It’s funny. This time last year I was fretting about downsizing and now on the last night in my little shoebox apartment I’m worried that more space isn’t what I really need. But then again I’ve always had a knack for romanticizing what is no more. And I’ve never been good with change.
There’s nothing special about my building. No lobby, no pool, no gym or amenities or anything. My neighbors are a pawn shop and a tattoo parlor, and the best entertainment on the block is watching fights break out from the balcony. I pay more than I should but I’m exactly where I want to be: in a neighborhood Money described as “an interesting mix of gritty and pretty”. I would stay forever.
I’ve had the best year in this apartment. This little place with its its no interior walls and its one closet taught me how to edit excess out of my life (excluding cats). There’s a place for everything and everything stays (for the most part) in its place because as anyone in a studio can tell you: the slightest disarray is magnified when the kitchen is the living room is the bedroom.
I have loved this apartment more than any other place I’ve lived because it’s the first one that has been just for me. In the past I’ve been known to rent out places too big for me to leave space for whoever might want to move in. And they always do.
After college I rotated roommates through my 3-bedroom house, including my little sister, one of my best friends, another girl just looking for a place to crash, a dog and five little kittens who were born that year. When I moved to Charlotte after a bad breakup I got a two-bedroom apartment “just in case”. While I was probably hoping my ex would find his way there, I instead forged a sister-like friendship with a girl I worked with who became my fast and furious best friend and roommate.
They say a goldfish will grow into the size of its tank and I guess people do too. When I get too-big homes I create space for whatever and whoever else might move into my life. It’s always fun to fill up a big place with people and stuff and experiences, but last year I was in need of some serious de-cluttering. So for the first time I picked out just enough space for me and me alone (and three cats, of course).
It was a bold move (foreshadowing maybe) to pick a place that can only accommodate me. Shortly thereafter my relationship crumbled and I remember once saying to the now ex that he had built his life in a way that it can’t accommodate anyone else. I, perhaps subconsciously, did the exact same thing with this apartment.
It became this year of utter selfishness. I focused on bullshit things like “me time” and “self care”. I started getting excited about boring things like being alone, eye cream, proper sleep cycles, saving money and rebuilding a foundation that I let crumble for a long time. I invested in friendships and my savings account and finding out what I really want. And on the day I declared how happy I was to be on my own found this man who made me really happy I’d had time to feel that because now all I want is him all the time. Funny how that works.
I talk about how small this apartment is because I think I want people to know that I know it’s small. Like it was a decision (I picked this on purpose!) and not dire straits (I’m broke and alone!). But really, I don’t think it’s that small. It’s exactly how much space I need and I love it, but the time has come to grow into something bigger.
Plus, the cats can’t wait to have their own room.
Since I haven’t taken any time off to move just two doors down, it’ll be a long night of walking each item over to the new place one at a time. Which is why it’s a good thing I made tons of food last night to get me through the week of disarray.
The temperatures have dropped to an unseasonal low here in Charlotte so this week’s food was all about comfort. I made:
- Tofu pot pie
- Lentil loaf
- Roasted butternut squash apple soup
- 6 sweet potatoes
- steamed green beans
- 1 batch of brown rice
I am loving the Sunday meal prep. Last week I didn’t buy lunch out once and only had one weeknight dinner date night out. Ooh, and I only spent $60 on groceries this week. I could make a habit of this.
(Full disclosure: we had Chipotle last night. CAN’T WIN ‘EM ALL.)
See you from the new spot tomorrow!