“You’re really brave!” they said. But, I felt everything but brave. I was scared, nervous, anxious and excited. Moving out of your parent’s house after living there for 5 years is not easy. It’s less easy if you decide to move across the country, by yourself, without knowing anyone.
I guess I’m not one to change in baby steps. I felt like it was all or nothing. So here I am after wanting this for 2 years. It finally happened.
With this move I’ve experienced many NEW’s. I’m living completely alone for the first time in Portland, Oregon. The city is great. Public transportation is awesome. People are friendly.
But the BIG MOVE was a lot of planning. There’s a lot to think about when you are living alone and you’re a quad…
How will I open my front door? (I had maintenance change the knob to a lever and put a special attachment on my key.)
Who’s going to help me get ready in the morning? (I hired 3 Personal Attendants [PA] that take different days out of the week. They are nursing students.)
Who gets me in bed at night? (My 3 PA’s trade off night shifts too)
How will I get my food? (My PA’s cook for me and leave it in a handy place. When I get hungry I pop it in the microwave)
Where do I get groceries? (Right down the street there’s a grocery store. I get what I can carry on the back of my chair or make a list of what I need and have someone do it for me. I guess Peapod is an option too)
What if I drop something on the floor? (I have my handy dandy reacher… or I’ll go ask my neighbor Erika, she’s cool)
How do you handle the weather? (Rain, Rain, Rain… It’s difficult to drive my wheelchair and hold an umbrella, so, I bought a waterproof jacket with a hoodie, bought a non-leather purse/bag to throw over my head and shoulder. Plus I love winter hats to keep my ears warm!)
How will I make friends? (Anywhere! Talking to my neighbors. In class. At work. During networking events. Online. Through other friends. At the gym.)
It hasn’t been easy for sure but it’s been worth the change. I had to get creative in the way I do things since my apartment isn’t entirely “accessible”. Sometimes, it’s lonely but it gets better the more you get to know people and make friends.
Independence is something people sometimes take for granted. If you’ve lost some of yours, do your best to claim it!