Ain’t it fun? Living in the real world/Ain’t it good? Being all alone…

I’m 28 years old, I’ve lived on my own a few times.

I’ve lived with strangers in a strange town (San Francisco) at the ripe age of 19.
I’ve lived alone in a huge 1 bedroom apartment for half-off the rent with free utilities when I was 21.
I’ve lived in Motel 6’s with drug addicted people pounding at my door at the age of 23.
I’ve lived in a normal apartment near the University with real-people furniture and a boyfriend at the age of 25.

(I lived with my family, parents or sister during the times I didn’t live on my own.)

But my most favorite time has been living by myself in a tiny studio apartment with my dog at the age of 27.

Almost a year ago, after living with my parents for almost a year, I made the decision to move out instead of buying a new car (I figured my 2003 Ford Focus would not really decide to  blow up on me someday. [[I actually ended up totaling it about 6 months ago]])

So I went on this mission to find my own little paradise, my own place that I can live in and make my home. I searched for a couple of months actually and I kept seeing an adorable Victorian downtown studio apartment, right around the corner from nightlife — bands playing, bars, art museums…. but it was just out of my price range.

I looked at other apartments but they were either run down, or overlooked an alley where homeless people “lived.” The floor plans were wrong, or the architecture just didn’t make me feel happy, or they didn’t accept pets and I really needed to bring at least one of my two dogs. So I kept looking.

Then I ran across my rental crush again and found they had reduced the price! Right in my price range.

Immediately, I called while I was at work and asked to set up an appointment for that weekend to view the property. It was a beautiful spring day, and I sat on the porch smiling, feeling at peace, saying, “I HAVE TO HAVE THIS PLACE!” before I even went inside! I met the next door neighbor while I waited. I had to have it.

I applied, and crossed my fingers. I have terrible credit so I asked if they could please waive the enormous security deposit they were requesting because of it, and they did! They accepted my small pet, and I moved in within 2 weeks.

The first month was a gigantic struggle but I didn’t mind. I didn’t have a fridge, I barely had food, I felt homesick for my parents who I could talk to about my day after work. But I loved the smell of spring in this Victorian and walking my dogs in a quaint historic neighborhood. I fell in love.

I’ve had friends come over, dinner disasters (and triumphs!), loud music and great conversations. I’ve read the Bible and prayed on these hardwood floors. I’ve woken up terrified at 3 am because I didn’t know what my dog was barking at. I’ve bought little decorative items and hung pictures on the wall. I’ve mourned family and relationships. I’ve had freezing winter and scalding hot summers. I’ve laid on my bed staring at the spinning ceiling fan thanking God for the opportunity to do this “living as an adult” thing with His blessing. I’ve loved.

Now, a year later, its time to say goodbye. Now I am grateful for a new car and its car payment.

As I walked in and opened a couple of windows, that beautiful scent of spring billowing in through the windows will always remind me of my apartment that I will always love. There is no doubt I’ll miss my apartment but I know that I also need to be responsible for my money and grateful for the experiences I’ve had here. Its time to move on to another chapter of my life. For now, that means having a new car and living with my parents while I work on improving my credit score by paying old bills and tithing as I should. And of course, saving some money for my next adventure.

This apartment has been an extension of myself, a safe haven, a place to go and cry and laugh and pray when everything outside of it became too unbearable or too fantastic. I am grateful to the experience but in less than a month I’ll no longer reside here.  And that’s OK  to me.

Here are some pictures from when I first moved in on which I look back on with much nostalgia and love. A year flies by so fast…

All that being said, it’ll be nice to be home with mom and pop and Cashew. I just hope Cashew and Coppola can work out their differences….

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