Fall always seems to be a time of reflection for me. Even though my life has long since diverged from the school calendar, fall feels like a fresh start—and a time for all the feels. I realized recently that I have been living alone for five (!) years now. Half a decade. Where does the time go? In some ways, it feels like a lifetime, and in some ways, it feels like just a few months.
When I graduated from college in 2013, I started working in Ballston in Arlington about ten days after graduation. (Hindsight is 20/20—I should have taken more time off, and I tell all new grads to do so!) I moved back into my childhood bedroom at my parents house, and while I saved a ton of money, it quickly became evident that my life as a 22 year old was not compatible with family life on a suburban cul de sac. I loved going to happy hour after work with my friends, playing kickball on the National Mall and then heading to bar for rail drinks and jello shots, and staying out until last call on weekends. I was craving the independence and lack of parental supervision I had in college, and by Labor Day Weekend, I had moved into an apartment in Arlington with a friend from college. Our year together started out well, but quickly went off the rails—we weren’t really compatible as roommates, and in hindsight, both struggling with various aspects of the transition to a post-college life.
I loved my apartment though and the location, so when our lease together ended, my friend from high school moved in. We lived together for three years and had so much fun. We hosted an annual holiday cookie party, enjoyed many Thursday nights watching Scandal together, always made sure each other got home from a late night out, and cheered each other on during our early 20s. As our third year together was coming to a close, we both were ready for our next chapters—she moved in with her boyfriend, and I moved into my own apartment.
While I loved my time living with my roommate, I knew that living alone was something I always wanted to do. I used to dream about the days when I could decorate my space exactly how I wanted it, leave dishes in the sink overnight if I was feeling lazy, and have my own bathroom.
It’s human nature, but I think I have a tendency to always be looking towards the next thing without stopping to realize I am currently living out a life I once desperately dreamed about. That’s been on my mind a lot lately as I look around my beautiful apartment that is all my own. I’m the only one on the lease. I pay the bills. I buy the furniture and art and home decor. I clean it in a way that would make Monica Geller proud. I love to host and welcome friends + family over for wine nights, Chipotle, and holiday parties.
And, I think a lot about how high school me, who had a passion for interior decorating even back then, would not believe I get to call this place home now. And, I also think a lot about how 25 year old me, who once couldn’t wait to live the life I’m living now, would be so glad with how it all turned out.
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