On my 18th birthday, I did not feel like I became an adult. It seemed that nothing had changed after I sang the birthday song and ate a slice of cake. However, after the 13-hour flight from my home to London last year, my life changed massively. All of a sudden, I needed to take care of myself. I have grown up, and I should grow up. I need to become a boss of myself. There are three main steps that I took to doing this:
Cooking for myself
My mum usually cooked for me before I left home. I learnt that cooking is a form of serving, a highly respected one. When I used to comment on my mum’s cooking, this is usually how she responded:
“Don’t complain. I have already spent my whole day cooking for you guys. You should cook next time.”
She was correct. If she did not cook for us, she could hang out with her friends or watch her favourite TV drama. Although the food did not completely meet up to my expectations, she had sacrificed her precious time for our health. I had no right to complain.
Cooking by myself gives me a deep sense of pride
Now, I cook nearly all my meals. I need to carry the bulking groceries from Tesco or Aldi, and think about what to defrost every night. All the meals – simple or sophisticated ones – are the results of my own effort and thorough planning. Therefore, cooking by myself gives me a deep sense of pride. Even if I think that the pasta is too bland or the rice is too dry, just add more salt or water next time. There is nothing and nobody to blame. I am the only one in charge of the contentment over my taste buds.
Managing all my money
I used to get pocket money from my parents every week. They estimated and gave me the amount of money that they thought I should spend. I could bargain with them, but the sense of guilt always stopped me from doing so.
Last September, my parents stopped giving me money regularly. They gave me all the money I will need in my three years of study according to my budget plan. With a huge sum of money in the bank account, I carefully manage my personal finances now. I record my everyday spending in different categories. At the end of each month, having reviewed my total expenditure, budget plan, and account balance, I put all the data into a curve graph in Excel. Although the chart is stressful sometimes, it clearly illustrates my financial condition. Then, I can accurately adjust my spending habits.
I feel more satisfied because it is my achievement
This sum of money was also given by my parents. However, the amount is no longer decided by them, and I no longer need to ‘ask’ for more money from time to time. If I do not have enough money, I cannot blame my parents, because it is my own fault. Similarly, if I buy something luxurious with some extra savings, I feel more satisfied because it is my achievement. Like a boss who manages the whole company, I know how to spend and consume wisely. I can control my desires.
Enjoy being alone
During the Easter vacation, I caught Covid. All my friends had already left campus and travelled around after I recovered. Therefore, as a foodaholic, I visited numerous cafes and restaurants practically alone. Dinner parties with friends are nice, but eating alone is absolutely a divine experience for me. I can visit whatever restaurants I like without bothering my friends’ tastes. I will not feel embarrassed if I eat more or faster than them. I can spend a long time reading the menu without the fear of making others feel annoyed. I just need to entertain myself.
Going to the cinema alone is also enjoyable in my opinion. As a big fan of old movies and artistic documentaries, it is very difficult to find someone with similar tastes in movies. Hence, I usually just watch them alone. While I am watching, nobody pats me on my shoulder and talks in my ear about the plot. I can fully soak in the film and freely laugh or cry. Many people think that it is weird to watch movies in the cinema alone, but who cares about you when the lights are turned off?
Our own moods should be determined by ourselves, instead of being subject to anyone else’s approval or objection
Just imagine a restaurant has been on your to-eat-list for centuries, and you want to visit it as a post-exam celebration. Then, why do you let your friends’ message of ‘I am not interested’ ruin your lovely plan? Our own moods should be determined by ourselves, instead of being subject to anyone else’s approval or objection. When you are in charge of how you live and feel, you are defining who you are. You are truly your own boss.