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Advice to young adults leaving home

I don’t have a top ten, just three main themes. And face it, if you’re packing up for college or whatever voyage of self-discovery your privileged existence can afford, you don’t really care to read ten pieces of advice from someone’s 50-something mother. So I’ve distilled it down to three main points. Take heed.

1. Don’t passively endorse crazy. If your roommate decides to throw dishes on the floor, do not let him/her convince you this is an act of artistic expression or that you are repressed for not finding the joy in watching newly purchased Ikea dinnerware shattered on the linoleum. This probably won’t happen to you, but in the event it does, know you are not out of line in labelling this inappropriate behavior. Because it is.
2. You are going to feel like you have no home. You were so excited, no, determined/hell-bent upon/desperate to leave your parents’ home and yet your new life doesn’t even feel like a new life. It’s just a place where you eat and sleep, a schedule you try to keep, and people you don’t really know yet. Yup. This is adulthood. And it may last a while. For some, maybe three to six months, for others maybe a couple decades. Either way, it can be tiresome and depressing. You will have to fake it, to some degree, but persevere. Every single one of your peers feels the same way, especially at the beginning. Some are better at pretending; some are worse. Hang in there. Remember that slightly younger self who had such a great plan? So many hopes? Showed so much promise? Stick to it for his/her sake. S/he will thank you later (hopefully in cold, hard cash and a gorgeous partner).
3. Eff 'em if they can’t take a joke. Laugh at yourself. Laugh at others. Forgive yourself (but not the wackadoodle roomie who smashes dinner plates—she's just nuts and you should find a new place to live). Don’t accept LOL as your emotional barometer. Constantly be on the lookout for true friends, classmates, and co-workers who make you snort with laughter. When you find these friends, keep them close, no matter your distance from each other. They are your home. They will never leave you.
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