Reading allows you to feel as though you’ve left your problems behind, when in actuality, the right book will do nothing more than reiterate the potential, strength, and beauty that you already have. Sometimes a really good book is just there to remind you of everything you already know but may need to hear someone else say.
Since moving back home, I’ve been contemplating the idea of moving out all over again, except this time doing it solo.
After my last experience living with someone – I was hesitant with the thought. I’d be doing it on my own and the thought of failing again plagued me.
I can’t say the first time I had to move back home was completely my fault, but I still saw it as a failure. I couldn’t keep my relationship from falling apart for even a year since moving out, so who says I’ll be able to succeed my second time out the door?
Having to pack your bags and drive home to your parents house at midnight because you no longer feel at home in your home is awful. It’s even worse to have to do it because you over estimated what you were capable of and now owe your soul to the banks since your paychecks just aren’t cutting it. This is especially scary when living in Toronto, and living expenses seem to cost a fortune based on salary.
However ignoring the very important factor that is affordability – everyone has a goal, and mine is to own my own space.
Though living at home with my amazing family is a blessing, in my new mission for independence and self realization, I know deep inside that I need to take this step.
My search for the perfect condo started a few months ago. I put together a budget, planned out all my expenses, based it all on my salary and found that I can definitely afford to live on my own. I may have to give up the luxuries of eating – but everything has its pros and cons right?… Second and third job here I come!
When moving out on your own there are certain steps you really should follow.
MORTGAGE PRE – APPROVAL
The second you start thinking about moving out, the first thing you should be doing is going to a few different Bank Branches and finding out their mortgage rates. You’d be so surprised what you can learn about payments and how little of a monthly payment difference there is between what you may think you can afford, and what you really can afford.
You can always do a quick pre-approval so you can see what you are budgeting against for when you start your condo hunting.
Excel has created some AMAZING layout for when it comes to budgeting. They have already pre-set lists of what most people pay for so all you have to do is just fill in the blanks month to month. This is a great way to budget your expenses versus your monthly salary so you don’t get in over your head.
Of course you can’t budget your monthly grocery costs or gas but at least you will get an idea of whether or not you’ll still be eating or not.
PICKING YOUR IDEAL LOCATION
Location isn’t always a big deal for people – but having a radius of where you want to live will help your hunt a lot.
My whole life I was dead set on living close to my family. That was until I lived in an area about 30 minutes from home that if you told me a few years ago I’d be living there I would have argued until I lost my voice… The same area I am now planning to move back to.
I’d highly recommend checking out one or two places in locations other than your ideal spot just to see if you are willing to branch out or not. Doing this alone I very quickly narrowed down where I wanted to live to practically a set street.
DO YOUR RESEARCH & MAKE A LIST – IDEAL LAYOUT, SQ. FT, FURNITURE COSTS, etc.
I love lists. I love making lists about lists I need to make. There is nothing better than lists.
Making a list about what you want in your future home is a great way to stay organized. You can even color coordinate if you want to be as extra as me.
Jot down what form of layout you’d prefer, what furniture you’d like to have so you know if it will fit or not. Do you want dark floors or light floors? Balcony or no Balcony? High floor or low floor? Even if you over specify, knowing what you want will save you from looking at things you hate.
I went and looked at 3 of the exact same condos hoping that I’d magically change my mind about liking it and of course I hated it more and more each time. No point wasting your time and your realtors if you already know what you want. Sure it may take longer, but if you’re spending that much money already you have to have it feel like home.
FIND A REALTOR & VIEW SOME OPTIONS
Before I reached out to the agent I am currently using, I spent weeks sitting on realtor.ca and looking at all the options available in my price point. I then did the same thing out of my price point which I highly do not recommend doing. It was so important to me to continue doing my research at all times so I knew what was out there and what it was exactly that I wanted before I jumped into buying anything.
Your realtor will greatly thank you for this as you are making their job that much easier by being prepared. Know your budget and stick to it.
