Moving out does not mean cutting ties

Moving out of the family home to go it alone is usually a necessary rite of passage for most millennials.

But if you have to do it before you are ready - if you get nudged out of the nest rather than getting the option to fly - well, it kind of dulls the excitement a little bit.

If someone had predicted 10 years ago that, by 24, I would be renting a house with a bunch of strangers while my old, comfy bedroom more than 8km away sat completely empty and all my friends stayed at home, I would have said that scenario did not make any sense.

My adolescent plan was to live in, drain the food supplies and hog the television - along with my brother - so we could save money after graduating.

But life has a habit of peeling back the smooth layers of security at a moment's notice, leaving you as raw and exposed as an uncooked prawn.

I have stepped into a parallel universe where my father is no longer with me, the relationship with my mum is strained and I have had no real choice but to move out, while my brother remains at home.

I have also found that moving out breeds the kind of creativity that I did not get when living in my family home... I am broke, but learning to manage my money and developing a more resilient shell.

Of course, moving out in your early 20s is not unheard of and I am somewhat lucky in that I have had access to money that has helped me find my feet for the first few months.

But I would have liked the option to stay put and save up like most of my mates.

When I was younger and had aspirations of becoming a writer, my parents and I discussed how this would work - how it did not make much economic sense for me to move out when we lived in London and how I could stay put for as long as I wanted.

But then things became dizzyingly nonsensical.

Dad was diagnosed with a terminal illness and, a year after he died, I found out that he was not my biological father.

That almost destroyed the relationship with my mum.

I experienced such an uncompromising rage that it affected anyone in my vicinity. My grief and anger separated me from the world.

Unsurprisingly, none of that was in the plan.

The Resolution Foundation says millennial graduates have paid £44,000 (S$77,400) more on rent by the time they are 30 than the baby boomer generation of their parents and housing charity Shelter estimates that 450,000 adults are currently accepting family help to pay their rent.

For me, being tethered to my mum financially when we are still repairing our relationship is really difficult.

On the one hand, I am one of the 450,000 who gets financial help. But sometimes when I am alone in my smaller, more expensive new bedroom, I think about why I have had to move out.

I think about whether I will ever be able to buy a property and what it means for our relationship when, one week, mum's epilating my legs for me and, another week, we do not even speak.

I do not want money to be the only constant between us.

The monthly rent I pay - £570 (S$1,020) - is cheap for a south London house that is not crumbling beneath my feet and, despite sometimes feeling a bit isolated, I generally do enjoy living in a houseshare.

I have also found that moving out breeds the kind of creativity that I did not get when living in my family home, which had dustings of dad at every turn, distracting me from being productive.

I am broke, but learning to manage my money and developing a more resilient shell.

Moving out has also given my mum time to heal separately.

We always come back together - no matter how bad our arguments - and it has shown me that our relationship will probably always be complex and symbiotic.

Despite everything that has happened, leaving the nest does not necessarily mean cutting the ties.

THE GUARDIAN

• Georgina Lawton is a freelance journalist.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 20, 2017, with the headline 'Moving out does not mean cutting ties'. Print Edition | Subscribe