All Grown Up
by Anna Maria Cos Alcantara
Right when I started my first job, I also jumped on another milestone of living alone in my own condominium. I used to think that those two big life steps might be too much to handle at the same time, but I guess I underestimated myself by thinking that. Now that Q4 is coming to a close, I’m also nearing my 4th month of living independently. Here are some mundane, yet exciting things that I’ve learned not just about living independently, but most importantly things that I’ve learned about myself so far —
- Grocery shopping. When I was little, I used to sneakily put things I’d fancy in the grocery, straight into the shopping cart without putting any consideration if I actually needed it, other than simply wanting it. Now that I buy my own groceries and try my hardest to make sure that there’s always food in my refrigerator, I quickly realized why my parents would give me a certain look whenever I’d put something unnecessary into the cart, and why having a grocery list is actually very important. The very first time that I went grocery shopping for my condo, I could have sworn that my jaw dropped when I saw that my total bill reached PhP 4000. But after doing a quick mental computation, I quickly realized that in the end, it would end up being significantly cheaper if I made my own meals instead of buying them. At the same time, it’s also a price I’m willing to pay if it means that my condo can actually be a habitable place with toiletries in the bathroom, a nicely filled refrigerator and a kitchen cabinet with actual cooking needs. The closer it can get to actually feeling like a home to me, the better.
- Preparing my own meals. Thankfully, my parents made sure that I knew how to cook my own meals, except that I was never expected to prepare them on a daily basis up until I lived on my own. To be honest, I completely don’t mind cooking, and I actually enjoy it. I’ve even reached a point where either I cook a week’s worth of food on a Sunday night or some days I find myself cooking breakfast and making enough for me to bring lunch to work. However, I can’t say that I’ve been preparing healthy meals, but I’ll slowly work on that.
- Cleaning up after my own mess. This is the part where I’m probably struggling the most. Growing up, I hated washing the dishes, and I was always exempted from cleaning the bathroom. I literally was just expected to keep my room tidy and I could barely even do that! It took me a while to discipline myself, and quite honestly there would still be days when my condo looks like a tornado flew in, but I’m still pretty proud of the rest of the days when I make sure that everything’s in order before I sleep and before I leave for work. And I’m most proud of the days when I find myself cleaning the entire bathroom!
- Paying bills. I would say that there are a lot of things in my life that I’ve done that I’m proud of, and one of the recent additions on that list is being able to pay for my own utilities. I will never forget the feeling when I first got my electricity bill and again, my jaw dropped seeing how one human being can spend that much on electricity, but ultimately there was a great sense of fulfillment being able to pay for it. I promised myself that I will never let my electricity bill get that high again though, and now I only turn on my zircon when I’m actually about to sleep. Haha!
- The solitude. I’ve always been used to coming home and seeing family members already at home, or alternatively, waiting for them to come home. This time, it’s just me. At first, I thoroughly enjoyed all of it, thinking that I finally had a place that I can call my own. I got to do whatever I wanted without having to worry about disturbing other people in the house. But after a while, it got pretty lonely. I remember that there would be times when I’d come home from work and be so tired that I wished that I had someone at home with me to talk to, to take my mind off of work. Sure, every single one of my family members is just a message away, but obviously, human interaction is a different experience altogether. It’s taking some getting used to, and at the end of the day it’s also helping me learn how to pick up my own slack.
Overall, I’d say that I’m doing better than I expected. There’s food in the fridge, toiletries in the bathroom, electricity, and water. I’m even at a point where I’m trying to save up for a sofa! It’s crazy to think that I’m already at this point in my life at 22, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thank you, parents!