Tips for leaving home for the first time
When Thomas Wolfe said, “You can’t go home again, “perhaps that was because he had no one to go home to? Whether leaving home for work, school or travel, being apart from loved ones can be stressful for everyone involved. Even in the happiest of circumstances, the anxiety that can come from leaving home for the first time can be keenly felt.
A few tips to make the transition easier should include:
- Have a frank discussion with your family. Tell them you love them and why you’re going.
- Discuss ways that you will keep in touch and ask them if there are special days or times that they would like to hear from you. Tell them you will try to stick as close to those days as possible. And then DO!
- Even the internet fails! Always have stamps and envelopes to mail a letter the old fashioned way. Buy stationary for your loved ones so they can also indulge in the old-time feel of penning a letter by hand and sending it through the post office.
- Prepare an address book for everyone. Write down all the important numbers and names of the places you may need to go.
Realize that some things are unchangeable. Moms will cry, no matter what. Don’t tell her not to. Hug her and promise to call home often. She’ll be fine. Children will wrap themselves around your legs. Peel them off, hand them to your spouse and tell them you’ll see them soon. Refrain from telling a child, “Goodbye.” This reveals too much permanence for them. “See you soon” is preferable. Fathers will warn you against all sorts of weirdness. “Don’t walk in alleys!”; “Stay away from poodles!”; “Don’t keep money in your underwear…EVER!”
While these may make you wonder on the sanity of your family (especially Dad), realize it’s just their way of saying you’ll be missed and loved.
It’s important to understand that leaving home should not make you feel as if you are doing something wrong - despite Mom’s efforts. Understand that you’re doing what you feel is best and that, in the long run, your absence will serve your future.
Things will change. When you come back you may feel uncomfortable. Maybe Mom has taken over your room or your spouse has decided to paint the walls purple. However uncomfortable you are, take these changes in stride. Mom and Dad raised you. They earned an extra 200 square feet of living space. And purple is just a color. Smile and compliment the effort. Many of your old routines will fall into place with a few suggestions on your part. Just remember that the changes must also fit the routine. Be flexible.
If leaving again, try to make it as uneventful as possible. Discuss leaving with your family again, mentioning how you will stay in contact and send pictures. For children, make a craft project together to remember you by while you are gone. Picture frames or book marks with your photo are wonderful reminders of your presence.
With careful planning and open communication, leaving home for the first time can be done smoothly and with very little stress and transitional turmoil. It’s a time of discovery and growth that can be expected, dealt with and understood.