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5 Things I Learned Living by Myself at 17

by Tessa Wilbanks 5 years ago in list
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A Few Things I Learned by Being Emancipated

Emancipation: The fact or process of being set free from legal, social, or political restrictions; liberation.

Imagine this. You're 16-years-old in your room after having a heated argument with your parents. I can almost guarantee one of the first thoughts that came to your young mind was, “Man, I wish I could live by myself. I don’t need them.” Am I right? We always jumped to just wanting to move out. Well I’m hear to tell you, it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

I was 17 the day I got emancipated. I was working as a receptionist for a lawyer, making eight dollars an hour, working thirty-five hours a week. I wasn’t in school, which was the worst mistake of my life but that’s a story for another time, so I had space for a full-time job. I was single and due to being out of school, I was pretty lonely. My parents were divorced and my mother and sister lived far away, so there’s the preface.

The way I would describe living alone at a young age in five words would be: Scary, Lonely, Complicated, Difficult, and Exhilarating. You don’t really have time to meet new people, due to the fact that you’re working your butt off to provide for yourself. And you get awfully lonely sitting at home by yourself all the time because you don’t make enough money to go out. All my childhood, I looked forward to living alone and being independent. Yet I never realized with that comes budgeting, working, and giving up the unnecessary luxuries of life. So here’s what you all came for... The top 5 things I learned by being Emancipated at seventeen.

  1. Get a dog. Hopefully you can have one where you live at because it really helps with the loneliness. Even if you do have friends, it’s hard to afford going out and paying your bills all on your lonesome. What’s better than having a happy, go-lucky pet that gets extremely excited when you walk through that door? Watching his tail wag and just having someone there for you makes a world of a difference.
  2. Learn how to budget. Study what you’re making and keep track of any and all spending. Don’t lose track of a penny. I know, it sounds cheap, but you’ll thank me later. You always want to make sure you have enough for your bills, rent, car note, and groceries. Always take care of the necessity’s first. What’s more important? Rent or going out? Groceries or that cute sun dress you want? Hopefully the answer to those two were rent and groceries.
  3. Keep in touch. Don’t cut off your family just because you don’t live with them anymore. No matter what happens, they love you. They will always love you. If times get tough, they will be there. It’s hard to ask for help, especially after you make a big deal of wanting to be on you’re own. But they understand, they have been there, and they want you to have the best life possible. I promise.
  4. Stay positive. The stress will come... I hate to say it, but it gets hard. You’ll get scared and maybe even feel like it isn’t worth it at times. But everything happens for a reason and it will all turn out okay in the end. You may have a plan and a set way for things to go, but life will throw you off course. Don’t get discouraged. Understand not everything will be smooth sailing, deal with it, and move on. It’s a lot harder than it sounds. But that’s life.
  5. Always take time for yourself. Whether it’s cuddling up with your new dog and watching a movie together, or taking a bubble bath with candles and rose petals, take time to relax!! I can’t stress this enough. Living alone and working get outrageously overwhelming. You can get depressed, or stressed. Take time to go see your mom and drink some coffee together and talk about things. Carry your dog to the park. Go fishing, or running. Just do things that make you happy that are inexpensive.

So there you have it. The top five things I learned, and maybe you can incorporate into your life. They may sound cheesy but I mean it 100 percent. My life got much more stress-free when I did those five things, so good luck!!


About the author

Tessa Wilbanks

I’m Tessa, a writer and aspiring MUA. I’ve faced many hardships and plenty of stories, so let me know if you want more!

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