Written by: Mutshidzi Kwinda
I grew up in conditions that sometimes meant worrying about whether or not I would find food on the table after school. My mother always miraculously found a way to ensure that my siblings and I were always taken care of. However, being a single mother of seven dependents was really challenging for her. For some reason though, when I was younger, I did not fully understand just how hectic it was for her to encompass the role of a ‘supermom’. For me this role seemed doable and easy because she never really complained. But now that I am older, and living on my own, I am starting to understand the ‘supermom’ role and mentality my mother had when I was younger.
I recently moved into my own space which is located in a different city from where I was raised – from where I was shielded in mother’s care. This big move has been rather interesting, and so far it has had several ups and downs. And to be honest, I wish someone had warned me or even prepared me for this big move. But please don’t get me wrong, moving into my own space has been one of the greatest things I have done of late. A privilege of some sort. Living in my own space has been liberating, and it has created opportunities for me to learn more about myself – outside the shield of my mother’s care.
In a nutshell, here are a few learning curves i’ve had to deal with as a young adult living alone in one of South Africa’s big cities:
- Financial discipline: Not that I have already acquired the ultimate skills and discipline in this regard, but what I know for sure is that having to pay bills on my own has taught me a lot about financial management and discipline. One of the ways I maintain this is by following a budget every month. Click here to read a full article on personal financial budgets
- Social cycles decrease: I have heard many people talk about how “as you grow older, you start losing friends”. Well, it’s true. Your WhatsApp gets dryer and homesick usually creeps in now and then. But, if you are an introvert like me, this should be the least of your problems 🙂
- Extra vigilance: South Africa has the highest rates of gender based violence and is also generally known for having high crime levels. Therefore, living alone in the South can be rather scary. At least for me, it’s scary. Everyday we hear stories about young women with promising futures assaulted, raped, and even murdered. How does one not stay extra vigilant in a country like South Africa?
- Important decisions: The choices and decisions you make determines your growth. Staying alone pushes you to make critical day to day decision. This is because you are in charge of every aspect of your life – nobody is there to wake you up in the morning or to remind you about your daily tasks and responsibilities.
This big move has contributed significantly towards my growth in all the different spheres of my life. It has also somehow helped me understand, embrace and appreciate the ‘supermom’ role my mother had when I was growing up. What I love most about this big move is the opportunity to learn and to grow. With every mistake and failure, triumphs and wins, one is able to use the collective experiences to gather more wisdom and to evolve into a better version of themselves.