I have lived in the same place since I was 3 years old: a two-bedroom apartment in Queens. I remember leaving the home we shared with my grandmother on Lefferts Boulevard to move to this “perfect” location for my family – public transportation in all directions, a pre-school one block to the left, an elementary school one block to the right, and a junior high school a few blocks down. There was a deli, a pizzeria, a pharmacy, and friendly neighbors.
Fast forward some years later, and along came my brother. Since we were both young and small, the apartment seemed enormous. As time went on, and we grew up and become older, the apartment that seemed to have an endless amount of space is now a tad too small for all four of us. When I left to Colgate for four years and returned, that was the moment I realized something needed to change in terms of our living arrangements, but the housing market, especially in New York, is not an easy one. My parents have spent years looking for a dream home (or at least something that came close) but with no luck. We have considered other states, other locations, other jobs, but New York is home.
Now, at 24 years old and 6 months away from turning 25, I have started to look at the possibility of moving out, whether it is alone or with a roommate, and I have found the perfect place for me. Unfortunately, this has caused some friction between my parents and I, as they only want the best for me but do not think I am ready whatsoever. However, who is ever really ready to change the routine and lifestyle they have known for almost 22 years?
There are a few fears that come with it:
- Losing my parents, not having their support, or not receiving their blessing
- Having a roommate that turns out to be inconsiderate or not the perfect match (went through that enough during college)
- The feeling of guilt
- Not budgeting well enough
- Having to run back home if things don’t work out
My parents have asked me to wait or to find a way to buy property rather than rent an apartment, but why not take the opportunity now if it has fallen in my lap (a two bedroom, two bathroom in Brooklyn with laundry IN the apartment)? Not everything will be perfect, and not everything will be black and white, and there is no guide that talks about the right way to move out and be ready, but there is also more to lose if you do not take the chance.
While I have mentally made my decision that I will eventually move, I cannot walk out the door of my lifelong home without having parents who can say they will support me when the going gets rough (before it definitely will). I know this is not something that you can just give back if it does not work out; however, I am excited, motivated, and determined to make this work to the best of my abilities.
My father will always be my person. I know I am half of him, and he knows he’s the person I can go to for anything – even when he still tries to feed me Flintstone vitamins. Even with our weekly shows, he knows I will be over or will Facetime him to see it through, just like I did in college.
My mother and I have our battles; however, that does not take away the respect that I have for her as a woman.
As for my brother, I know he will still be able to count on me for anything, and possibly even more as I will continue to make a conscious effort to be there for him. Trust me, he is going to show up to my place more times than necessary.
As I retweeted this morning: “really though if you try to live life by the rules of old school ass Dominican parents, you’re just gonna let life pass you by.” Don’t get me wrong – my parents are not “old school ass” Dominicans. At 48 and 47 years old, they are far from it, and they try their best to find a way to relate to my brother and I; however, the cultural differences absolutely make me feel as though life is quickly passing by because I feel the need to abide by the lifestyle my culture has deemed as acceptable. It seems like it might be time for me to take a chance and start this new chapter in my own home; if anyone else can relate, let’s talk about it!