What I Learned When I Moved Out Of The Family Home At 21

FreebieMNL’s Sam Yaneza shares her story of independence.

Living alone has perks and pitfalls.

In 2007, I was one of the lucky few who passed the UPCAT. While I also passed other schools’ entrance exams, my parents and I settled on UP Los Baños. My parents wanted me near them, and the UPLB campus was only two hours away from home.

At first, I lived in a dormitory with four other students. I shared a bunk bed with one of my roommates (I slept on the bottom). I had a tiny cabinet that could hardly hold my things and a small chair that I used as my bedside table. It was a decent arrangement, but I found it hard to focus on schoolwork because my roommates were loud.

After a semester, I asked my parents if I could rent an apartment off-campus instead. The first one was a small studio, but it was a lot better than my dormitory. I had privacy, which allowed me to focus on studying. My parents provided me with everything I needed; a refrigerator, a stove, and a washing machine. It was hard living alone, but I adapted.

It was my first time living on my own, and I loved it.

Living alone for the first time

But I had to learn to cook and do laundry. At first, it was difficult, since I never learned to do those things. I cooked adobo a lot in those days because I knew it would take days to go bad.

My mom wanted me to take my laundry home on the weekends. But there came a time when I had to stay in Los Baños till Sunday. So I learned to do my laundry without help from my mother or the local laundromat.

That was also when I started working at RareJob. I had to earn money because my then-girlfriend was staying at my apartment and I had to cover our expenses. I stopped asking my parents for money, aside from my tuition fee.

When I left school in 2012, I stayed at home for about two months. My parents wanted me to stay with them while I looked for work. I soon found a job at a theater company and moved to a tiny apartment in Makati.

It was a bed space. All it fit was a single bed, a small couch, a dresser, and a tiny table that held my laptop. But that didn’t matter much. It became my home for a year and a half. I was working full-time and I didn’t spend much time there.

Having freedom

In December of 2013, I met a girl who would become my partner for seven years. We moved in together after five months. I went on to live in Taytay for almost six years. That was a difficult time for me. Not only did I have to pay my own bills, but I also had to feed her family. I left my job in the theater to join the corporate world. But I soon realized I wasn’t cut out to wear a monkey suit. I missed having my freedom.

I asked her to move out, but she declined, saying that her family needed her there. I went back to my hometown and stayed with my parents for a while. But I missed the privacy I had when I was living alone, so I rented an apartment. It had a small kitchen and an even smaller bathroom, but it had a nice balcony. I could see the stars at night and smoke without anyone telling me to stop.

My then-partner followed me to my hometown and she stayed with me for two years. It was fine because I only had to feed the two of us. Bills weren’t as high because I didn’t have a lot of electronics.

When we broke up, I stayed in that apartment. It was the best place I had ever lived, and I wasn’t about to give it up. I was also working from home, so it didn’t matter where I lived as long as I had an internet connection.

Wherever I hang my hat

When I met my now-husband, he wanted me to come live with him in Quezon City. I declined because I loved living alone. But after a few months, he asked me again. This time I didn’t decline.

Now we’re staying with my in-laws at their home in Quezon City. We have the entire third floor of the house to ourselves, so we have some privacy. Our parents leave us alone most of the time because we keep odd hours at work.

READ Planning to Go Solo? Here’s What You Need to Know About Living Alone

Even though I live with my husband and my in-laws, I’m still very much independent. I’ve realized that I can be comfortable anywhere. My independence has allowed me to make my home anywhere.

Featured Image Daniella Sison

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