My daughter and I chat about many things. Often it’s about her future. This week we’ve been talking about where she might live when she moves out, so in essence these are her ideas in my words – I have taken some artistic licence.
If I knew now what I would want my perfect life to be, I would tell my parents this:
Where I live
I want to live away from you. I want my independence, but I am likely to need people around. I may also need my house to help me feel safe and have things in it that make my life easier.
I would want to live in a nice street with nice neighbours. I don’t know if I’ll drive but even if I could I’d like to be near a bus stop or train/metro station. If I can drive, I want a red mini. I don’t want to be trapped away from my friends or the places I need to go each day.
When I first live away I will have to live with people. Not necessarily because I want their company, but because I need to interact with other people and not become lonely and isolated. It will also help me make friends and manage relationships with other people.
But there may also be a financial need for me to live with others. I will have to rent a house and pay the bills to keep the house running.
I want a space where my housemates (and maybe a carer) can all be together if we want. Maybe to play video games on the large screen TV. Maybe we will need this space to talk and get organised. Maybe this is where our key worker might help us organise to pay bills and manage the house.
Like at home with you, I want my private space where I could go to be alone. My room. A lock on the door would protect my privacy, as you’d expect if you live in a shared house. Perhaps if a key worker does sleep in the house at night, they might have a master key, but my right is to privacy. I am grown up, even if you think of me sometimes (even if I’m 25) as your child. Don’t underestimate me I can do a lot more than you think.
You have shown me how to cook. I don’t want to be a great chef, but I do want to be able to make the food I like to eat as well as the food I should eat. The oven will be standard, like the one I’m used to. Electric, with all the hob safety features that turn off if there’s no pan on it so I can’t burn the house down – something you were always afraid of.
I don’t really know what I want to do yet (apart from be a weather girl), but I know I want to work like everyone else. I want to feel valued and have a purpose for each day. This is one thing I need you to plan for me because I don’t really want to spend every day watching YouTube (well maybe I do for a while but I really would get very bored eventually).
Nothing is Fixed Yet
Maybe it won’t all turn out like this. Maybe I will live alone without key workers and lots of help. That would be good. But regardless, I would want you to start thinking early about exactly how I might live, before the time actually comes. I want and deserve my own life and my independence from you.