By Ella Balasa
Living alone has its perks and its downsides too. It can get quiet at times. There isn’t someone’s presence here constantly. The upside is having the flexibility of doing what I want on my own time. Although I have recently come to realize, more responsibility means less free time to do whatever I want whenever. Having CF, this means a lot more responsibilities. Many young adults are living with their parents through their early 20s. This is something I did as well, and have recently made the transition to being on my own. There are a few things I have learned so far:
Time management is important. I have to think through my day before it happens. Fitting in 3-4 breathing treatments a day is an absolute must, so everything else I do in a day has to be worked around when I do those. I have to think about when I need to do certain things to be able to get places at certain times and to accomplish what I need to do in a day. Nutrition is also extremely important, and to make sure I’m having healthy meals, not grabbing take-out on the way home or out, pre-planning meals is something I have to think about. For example, taking something out of the freezer the night before, so I can prepare it in a crockpot the next morning to be ready to eat by that evening. When I plan things I am able to accomplish more, in a more efficient way.
I’ve learned the meaning of discipline. This goes along with time management. There are times where I can’t go meet up with a friend because I need to be home doing treatments, cleaning nebulizing vials (we all know how tedious and annoying this can be) grocery shopping or taking care of other responsibilities. I no longer have my parents nagging me and reminding me to do tasks that I need to complete. I have to take the initiative and do without being told.
I have a greater appreciation for my parents. I now realize how much my mom did for me. Mostly cooking meals, cleaning the house, taking out the trash, and just her caring nature. When she would randomly bring me a snack as I typed away at my computer. It’s the little things like that I miss the most.
Freedom. This is the best positive aspect to the whole situation. I do love feeling the sense of independence and accomplishment that comes with figuring things out on my own, planning my days, and getting things done in the time they need to be. I wouldn’t trade it. It is nice to not have constant reminders from parents and nagging about things I’m doing wrong or what I should be doing. And I feel proud that I am able to live my own life despite the extra daily challenges.
Although it is more work to be responsible for myself, I think it’s a very important step for young adults including those with CF. Parents of children with CF can be quite overprotective and may have a harder time letting go and allowing young adults to manage their own lives. It teaches responsibility and discipline and in the long run is beneficial for CF adults as they are better prepared to take on more obstacles and challenges with managing life with CF.