How I met me: the quirks of finding your independence and identity

8 mins read

There was a time in my life where I was scared of leaving home. Just the thought of not having that safety net really intimidated me. However, there’s a very true saying that I now like to admire.

Your comfort zone will kill you.

I used to worry about who I’d turn to when things go wrong. Forgetting that I’m actually grown now, and my mum had probably waited for that day for a long time. Now looking back, I think the only thing I really missed other than my family was my mums cooking.

But now I know there’s more to life.

Because you haven’t lived until you taste independence. In a city you’ve never been before, surrounded by people you’ve never met. You get to decide who you want to be in that moment, and then you grow into someone else entirely.

The friends you make in the girls toilets anywhere are unforgettable.

It really hits when you’re walking home after a night out. Head swimming from whatever your last drink was and all you can think about is bed. Delightfully knowing you don’t have to worry about explaining yourself gives a strange sense of freedom.


The only people who’ll remotely care are your flatmates. Maybe your friends who you were out with because they can’t remember what happened.

It’s a renewing sense of existence. To have only yourself to answer to and to live with. Suddenly, all your time belongs to yourself. Be warned, your first shopping trip will cost a fortune. After all, freedom can have its downsides; like not having your mum tell you ‘no.’.

After all, you’ll be under your own roof.

With that comes the responsibility of your own rules. To create your own routine and take care of your own surroundings. Heads up, just buy fake plants. No more mums around to do your washing for you.

For the first time, I was flying solo and it honestly scared the hell out of me.

At first, I missed being told what to do. Missed the feeling of my dog scratching me to be adored and hearing my mum shout at my brother. You know, the homey things. But the longer I lived amongst other people my own age, the more I became myself.

It’s strange to rediscover your own identity. I thought I knew who I was when I left home, but I was wrong. Even now, I keep changing as a person. Growing more into myself and out of old habits. There are hobbies I adored that are in the past, and things that scared me that I now love.

Independence gave me an entirely new personality. It feels like I’ve been reborn, only there was a lot of alcohol and mistakes involved. Honestly, I’ve screwed up a record amount of time, but I’d do it all again.


That does not mean I don’t look back and cringe at some things though.

Living away from home will do that. You’re given choices and sometimes you’ll make the wrong ones. It’s all part of a learning curve that’s meant to make you regret and then be grateful. Never in my life will I drink a mixed bottle of potions at a flat party again.

But it was fun at the time; it was the hangover that spun me.

Part of the fun is that there’s so much to do. Places to go, people to meet, things to join. Since coming to university I’ve met a lot amazing people. You have to put yourself out there, take the chance. Accept that you’ll click with some people, and clash with others.

No journey is picture perfect.

Surround yourself with your friends. They’ll become your family away from home but choose them carefully. There are some people who will take advantage, others will only consider you at their own convenience.

But there will be those who you make real memories with. Who will help you grow as a person and see the world through new eyes. Independence has never tasted so sweet. You’ll enjoy being your own person, it’s exciting.

So, go on spontaneous nights out. Tell the stories shamefully the next day over a greasy lunch. Roll your eyes whilst your friends taunt you over something dumb you did. Every story you make becomes part of you.


Learn how to fly solo when you need to. Sometimes, it’s good to lean back. To focus on yourself amongst everything happening around you. Remember to put yourself first and do the things you enjoy.

Meet yourself for the first time in a new world. Sometimes, I think back to who I was in secondary school and I smile. Because even though those days are long gone, that girl is still me. No matter how much you change and grow, part of you will always stay the same.

Now I’m just a little more me. It’s a strange relief to know that I can live outside my family home. I have changed but for the better, I still don’t know entirely who I am but I’m learning. What I’ve learned is that identity and independence are two things that go hand in hand.

Both have helped me grow as a person, and I’m sure they’ll do the same for you. All you have to do is decide: do you want to gawk at your friend falling down the stairs at Dusk? Because you won’t find that at home.

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Deputy Editor of Brig Newspaper. Fourth year journalism and English student at the University of Stirling. Lover of covering social issues and creator of 'The Talk' column for everyone who needs to hear it.

Deputy Editor of Brig Newspaper. Fourth year journalism and English student at the University of Stirling. Lover of covering social issues and creator of 'The Talk' column for everyone who needs to hear it.

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