What Does Moving Out Teach You?

I left home in 2014 to live on my own, but went back with my parents in 2015 because I can no longer sustain myself. I got married in 2016, had our first child in 2017, and left home for the second time in 2019. By 2021, my wife and I decided to move away from our hometown and settled in the suburban area to pursue simple living.

In less than ten years I experienced leaving my parents, living by myself, and moving away from my hometown. This post is about the lessons I learned along the way.

Overall, moving out teaches the value of hard work. No mom to cook food and clean the house. No dad to give allowances and repair the broken sink. Leaving home will teach you to depend on yourself.

Disclaimer: this post is based on personal opinion.

Dad playing with family.
Family bonding in the bedroom. Our first family photoshoot after moving out of my parents’ house.

It’s a mental battle.

Living alone is terrifying. Especially at night. (Much worse if you believe in ghosts). Your mind can be your greatest enemy during this time. I don’t know if mine is a special case, but I tend to think of the worst case scenarios. What if I get a heart attack, what if a fire breaks out, what if this building collapses? How could I deal with these on my own? Looking back now, I guess it’s only natural for first time movers to get anxious because their safety blanket has been removed.

Do not be picky with food.

One of the daily battles you will face when you live by yourself is the question: what should I eat? Gone are the days when you go down, eat your food, then go back up to your room. By living on your own, you will understand that preparing your food is not an easy task. While you now have the luxury of eating anything you like, you would find yourself opting for the quickest way to grab a meal.

Toilets do not self-clean.

The toilets in my parents’ house are always clean. All those years I thought they self-clean after you flush. No they don’t. You need to scrub them sporadically, and use special chemicals to clear the stains. Brownish residue accumulates inside the bowl over time, which is fairly easy to remove with a brush. The real problem is the dark ring mark that appears at water level. I struggled with it many times as no amount of scrubbing could remove it. Later I learned the trick was to scrub it with a pumice.

You don’t need too much stuff to survive.

Living alone with limited resources taught me to differentiate my WANTS from my NEEDS. It pushed me to think hard and prune all the stuff that does not add value to my life. One verse echoed with me during those times is Isaiah 55:2a: Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?

I am sure there is a deeper meaning to the passage, yet you also cannot deny its practicability. I know I may oversimplify this, but as I pondered about it, all I needed to survive was food, a few clothes, a laptop, a smartphone, and an internet connection.

Power is expensive. Water, not too much.

Life is more expensive than I thought. When you’re a kid, you would think that power and water are free. You cannot understand why mom tells you to turn off the air conditioner. Or why dad gets mad when you keep the tap running. You will eventually learn that there is a cost to living as you grow up. Of course, I was already aware of this before I moved out. But I do not have an idea how much they really cost. The power bill consumes 70% of my budget, while water only takes about 5%. The good news is these are controllable expenses. I have the option to minimize the usage if I want to make room in my budget.

You need people in your life.

I am not good with people. You could say I am an introvert. Less human interaction, the better. I could stay in my 27 square meter apartment 24/7 without problem (as long as there’s food and internet). But as days go by, I learned we all need people in our lives. It doesn’t matter if you are the most introvert person in the world. You will need someone to thrive.

  • You need a plumber to fix your toilet.
  • An electrician to check faulty wiring.
  • A doctor to treat you.
  • A lawyer to defend you.
  • A mentor to guide you.
  • Customers to serve.
  • A friend to talk to.
  • A community to belong to.
  • Someone to fall in love with.
  • Parents to go back to when you mess up.

Check the expiration dates.

I went home to my apartment feeling proud of myself. I hoarded foodstuff from the grocery store because they are at 50% off. It’s a smart move! I told myself. I went overboard with my budget, but that’s okay. These supplies would last me for two months. I called mom hoping I could get a verbal pat on the back, but all she said was, “Did you check the expiration dates?” True enough, these food items are near expiry. That’s why they are on sale!

You will eventually understand your parents.

One of the many lessons I learned after moving away from my parents’ house is to appreciate them. I never saw the gravity of my parent’s hard work and sacrifices until I have experienced them myself. All those years, I thought what they were doing was ordinary. Sorry, this sounds corny, but I see them now as my real life superheroes.

Moving out after marriage is Biblical.

Moving out of your parents’ house after marriage has its practical benefits. Like growth, freedom, and a more intimate relationship with your spouse. But do you know this also has spiritual benefits? Genesis 2:24 says, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

God designed husbands and wives to become dependent on each other. Moving away and losing the benefits we enjoy from living with our parents sure is uncomfortable. But it also puts us in a position to exercise our faith and entrust our lives to God more. This could result in humility and a healthy prayer life.

There is no substitute for mom’s cooking.

My wife is generally a good cook. She prepares wonderful meals the kids and I enjoy. Yet, there are cravings only mom can satisfy. We live an hour away from our parents now. We cannot casually go there whenever I hunger for her roast beef, birthday noodles, and chicken barbecue. Many times my wife attempted to copy these dishes, but she couldn’t replicate them one hundred percent. I’m not saying my wife’s version is bad. It simply is not mom’s. Thus, the craving lingers until our next family gathering.

Not all rich people live in the big city.

Many people looked down on us when we broke the news about us moving to the suburban area. Their impression was we’re moving because we cannot afford to live in the big city. In fact, one person even asked my wife if we had a well near our house. It hurt my ego a little, but I did not mind them. We didn’t see the need to explain ourselves. I would like to think he is sincerely concerned about how we are going to get our water supply.

Status or how would people perceive us when we move didn’t cross our minds. Yet, of course, we also like to examine the quality of the community we are going to plant ourselves into. We are surprised to learn many of the residents in where we live now are wealthy business owners and professionals. You will often see their luxury cars and bikes parked in their garages. Contrary to popular belief, not all rich people live in the big city.

It is possible to make a full-time income at home.

I read a lot about making money at home, but I was skeptical. They said they were able to provide for their families through blogging, vlogging, e-commerce and such. This can’t be real, I told myself. But what if it’s true? So I gave myself one year to study about online business and apply the lessons I learned along the way. If I made at least $1,000 within the year, then I will pursue this career full-time.

It was a huge risk. But it was a risk I am willing to take to achieve my dream of providing for my family while being present in their lives. I eventually didn’t only move out of my parents’ house, but I resigned from my position in my dad’s company as well. I have now been a full-time work at home dad since 2017. Four companies I would like to thank for making this dream possible:

  1. SpreadSimple. For giving me a superfast and easy-to-use tool for creating e-commerce sites using Google Sheets. You can check my site here: Chromebook Store PH
  2. Income School. For teaching me how to make blogging a business.
  3. Meta. For Facebook Pages.
  4. Google. For helping my customers find me.

Closing Thoughts

If there’s one unsolicited advice I can give you as first movers it’s this: choose your community well. It doesn’t matter how well your parents taught you at home. The people you surround yourself with will inevitably influence you. Make moving out worth it by letting it transform you for the better, not the other way around.

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Jed Chan

Jed Chan is the principal creator of TheLearningDadBlog.com, a website dedicated to providing helpful resources on fatherhood. He is a passionate learner who would normally immerse himself in topics of his interest. Jed carefully studied the subjects of finance, e-business, and parenting before becoming a full-time stay-at-home dad.

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