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Moving out of parents’ houses is not mandatory from where we live. Leaving home is not customary unless it is mutually agreed by both parents and their adult children. In fact, many Asian families today prefer to live together due to practical reasons. But as someone who has experienced living away from home, I say moving out of your parents’ house is an essential chapter of our lives – especially when you are planning or have already started your own family.
Moving out of your parents’ house will help your personal growth. You will learn self-reliance, discipline, and responsibility. You will be able to do things you previously thought would not be able to do. Leaving home for the right reasons is like investing in yourself that gives worthwhile returns long term.
Can moving out change your life? Is it good for your mental health? Will it make you happier? These are the questions we will focus on in this post. Make sure to continue reading below if you are planning to move out of your parents’ house.
Disclaimer: the content of this article is based on the author’s opinion and experiences and is not intended to be taken as professional advice.
Can Moving Out Change Your Life?
For transparency’s sake, the best overall answer to the questions presented in this article is “it depends”. Moving out of your parents’ house is like being given the key to a Ferrari. It will enable you to start the car, but where it goes and what happens to it is entirely up to you. Here’s the point. You will be 100% responsible for how your life turns out after you leave home. Can moving out change your life for the better? Sure it can. Can it get worse? You bet. At the end of the day, your life will steer toward the direction you chose. So choose wisely.
It has already been three years since my family and I moved out of my parents’ house. To give you a taste of a real life story, here is how moving out changed me thus far.
- I am now a morning person. Before moving out, I considered myself a night owl. I go to bed at 2am and wake up at around 10am. Waking up at 7 or 8 is unimaginable to me. I don’t even know what breakfast means. But since I left home, I became a morning person. I now get up at 6:30 to do my house chores.
- I became a neat freak. I meant it on a positive note when I said “house chores”. There is a sense of accomplishment when my house is in order. I don’t know where it came from, but I could no longer tolerate a messy house. I didn’t even clean my own room when I was with my parents. It’s like there is a switch inside me that was turned on and made me abhor clutter. I guess this is a positive change on my end.
- I learned how to take care of myself. When I am sick, all I have to do is go to my mom. She would give me medicines and I would take them without even looking at the labels. Now I keep a first aid kit and an inventory of the necessary supplements and medicines. Furthermore, I also saved the contact numbers of our family doctors, whom I can get online consultations with. It’s hard when you are sick and alone. Keeping myself healthy has become a priority.
- I am now an expert in operating household appliances. It’s embarrassing, but I didn’t have any idea on how to operate a rice cooker, washing machine and a coffee maker prior to moving out. I simply eat, wear, and drink. I am accustomed to things putting in front of me ready to be consumed. Three years later, I can say that I can now maneuver many household appliances even with my eyes closed.
- I can now deal with insects and pests in our house. When I see rats, cockroaches, and other creepy things inside the house, all I do is run and call dad. But since moving out, I have learned to conquer my fear. I still struggle when I see them inside my home, but I have already devised a plan on dealing with them.
- I have more respect and appreciation for my parents. I am always thankful for what my parents have done in my life. But that appreciation seems to have gone to another level after I left home. Maybe because my eyes have opened to the realities of life. What I thought they did ordinarily, like sending us to school, going on vacations and being together for 36 years, is actually extraordinary. Fact is, I have a better relationship with my parents now than when I was still living with them.
- I learned to live simply. Maybe because it’s easier to maintain a house with less stuff. Or because most of my budget goes to paying the bills. Whatever the reason is, I am grateful I learned to embrace the minimalist lifestyle. I no longer collect basketball sneakers or toys. Whenever I receive a shirt, I donate my old one. I now only maintain enough clothes in my closet. It has become my mission to remove the fluff from my life and focus only on what matters to me and my family.
Is moving out good for mental health?
People commonly undergo mental and emotional distress when they move out. It is normal for them to experience homesickness, loneliness, and anxiety during the transition phase. But leaving home can also benefit you mentally by giving you a fresh start and experience life differently.
I suffered from a mental health issue (on and off) for about two or three years. I’m not sure if it’s anxiety, depression or both. It was one of the darkest moments in my life. I’m unsure about the cause. But my suspicion is I got overwhelmed by the fact that I became a dad after my business failed and got myself into a huge pile of debt. This was way before I moved out of my parents’ house.
My most observable symptoms were:
- Difficulty sleeping at night.
- Panic attacks.
- Hyper acidity.
- Easily angered.
I battled it with my wife for years. She would wake up at 3am to cook a meal for me when I am having an episode of panic attack. Her egg over rice dish never fails to calm me down. Yet it is only a band-aid solution, as I continue to have at least three attacks per week.
But praise God, I eventually overcame it. There were many contributing factors to my healing, such as prayer, getting enough rest, counselling, and reading the book Anxious For Nothing by Max Lucado. But I also noticed moving out of my parents house has helped me with the process. I still experienced panic attacks the first year after we left home, but not as bad as before. My episode has diminished to about twice a month, to almost none. All glory to God!
Here is a quick run down on how moving out helped my mental health:
- It gave me a fresh start.
- The change in scenery broke the loop where I am seemingly trapped in.
- Moving from the city to the suburbs allows me to experience life differently.
- Managing my own household gave me a sense of control.
- I get to meet new people.
- Restoring an old house gave me something to look forward to.
- I get to explore new places like the best restaurants and coffee shops near us.
- I am learning new things.
Will moving make me happier?
Overall, leaving home doesn’t guarantee happiness. Do remember that there are many downsides to moving out of your parents’ house, like:
- Having additional monthly overhead costs – such as rent and utilities.
- Doing house chores.
- Dealing with pests on your own. (yuck)
- Experiencing mental and emotional distress.
- Paying the initial cash out for rent deposits, house renovation, appliances, furniture, etc.
- Adjustment period to familiarize yourself with the new environment, community, and lifestyle.
- Giving up the perks you have while living with your parents.
Yet the same is true when you stay put. Below is a list of the leading causes of psychological stress when you live with your parents under one roof, according to a study.
- Less privacy and more rules.
- Societal pressure to move out while finding a job and paying off student loans.
- Challenge on dating life.
- Establishing clear boundaries.
Here’s the point. You can’t be happy elsewhere if you don’t learn to be happy where you are now. It doesn’t matter whether you move out or you stay put. You will always feel unhappy or dissatisfied when you focus on its negatives. Ultimately, it is the people around us that affect our emotional health, not the place per se. If you are unhappy where you are, put more effort into working your relationships than thinking of moving out.
Moving out of your parents’ house is worth it if it leads you to become a mature individual. Leaving home will hand you the key to choosing the life you want, but it doesn’t guarantee happiness or better mental and emotional health overall. Whether your life changed for the better or worse depends on your focus, the choices you make and the people you surround yourself with.
More From The Learning Dad Blog
- When Should You Move Out Of Your Parents’ House?
- Is It Hard To Move Out Of Your Parents’ House?
- Is It Important To Move Out Of Your Parents’ House?
- The Struggle To Leave And Cleave
- Anxious For Nothing (Finding Calm in a Chaotic World) by Max Lucado
- Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and John Townsend
- Boundaries For Leaders by Dr. Henry Cloud
- Boundaries In Marriage by Dr. Henry Cloud and John Townsend
- Boundaries with Kids by Henry Cloud and John Townsend