Many young people dream about the day they can leave home. Go forth into the big, bad world and make their mark. No more whingeing, no more parents waiting up for you, no more anyone saying "Are you going out like that?"
But leaving isn't always easy. Apart from emotional considerations, there is one easy way of finding out that washing does not make its clean reappearance in your cupboard and that a meal doesn't jump onto the dining room table all by itself. Move into your own flat.
But what are the signs that it is time for you to hit the road, to fly the coop, to stretch your own wings?
Signs that it is time to go
- You have your own tax reference number, but have never paid an electricity account.
- You can't remember when last you switched on a stove, but you eat a home-cooked meal every day.
- Your clothing accounts are higher than the rent you pay your parents.
- You have your own car, but your parents still wait up for you when you go out.
- Your mum and dad still try to make you eat broccoli.
- If you want to see friends for anything more than coffee, you have to go out somewhere, because of the way your five-year-old brother behaves.
- Your parents organise blind dates for you – the last one had buck teeth and smelled of gorgonzola cheese.
- You have had the same bedroom, with the same pictures on the wall, for the last 22 years.
- Your parents screen your callers who are of the opposite sex.
- You still sleep under your Superman or Garfield duvet cover.
- Your cellphone calls cost more per month than your parents' entire phone bill.
- You regularly fix the photocopier at work, but wouldn't know how to operate the washing machine if your life depended on it.
- Your mother still cleans your room.
- You regularly get roped in to entertain your insufferable aunt on Sundays – the one with the chin bristles.
- You wouldn't have an idea where to pay for a water account or which day the rubbish gets fetched.
(Susan Erasmus, Health24, updated June 2010)