Countdown to 25 is my way of taking all of the pressure off myself to write one kickass birthday blog post on October 12, and instead sprinkling my “wisdom” throughout the week.
As I ascended the steps to Apartment 407, it hit me in the worst way. I was moving. Again. That night would be the last night I ever came home from work, pulled into that apartment complex and ascended those stairs. And using the verb “ascended” makes this all sound unnecessarily melodramatic, but “unnecessarily melodramatic” is my life’s subtext.
I’ve moved a few times since graduation, and all of those moves had finality to them. I would be leaving the state. Changing work assignments. Leaving friends who still felt new only to go make newer ones. But, this move didn’t have finality. This move happened while the rest of my life was still charging full speed ahead. This move was a comma; the rest of them were periods.
And because this move was a comma, I underestimated its importance. I spent three consecutive weekends tossing my few worldly possessions into boxes. I took Ikea canvas pictures off the walls. I called Comcast to transfer my cable and internet. I did all of the normal move things yet didn’t think I would experience any of the it’s-so-hard-to-say-goodbye move emotions. But, on that Thursday night, it all sucker-punched me in the stomach.
Apartment 407 was my first home. Not just a place where I napped or binged on Bravo television or squatted. But, it was a home. Before Apartment 407, I always felt like a vagabond, never too emotionally tethered to my living spaces because I knew I would leave them after eight months for a new work rotation. But, Apartment 407 was the first place I leased once all of that moving was done. It was the first place I really made a dent in. It was the first place I lived in long enough to leave ambiguous stains on the carpet and colorful memories in the bedroom. It was the first place where I successfully learned each and every one of Roxy’s hiding spots. It was the first place where I hosted small gatherings and invited my friends to leave good vibes. The first place where I stood in the bathroom for hours, locking the cat out so I could practice spoken word. It was the first place where I got serious about my writing, where I moved from just sitting on the couch to write to sitting up straight at a semi-decent workspace in the dining room. This was the first place where I planted roots.
But, when you are at the mercy of management companies yanking the rent up, sometimes you re-evaluate where you’ve your planted roots. This re-evaluation is also known as “Get the fuck out because you can’t afford a place with vaulted ceilings and a valet trash service.” However, I’d like to think I’m leaving all of my memories from these two years not just to save cash (although that’s the main reason), but also to start building new memories elsewhere. I’d like to think that even though this move is a comma, it means new beginnings in a lot of different ways that I don’t even know about yet.
Everyone I know is dealing with their iteration of the quarter-life crisis. I call friends to wish them a happy birthday and we are all of a sudden pontificating about the trajectory of our lives. I dial a number to interview someone for the blog and we’re trading stories about moves. I Gchat a friend I haven’t talked to in ages and we start chatting about what’s happening with them now that they’ve finished grad school. No matter how trivial anyone believes this so-called quarter-life crisis is, the truth is we are all looking at our lives and wondering what’s next and what the fuck? We’ve made it out of the abyss we fell into right after undergrad, that era when our perfect little collegiate bubbles burst and reality hit us like a sledgehammer. Now, we’re a tiny bit smarter. We have a smidgen of wisdom. We have destroyed ourselves enough now to know that we want to do better, even if we’re not quite sure how.
I knew I wanted to do better. I knew I didn’t want to wince or sweat or cower every time I checked my bank account. I put two and two together enough to know that desire meant getting out of an apartment munching on nearly 40% of my monthly income. I knew that meant trading in vaulted ceilings and a valet trash service for sanity and sleep-filled nights. I have destroyed myself enough. Time to do better.