I live in a part of the country where it’s very common for twenty-somethings to have roommates. Housing is incredibly expensive, so when I moved into my new house last summer I quietly accepted that I would spend the next two years there. I wasn’t making much money at the time and whatever extra I had after I started my new job, I would need to rebuild my savings. But, as it turns out, two of my roommates are moving out in July and that’s left me with a decision to make.
I won’t go into the details as to why, but essentially my options are: to try and replace them with new renters in time to sign a new rental agreement by June 1st…or to move into a place on my own. And with a number of factors, some unknowns, and my own natural inclination towards practicality over comfort, I’ve been struggling with what to do for a few weeks now.
And then I remembered a passage from a book I recently finished by Ed Catmull, one of the co-founders of Pixar. He said, “It is a fact of life, though a confounding one, that focusing on something can make it more difficult to see.”
For months I feel like I’ve been bogged down in the particulars. I’ve been making lists and spreadsheets. I’ve been micromanaging my bank account and saving money. I’ve timed my walks and measured distances. Basically I’ve been trying to figure out every little detail of what would change were I to alter-course.
But once I stopped thinking about it so darn much, I saw that the answer was right in front of me the whole time. All the lists and nagging details all revealed the same thing: that I wanted my own place, but felt like I shouldn’t have it (even if all signs pointed to yes).
In a lot of ways, an apartment to myself feels like an indulgence. It’s not something that I need, but something that would grant me a lot of little wants all in one shot.
I want more storage for my pantry goods so I don’t have to keep granola bars in my bedroom closet. I want to know that when I go to do laundry, someone’s wet clothes won’t still be in the machine. I want a place to store extra rolls of toilet paper and to watch TV without people talking over my shows. I’d like some room in the freezer to store extra meals for busy weeks, to make sure all the recycling is properly disposed of, and a place for friends and family to stay over (other than in my bed or on the floor).
But I don’t need any of that. I’ve certainly spent the last three years without all of it and I’m fine. So there’s this part of me that’s been holding back, telling me that there’s no need, that I’m just being a baby unwilling to find alternative solutions.
And maybe some part of that is true, but it’s also perfectly reasonable for a twenty five year old woman to want to do things her own way. Especially one who has had roommates – each with their own unique issues and problems – for almost eight years.
So I’m taking the plunge and striking out alone. And I’m doing it not just because I feel like I have to, but also because I want to. I know it will be challenging in some ways and I’m probably going to be stressed in the beginning, but I also genuinely believe that it will bring about the next stage of growth for me.