Once I signed a contract with my agent, we began looking at condos weekly. Viewing options can get annoying as everything starts to look the same and you start loosing hope. Its not a one week process like you originally hoped for and will take a lot more work.
On the bright side – once you do find something you like, you will instantly feel at home there.
START PUTTING IN OFFERS
Putting in offers is intimidating. You spend so much time hoping to find something that you love, so when you do, if you’re anything like me you start fearing that the second you sign those papers you lose out on finding something better.
Buyers remorse is real.
Signing my first offer was an experience like no other. The night before I knew the papers were coming, I was tossing and turning anxious about the thought of leaving home again. I don’t think it matters how many times you move out – the unknown of it all never gets less scary. But the second I sent the offer in, I felt relieved. It was real and it was going to be my home. To bad an offer isn’t the last step and it can and very often does get rejected.
On the bright side – the hunt continues and there is always something better to be found. Everything happens for a reason right?
Everyone around me keeps telling me I should spend my money on travelling, going out with friends, or shopping (I will one day live in my shoes at this point). But the practical, stubborn person I am sees every one of those options as not good enough.
I have this image in my head of me opening my very own door everyday after work and entering a beautifully decorated one bedroom (plus den if I’m lucky) condo, with grey and white furniture. Decorated with pops of pastel colours all over the place and beautiful fake flowers because the real ones just keep dying. Picture frames of my family and friends everywhere, and a little fishy who I will very originally name fishy swimming around in his tiny tank. I walk in and just feel at complete peace, pouring myself a very large glass of wine to drink away the thought that my fridge is empty and I really do need a second job… Its utter heaven.
People don’t seem to understand the dream especially since I keep pointing out just how broke moving out can make you. Its a huge commitment that you can’t just turn away from once you’re in. Why would I ever want put myself in a position where I’m living from paycheck to paycheck?
If you would have told me this a year ago I’d say its crazy too… But its the first dream I’ve had about a new future for myself since the breakup and it just feels so right to be on a path towards something again.
My first steps as a solo woman were messy. After the pathetic pity parties (yes there were more than one), were over I decided to branch out and keep myself distracted.
I figured the best thing to do was to just meet someone new and enjoy another persons company because being alone sucked and I didn’t want to deal with my own sad emotions anymore.
Who would have thought that SO MUCH could change in 6 years? What happened to meeting people in person, and why are there so many dating apps available with all the same people on each?
In less than a week I learnt that chivalry was indeed dead and I was so over it.
Since I was now in the mind set that all current single men were disgusting I needed a new plan and It was starting to look like I was going to be my own company for a while.
Having to learn to be completely alone with myself is one of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn. Just when I think I’m finally getting the hang of it, I fall back into feeling completely awkward sitting alone at the coffee shop avoiding eye contact with anyone around me and staring deep into my computer screen… Seems to be one of those on-going lessons at this point.
I figured that I needed to start fresh and rediscover who I was from scratch. I’ve changed so much since I last actually thought about what makes me tick and I wanted to learn it all again. What foods I liked (not having to compromise on food is amazing by the way!), movie & show genres, hobbies, etc. It was a whole journey full of experiments and to do lists.
You know what I’ve learnt so far? I’m a freaking catch.
I’m funny, an incredibly horrible chef, a major foodie, and a pretty good salsa dancer with enough tequila in me.
I let go of the wall I built, always needing someone else around and I’m learning to just have fun. Anxiety can’t hold me back no more! Taking that first step at falling in love with myself wasn’t easy. It took some time to let myself even believe that I was worth loving. That I was interesting enough, or fun enough. But at the end the day, nobody will love you if you can’t love yourself first – so start working on it.
Here are the Top Five Actions I took while learning to have more fun and getting to know who I was.
GO OUT & EXPLORE
I was never much of a city girl. Going out and partying wasn’t my scene, and commuting the half hour drive downtown just didn’t feel worth it. I never learnt to use our very pathetic Toronto Subway Line and driving wasn’t always an option so me and downtown never really got to have that great love affair everyone deserves to go through at least once.
