Ready to move out
I am 24-year-old woman and I feel like my life reached a dead end. I have to make a major decision in the next few months but I feel like the changes I have to make are so big I can't even think about it properly. I live in the small town where I was brought up. I work in a job which I like and am good at but it is very low paying, as is most similar work round here. As a result I have never moved out of my parents' home. It's never been a major hardship for me because I get along really well with my parents, especially my mother. But now I really feel like I'm ready to move on. A couple of years ago it seemed like the perfect solution had arisen. My father was made redundant, had to find a new job and started looking around at other, bigger towns. I planned to move with my parents so that I would have somewhere to stay while I got myself a job and saved up some money.
Things were very uncertain for a while, my father got a job then quit, worked freelance but finally got a job in a big town 40 miles away. We put the house up for sale and planned to move. But a year on the house isn't sold, my father is uncertain about his future with this company and is on the point of taking the house off the market. He hasn't made a definite decision (he is very bad at decision making) but says that he will likely still be living here in a year's time. I don't want the same for me. I can't stay here: there isn't a job here for me that will pay well enough to live on my own. Even if there was, I feel like I'm finished with this town - it was a good place to grow up but there are few opportunities or facilities here and I don't have many friends outside of work as most people my age just hang around the local nightclub and pubs, which bores me. But the nearest big town is 40 miles away, the nearest city 70 miles away and the city I would really like to live in over 200 miles away. I would have to find a job and house at pretty much the same time and I wouldn't know anyone or know my way around. I don't have a partner or friend looking for a flat mate so there's no obvious place for me to go. I don't have much family apart from elderly relatives in bigger towns and I don't want to land myself on them.
So I guess what I need is some help to objectively think this through. On the one hand I'm excited by the thought of change and of living my own life. The idea of a mortgage of my own, finding a new job etc doesn't scare me, I feel ready. But it's the move itself - deciding where to go, organizing everything. I don't have a car so I can't commute anywhere or easily check out different towns. Plus I don't like the thought of leaving my parents so far behind, especially my mother who is like my best friend. So I can't decide whether to keep waiting and see if my parents do go through with moving and I can go with my original plan or to take the plunge and try to cope with finding a job, house and new way of life all at once. I would really appreciate any advice you can give.
You seem like you're in a good place to begin a major life change. You're clear on what you want, clear that you're ready for it, confident in your abilities to handle the challenges that go along with moving, and honest about some of the parts that will be hard for you, like leaving your Mom behind. Great!
You're a little bit stuck on HOW to go about making the change - piggybacking on your parents' move or striking out on your own. I can't make the decision for you, but what I can tell you is that either way is a viable option, perfectly fine as long as it helps you to attain your goal of moving on to another location. In the long run, it won't matter so much whether you went with your parents or on your own. What will matter is that you make the decision (which it sounds like you've done) and then make the move.
You could set a deadline of sorts - decide on the period of time (two months? six months? a year? you decide) that you're willing to wait for your parents' decision. If at the end of that time period they are no closer to a decision or their decision is to stay, then you could resolve to move on your own.
You could also begin to explore options for jobs and housing in various towns now. Even if it ends up that you move with your parents, you will have gathered valuable information and gained some practice in apartment hunting and job searching. If you're offered a job but decide the town isn't right for you, then you could of course decline the offer - and I believe the experience would still serve you well when you get to the town of your choice.
When there are many variables up in the air, and you get confused because each one seems to hinge on another, it's possible to defer action indefinitely while pondering the relative merits of various plans of action. I recommend you pick something you're going to do to work towards your goal, and do it. No matter how small a step it is, it will help you to get the ball rolling. Perhaps the first step will be purchasing a car or investigating car rentals so that you can visit different towns. Maybe you'll be able to use public transportation to visit towns and possibly even apply for jobs. Maybe you'll pick up the phone and make some calls about jobs or send out your resume. You could subscribe to the newspapers of several towns that are possibilities and keep your eye on the job and apartment listings. It doesn't matter WHERE you start as long as you DO start.
Finally, I'm a big believer in writing things down as a way of clarifying your goals and working towards making them come true. A very powerful technique is to write down your ideal scenario in as much detail as possible and use the present tense, as if it were already true. In other words, think about all the details: where you want to live, what does it look like, do you live alone or with others, how much rent do you pay each month, what is the job you'd like to have, how much does it pay, etc. Write it down: "I live in a (fill in the adjectives you want) apartment. I pay ________ in rent." and so on. The more details you use, the better. Have fun using your imagination to design the best situation you can that will make you really happy. Read it every night before you go to bed and take some time to close your eyes and see yourself there, living the life you've designed and written about. Talk about it as if it's already a reality: "A year from now, when I'm living on my own . . . " It's also important to keep track on paper of the actions you're taking to make it all come true. Every week, take some action, no matter how small, to get you closer to your goal.
Good luck, Tiamat! I have a feeling that it won't be long before you're living your new life. Enjoy!
Susan Maroto, LCSW
This question has been answered by Susan Maroto. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker working out of Mount Laurel, New Jersey. She uses an eclectic approach to holistic healing, mind-body relationships, life transitions, depression, and anxiety.For more information visit: http://www.therapywithsusan.com/