I have a firm belief that everyone should move out the year after high school. Everyone needs a cheap apartment that smells like cat pee and has a crazy old lady living next door who doesn't come outside but peers at you through a crack in her door as you leave for school or return after a late night out.
Everyone needs to learn to live on $500 a month. Well, you can adjust that with COLA to make sense in today's market.
When I first moved out, I lived in an apartment for $210. I had the rest of the $290 to spend frivolously on food, phone, and school supplies. It wasn't my money -- my parents gave it to me -- but I had to know how to spend it. There was no getting more when it was done.
When I dropped out of school and had to live off my own funds, I had slightly more a month. I had a whopping $700 a month, but I also adopted a car. And a room mate. I had slightly less panic in the month, but more responsibility.
And then, I decided to move home.
I believe that all people need to move out after high school and, at some point in their early 20s, should move back home.
So they will want to get the hell out again as soon as possible.
You see, I went from living at home with everything I could ever want to living alone with nothing I needed. Except freedom. Glorious, glorious freedom.
I moved home to go back to school. I moved from a two bedroom apartment of my own (with room mate) to an 8x10 bedroom beside my parent's room. It was... a learning experience.
Don't get me wrong. I love my parents. But being free to make my own decisions and my own choices and my own supper (of cereal) was amazing. Being back home -- with siblings and parents and meal times -- well, it was an adjustment. I had had the taste of sweet freedom and I would have done anything to get it back.
Some really good things came out of my choice to move home. I got into a school program I loved. I became better friends with my sisters. I became a lot closer with my mom. I started my paper route again. My mom did my laundry.
Part of me needed to return home that year. So many things had happened that I didn't know how to deal with. Part of me needed to run home to Mommy. I needed to know that there was safety and comfort somewhere.
But a year later, I had to get the hell out. And that was even better.