Moving Out at 17

Moving out isn’t typically done until one is an adult (18 in the majority of the U.S.). It’s possible to leave home earlier through emancipation, the process of becoming recognized as legally being an adult, but I didn’t really do either of those things. I was essentially “acting” as an emancipated minor, but I never technically emancipated. I was already only a few months from turning 18, so chances are I would’ve already been an adult by the time a decision was made.

I found an apartment complex geared towards university students in a city in Texas. More specifically, this apartment complex was considered off-campus, and they didn’t require that I be a student at that university in order to reside there. After I had thought about it for some time (and gotten a cosigner), I went ahead and submitted a lease application. I wasn’t really nervous at all, and I felt ready to move away.

Some nearby family graciously let me stay with them until my apartment was ready (about a month later). I took advantage of school being out and having extra time to get the annoying tasks out of the way, such as changing my ID from Arizona to Texas. Unbeknownst to me, the Texas DPS office was scheduled about 2 months out. I was able to get a last minute appointment for a drivers license, but I was turned away because I was technically a minor and needed parent signatures.

It was during this time that I also started working at my new job. I was basically a busboy at a restaurant, cleaning tables and washing dishes. It was pretty laidback and, at times, actually pretty enjoyable (apart from the repetitive music). However, my time there was cut short when my car stopped working. The key occasionally wouldn’t work, so I put some WD-40 in the ignition cylinder to fix it. Instead of fixing it, I flooded the ignition cylinder, which would’ve cost more to fix than the car was worth.

This was an unexpected hurdle in my moving out. With help from some new friends from school and church, I was able to carpool to my high school for a while as I lived outside of the school bus zone. While school transportation was resolved, getting across town to work was a different situation. Getting to work would’ve taken 3 hours by bus, and riding the public transportation system here at night can be a bit unsettling. I decided to quit my job as a busboy and wait until I turned 18 to have more job opportunities close by. I received social security benefits because one of my parents retired while I was in high school, and I had other funds elsewhere, so taking a gap in employment wasn’t financially going to have any negative effects. Ironically, it was kind of beneficial, as I quickly learned how to be more frugal on a day-to-day basis.

That’s basically where it ends in terms of being an unemancipated minor living on his own in a different state, as I turned 18 very soon thereafter. I kind of kept that part somewhat private at school, and I continued the school year like normal. I made a lot of new friends during this time, and some of us hung out outside of school and church. I didn’t participate in any extracurriculars during my senior year, but I did take a couple of AP classes and spend a lot of time applying to colleges. All in all, it was a great learning experience for me, but I did feel like I was in a bit of a unique situation compared to others at my school.

You may be wondering, “Why did you feel compelled to move out before becoming an adult in the first place?” I’ll definitely address that at some point in the near future, but I need to figure out the best way to do so first. It’s definitely a topic that will be spread out across many different posts, as it’s the result of an accumulation of many events.

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