It is with mixed emotions that I finally come to terms with moving out of my apartment next week.. That's right folks! After about four years of living independently, I will be moving back in with my parents until they figure out where they plan on retiring. It is not a decision I (or should I say we) came to easily, but the financial burden was getting to a bit much. For those living in Virginia, you understand exactly where I am coming from.
Still, living independently is something that I would encourage everyone with a disability to embark upon. Not only does it teach people what they are truly capable of, but give parents the benefit of knowing what it feels like to let go without the fear of ultimate failure. In other words, they are still around to teach them when necessary while giving their children the freedom to make mistakes...
Let's take a look back at my journey. When we first moved to Virginia in 2008, I found it difficult to make friends. My family and I spent several months settling in and trying to find a church we felt comfortable with. After looking at several prospects, we finally decided on a church whose main goal was teaching straight from the Bible, verse by verse. It was there that I met Sadie and we developed a friendship. Beginning December 4, 2011, we discussed our dreams of living independently and toyed with the idea of becoming roommates. Like myself, Sadie was determined to spread her wings and fly! Looking back, I feel as if this was God's plan, giving us the opportunity to prove our capabilities to our parents. My parents weren't exactly comfortable with the idea of me living by myself, so this was a logical compromise. That way, they knew someone would be there in in the evenings (as well as at night) in case of emergencies.
In January 2012, we finally signed a one-year lease for a two bedroom apartment;its location was close enough to my parents that they could come help when needed. Little by little we begin to make that apartment our home, adding sparks of color (and accent walls!) Along the way I learned important lessons about cooperation and compromise. At first, I spent a majority of my time working on this blog; never giving up hope that I would find a job. Occasionally, we would have friends from church over for movie nights and to celebrate birthday parties. We both thrived until unforeseen difficulties caused my roommate to have to move out. This left me reeling, wondering how all of this fell into God's plan. But you know what they say- When God closes a door, he opens a window. It was around that time (or earlier) that I was hired to write blogs on website accessibility. My parents were still unsure about my ability to live on my own but figured since I was financially stable, I should at least finish the lease.
I continued to work for the remainder of the lease, but felt the apartment was a little too big for one person. For a while, I wasn't sure whether a one bedroom apartment would open up and I have to move back in one my parents; sometime during Christmas break I was notified that one had became available- an early Christmas present. So on February 19, 2013, I began transferring my belongings from one apartment to the next with the help of some friends from church. Although I had lived independently before, it was an exhilarating feeling knowing I was completely on my own. I was responsible for paying the bills as well as making the place my very own. In other words, I was now a part of the typical workforce, getting up early in order to telework several hours a day.. In the process, I dealt with my share of personal assistant problems; this reiterated the value of advocacy on a daily basis and making sure my voice is heard.
All in all it has been amazing five years; during which I've gained the self-confidence of knowing what I am truly capable of. It's been a roller coaster of emotions but that's just a part of life;as my college pastor used to say, "Exp|ct the unexpected." While moving back sometimes feels like a step backwards for me, I have to believe God has something bigger in store for my future- and this was just a glimpse into what is humanly possible..I haven't given up hope that I will settle down permanently- with a full-time job and a place of my own (maybe even a boyfriend!) It just isn't my time yet..
Until then, I will have fond memories to look back on and am forever grateful for the experience. I just need to to where my primary focus should be- trusting God to provide for the future like he always has. Maybe this time back home will rejuvenate my faith..
( This will be my last post from the apartment; all other posts will be from my parent's place! Internet will be disconnected sometime tomorrow.. Chuckle)