Moving out: The trials and triumphs

One sure thing is that at some point, you will have to find an alternative place to live, away from your parents’ house. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • I get scared every time I think about the fact that I will be required to pay all my bills.

  • My friends who have taken this step have told me that it calls for a lot of financial and psychological preparation and this scares me, so I prefer to stay with my parents.

  • But at the same time, I feel challenged. For now, I must abide by my parents’ decisions whether right or wrong.

In between your birth date and the day you exit this world, so much is bound to happen. One sure thing is that at some point, you will have to find an alternative place to live, away from your parents’ house.

But when is the right time to make this move?

This week, four youngsters share their insights on this sticky issue that the current generation now has to confront. They tell us what informed their decision to move out, the fears they had to overcome, the struggles they experienced during that process, and the hope that kept them going once they settled down in the strange places that they now call home.

Lorgisa Rose, 24, recent graduate

I am yet to move out of my parents’ home. The thought itself is so scary!

What frightens me the most about going away is the idea of self-sustenance. A while back, I read a story of a lady who moved out of her father’s house but had to return just a few months afterwards because she just couldn’t keep up with the endless list of bills.

That was sad, and it taught me to stay put until I have a good strategy of how to survive on my own.

My plan was to move out immediately after college. One of the reasons for this is that I love art and I’m very creative, but my efforts to decorate my room were once met with very stiff opposition from my family. Also, I also wanted to put a book shelf in my room but was told that I would do all that in my own house.

I like travelling and road trips and I couldn’t wait to get a place of my own where I could do what I wanted anytime I wished.

But now that I am wiser, I have come to realise that moving out is a project that requires meticulous planning, a good strategy and, of course, money.

At first the thought sounded like such a good idea, but not so much anymore because of the economic downturn and the high cost of living.

I am the first born in a family of five, and I want to be a good example to my siblings by making sound decisions.

I have now opted to stay with my parents for about two more years. By then, I hope to have secured a job and put in place a good strategy.

In the meantime, I have started investing and saving for this project. To raise money, I do a little farming and take up odd jobs. I have also taken up the 52-week-savings challenge, and I am sure that by the end of the year I will be in a good position to move out. I am also helping my parents to pay some bills at home so that I familiarise myself with some of the responsibilities I will later be required to shoulder.

Getting your own place comes with independence. You can do whatever you like whenever you want without having to seek permission. But this is not to say that staying with my parents limits my movement and activities. It’s just that I must be measured in my actions and must do without certain privileges.

My parents have consistently assured me that I am welcome to live with them for as long as I want, but sometimes I wonder if they will someday ask me to go, or if they are already pondering on how to tell me politely since I am the first born.

Also, I’m sure my sister is patiently waiting for that day so that she can take full charge of our bedroom. Could she be getting impatient?

Kevin Omolo, 23, public relations graduate

I am the last born in our family, which probably explains why I’m so frightened of making this move.

I get scared every time I think about the fact that I will be required to pay all my bills. My friends who have taken this step have told me that it calls for a lot of financial and psychological preparation and this scares me, so I prefer to stay with my parents.

But at the same time, I feel challenged. For now, I must abide by my parents’ decisions whether right or wrong. I can’t wait to make my own decisions. I also can’t over sleep even on weekends because my parents will scold me.

Of late my mother keeps asking me how my peers are doing, and I think she is hinting that I should be out there with my peers, and I am determined to surprise her very soon by going away. When I do, I will really miss her sweet chapatis.

My elder siblings still view me as their little brother who needs support, and I enjoy the love and care they currently accord me. I am grateful that I have been able to learn from their mistakes, which have made me wiser.

From them, I have learnt that there is no prize attached to moving out. My time will come. In the meantime, I am trying hard to get a stable job so that I can do the needful before the society begins demanding that I get a place of my own.

Steve Adoh, 25, journalist 

I was 18 years old and had just completed my secondary school education when I moved out. I was born and raised in Kibra, and I am the first born in a family of 11. Add that to the fact that I am male and you realise that the pressure on me to move out was intense.

I constantly felt that I had overstayed my welcome, and that the single room my parents owned was only fit for my younger siblings.

I also yearned for freedom because I felt like an adult. However, I soon realised that it all comes at a price.

My father was against my decision to move out since he thought it was not the right time, and believed that I should use the rent money to foot some bills in his house. However, my mother fully supported me

Looking back in retrospect, I believe I was not adequately prepared for the move, especially in terms of finances. On the day I moved out, I had nothing in my wallet but my identification card, which I used to find casual jobs in construction sites.

I also had the mattress I had used in secondary school, my mother’s old stove, a few utensils, a spare Sh1,500 and a very strong conviction that the future would be luminous. Armed with these, I stepped into the unknown.

Shortly afterwards, I found myself having to pay so many bills! I was so scared at first. There were many fears and uncertainties that I had to deal with but today, I am proud to say that I have metamorphosed into a clever survivor.

At Moi University in Eldoret, I was always the guy who ran several businesses, sometimes at the same time, just to afford my accommodation, upkeep and school fees. My parents believed that I was responsible enough and whenever they called, all they asked was if I had remembered to go to church.

Well, I believe I eventually lived up to their expectations. Moving out taught me to be independent, responsible and focused. I was determined to make a living and positively change the lives of my parents and siblings.

Sure, I have endured many challenges. I have, on several occasions, been locked out for failing to pay rent on time. Also, there was a time I spent most of my income buying things I did not need just to let my peers know that a boy from the ghetto can also live like a king, and it backfired. Through it all, I have learnt the art of saving, and to make only one step at a time.

Whenever I miss my family, I invite my siblings over for a few days.

To get to where I am, I have relied greatly on my parents’ nuggets of advice, and I now tell my peers, especially those who come from wealthy families, not to be in a hurry.

Corazon Cheptoo, 26, secondary school teacher

I have had thoughts of moving out of my parents’ home for as long as I’ve been an adult, but this desire intensified when I completed my university studies.

Even then, I had to contend with fear of the unknown. Questions like, “what if things don’t work out?” kept running through my mind.

In all this, the greatest puzzle was, how would I afford to pay my bills? I didn’t have a stable source of income, so I only moved out after I got a job. I have since realised that this was a great decision, and I advise my age mates to avoid making this move until they can comfortably cater for their basic needs.

Even though I earned a regular salary and could pay my bills, I was scared of failing and coming back to my parents’ house with my head hung in shame. However, I went ahead with the plan.

At first, I was both overwhelmed and fascinated by my new status. But a few days later, the loneliness crept in and I began missing my siblings and parents. However, thanks to the busy nature of my profession, I hardly found time to mope.

Freedom and independence are the major gratifications which young people seek to gain by moving out. But if done carelessly, or if the individuals are ill prepared, they may be forced to move back, and this may injure their self-esteem.

Ever since I moved out three months ago, I have had to make certain adjustments and critical decisions. I am the sole decision maker about what to buy, what to eat, when to go out, when to get back home and who to allow inside my house. I assured my parents that I would uphold the values they instilled in me, and this convinced them to let me move out.

I have learnt that the boundless freedom that comes with moving out may tempt one to make silly mistakes with far reaching consequences. For instance, one may engage in extravagant spending just to prove a point to their peers, but this desire to please others will quickly fade.

However, in my 97 days of independence I have become better at decision making, and in choosing my friends.

I am now thankful to my parents for having taken me to boarding schools during my primary and secondary school education.

There I learnt to be independent and to do what must be done even without supervision, and this has become really instrumental in my new life.