Living in the suburbs there wen’t to many places to go, and this turned me into a total home body. Don’t get me wrong – staying home is great, but it wasn’t what I needed right now. Going out more and more not only gave me the opportunity to meet new people, try new foods and activities, it also helped me with my fears and anxieties of being there in general.
In my mission to start fresh – my minor anxiety was the first thing that just had to go. I no longer had time or effort to deal with it, and I was determined to change my life for the better. For many people, moving anxiety to the back of their minds is an incredibly hard task to accomplish and it is something that must be worked on every singly day.
With this in mind, I forced myself to go out a little more each week, try out new places I’ve never been, and force myself to remember that I was safe and okay until I was no longer scared of it.
Now, go out, explore the city, be a tourist in your own home and let yourself have fun without any questions or concerns. Try that hole in the wall restaurant, get lost and explore new areas. You’ll never learn what you like and don’t like if you don’t at least try.
As bad as it may sound – there is no better temporary cure for a broken heart than running as far away from the problem as possible. Leaving town at every chance I got saved me from myself. It was my way of literally running away from my own thoughts.
From road trips to the cottage, to road trips all the way to New York City – I took every opportunity I could get to leave, and it worked. Windows down, music blasting, screaming the lyrics to Bitch by Meredith Brooks on constant repeat.
Running away from your problems isn’t always the answer. But I did whatever I could to protect my own mental health and I highly recommend others do the same.
On these short and long trips I was able to just let lose. Pull over whenever I wanted to explore my surroundings, sing until my voice gave out, and just let my thoughts run wild. It was the only time I wasn’t thinking about the past but focusing on the future and what I was going to do when I arrived at my destination.
Open your windows, stick your arm out and let the wind blow through your fingers… That’s what I imagine flying would feel like – complete freedom.
I learnt that it’s in those moments when your mind is completely free that you see things so much more clearly. Maybe the breakup was a smart move after all. That new super last minute, walked into the shop and sat down without thinking tattoo actually looks great! Hooking up with a stranger – well 50/50 on that one still…
Leave town – take a mental holiday and just focus on what makes you smile again.
SHAKE YOUR BOOTY
Dancing and music were always my safe haven. It is how I let myself go, stopped thinking, and just completely focused on the beat I was hearing in the moment. No matter the song – angry, sad, happy, or completely crazy – there was always a way to express my emotions by flailing my arms and jumping around.
Being shy, most of my sick dance moves were saved for dancing around the house in my underwear – until recent.
If you would have told me a year ago that I’d be going to clubs, or dancing on the beach with people watching all around I’d probably laugh in your face. But here I am – making changes and shaking my ass barefoot to the sunset.
Change isn’t always a bad thing. Stepping out of your shell can be terrifying, but also life altering. If you aren’t willing to risk your pride, you won’t ever have the chance to learn what makes you smile. Plus the memories at the end of the day are totally worth it – especially if you make a complete fool of yourself.
YOGA & MEDITATION
Unfortunately I am not someone who enjoys working out. I hate it. I’ve tried to stick to it – I get gym passes yearly, and cancel them just the same. I’ve done Pole Dancing and Pilates which are both incredible and highly recommend – but even with those I would take a break and never go back.
I always talked about taking up Yoga and with just the same motivation that plagued my life, I never did. I guess it was the lazy ass in me that didn’t wanted to try something new, but I’ve forced myself to change (typing this while perfecting my swan pose) and I love it.
For a few months kept searching for ways to clear my mind that didn’t involve going out every single night or pretending to be sick so I could take off work and drive as far away from home as I could… Then someone suggested Yoga and since I’ve been trying to get myself to start for so long I figured now was the perfect opportunity.
