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The 9 Biggest Secrets About “Real Life” I’ve Learned In My First Year Living On My Own

I am quickly approaching the one-year anniversary (or home-iversary) since I moved into my apartment. And what a year it has been!

Surviving the past twelve months has been super easy, all I have had to do was…finish university, complete a short course, completely change employment from hospitality to the 9-to-5 life, have one mental breakdown, enter months of therapy, literally learn how to be part of a healthy relationship, get used to living a whole state away from my mum, annnnnddddd not burn my apartment down in the process. Simple, right?

I am pretty proud to put my hand up and say “I did it!” but not without learning some serious lessons along the way. Here they are:

1. Life admin is your best friend

Ahhh good ol’ life admin. Embracing this thing called adulthood means making life admin your best friend — otherwise, it turns into your enemy. What do I mean by life admin? I am talking about bills, groceries, cleaning, budgeting, insurance, keeping your contact information up-to-date for everything, the list goes on…If you can stay on top of this dragon, I promise that you will learn to love it (or at least the feeling of being on top of it).

2. Education is your second best friend

I am not saying to enroll for your nearest university pronto! But set a goal to learn something new every day. I realized how much time I was “wasting” by doing mundane tasks like hanging the washing on the line, doing my makeup, or cooking. Now during those times, I try to put on something interesting/educational (or Snapchat-related — I am not perfect). By doing this, I am pretty much guaranteed to learn something new every day, which just helps make me a better version (and more-equipped version) of me.  

3. You have to be your own cheerleader

Always be your number one supporter. Need I say more?

4. You can’t do everything yourself

Despite what we tell ourselves, we simply cannot do everything ourselves. This is especially the case when you are a 21-year-old, clueless person with zero tools and a tiny, golf cart-sized car. I cannot tell you how many times I have had to call someone for advice because my toilet was backed up, or ask for someone to bring a drill over to help a girl out, or come look at my AC because it was flooding my living room…shit, I am just at the tip of the iceberg here but you see where I am going, right? I am not an HVAC specialist nor do I have a car with a trailer to move furniture. But I do have some pretty cool people in my life who do and are all too happy to help (especially when the offer of beer is involved).

5. Be frugal AF

I went from living a cushy life at home to all of a sudden having a mortgage, a personal loan (because washing machines and fridges are something I forgot to budget into moving out), and a whole lot of bills. Safe to say my bank account has taken a serious hit this year, which has seen me being frugal AF. I have set little rules and guidelines for myself to ensure I have a good money-to-month ratio. My favorite rule was…no clothing purchasing for six months (not even underwear). I made that six months, and I would have kept going if not for a swanky Fashion Night (first world problems, I realize). But that six months forced me to recalibrate, and even now, I am much more intentional (and slow) to make purchases as I realized how much money we all waste on unnecessary shit.

6. Animals are the best therapy

Flossy-Jane, my crazy jungle-cat, if I did not have you to wake up to and come home to every day my life would be so much duller.

7. When things fall apart it is okay to cry (for a minute)

Nothing explains this point as well my #HotWatergate experience.

8. Real friends are the freaking bomb!

I feel like everyone collectively learns this lesson every year but true friends are the bomb. They are the people that can look you in the eyes and say “you are not okay”, they are the people that rush to your home with wine or cheese or coffee or hugs, they are the people that you can jump in a van for two weeks with and they are the people I am so freaking lucky to have.

9. The best things truly do happen when you aren’t even looking.

Who knew that my girlfriend dragging me along to the Dalby Races would result in me meeting the ultimate country boy. The best things truly do happen when you aren’t even remotely looking.

*****

There we have it, folks — that is all from me today. Now put your phone down and tell someone how much they mean to you.

Carly is a four-eyed, caffeine-addicted and severely-clumsy girl living down under in Australia. She regularly publishes rants, braindumps and even some tricks to survive life on her blog, The Chronicles of Carly, and on her Instagram, @thechroniclesofcarly.

Image via Unsplash

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