afraid to move out

Post by reboot on Fri Mar 20, 2015 9:08 am

Hirundo Bos wrote:Hey, reboot, I had it wrong up there, you were the one with the x1000 luck modifier Smile

No worries, email probably wished 109x luck too Smile
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