I found an event to do Yoga in the Park close to home and after a very wine filled evening with friends the night before, I decided we had to do Yoga outside in 40 degree weather. Though it was hot, and I was hungover, I never felt better. In that hour outside stretching, I was so focused on staying centred and listening to the sound of birds that I forgot about everything else going on in my head. Giggling with my also hungover best friend because we kept falling out of our poses really helped too.
Learning to clear your thoughts and just be present is tough. It is a practice and it takes a lot of work – but it is worth it. And until I perfect it – I’m okay giggling through my stretches. Yoga is the perfect way to stretch the stress out of my life and just enjoy the moment.
For as long as I can remember I have adored taking pictures. Being on my phone, or a digital camera, it was how I saved every good moment I was having.
I would also always take it one step further and go print every digital copy of a picture I had so I could store the real versions in one of the hundred albums I currently have sitting on my self.
Last year my incredible sister blessed me with the most beautiful Rolleiflex Twin Lens Camera I have ever seen. She was the start to my film camera collection, growing a hobby I didn’t even know I’d love so much. I am now never seen without a camera near by clicking away at it all. I am no longer willing to lose sight of my life and will always focus on the good around me.
Next step – learning to develop the film on my own!
Finding what makes you happy is a process. You have to be willing to try new things and open yourself up to new possibilities which can be really scary for a lot of people. But take it from me – it is worth it. You can learn so much about yourself and what makes you happy if you just stop and listen.
My story isn’t what I’d like to call unique in any way…
It was my first year of university when I fell in love with a guy I thought I’d be marrying one day. No matter what we went through, he was my lobster.
Fast forward 5 years – we are moving into our first place! I’m over the moon excited at the thought of going to sleep next to my best friend, and waking up to his face everyday. We found an adorable One Bedroom Condo with a bright orange couch that you could probably spot from Mars – it’s a dream come true.
Now, picture this, because it sounds like this story can only have a happy ending right?
We’re 10 months in to living together, and I am standing there ugly crying over a duffel bag full of clothes questioning why I wasn’t good enough to love.
It took only one day to have my life completely turned over. Years’ worth of dreams and plans tossed down the drain.
Like I said… It’s not unique, and unfortunately a pretty common ending to stories like mine. First loves don’t always last and I’m learning that it’s OK.
Having everything you planned, and imagined for yourself ripped away really makes you look at things differently. You become lost. You start grasping at straws just trying to make sense of what your next step needs to be.
I never went through the stages of grief. I was never in denial, or angry with what happened. I never really accepted it either. I was just there- living, breathing, and so utterly confused.
I spent days walking in a complete daze. Replaying almost 6 years’ worth of conversations to see where I went wrong. Mentally abusing myself with every action I should have done differently, blaming myself for not being good enough. It was not a healthy coping mechanism, telling myself it was my fault I wasn’t loved… But it did help me realize that I needed to make some changes in my life.
It took a while to snap out of it, falling in and out of sad spells. But I’ve gotten there and though relapses are a downside of first loves – I’m finally seeing that there is light at the end of this tunnel. If there is one thing I learnt these past 5 months it’s that nobody should ever be given so much power as to make you feel so little.
My friends and family were a huge part of what got me through my move back home. But to be honest, I like to think that a lot of it was thanks to myself. If being dumped gave me one really good thing, it was learning to love myself more than someone else for the first time in my life.
So here I am. Learning to give myself the love and attention I need, finding what makes me happy, and taking action for the better.
These past few months I’ve forced myself to completely change my outlook on life. Going from a shy closed off girl who never really went out, to forcing myself to have fun, try things I’ve never done before, and to take up hobbies I only ever just talked about.
So maybe my story does have a happy ending after all.
Today I turned Twenty-Five (HELLO Quarter Life Crises! Be kind to me)…
Today, I am taking my first big steps at getting my fresh start in a very hectic life.
Not every new beginning needs to be scary. I may be starting from scratch, but that just means I get to do it
right way better this time.
Welcome to the story of my new life.