Wednesday, February 1, 2012

why rental ads are a lot like dating sites

i've been searching, nearly non-stop, for a new apartment since january 6th. for a while, my search has felt completely in vain. there have been so many mishaps, setbacks, and let-downs. i thought i might move into the very first place i looked at (in early january). it seemed close to perfect. a little high-priced, but the location and features were amazing (closets. fireplace.) however, when it came time to sign the lease, the landlord backed out on me. i've never had that happen before, and it was frightening. it made me doubt myself and all that i've worked hard to accomplish over the past few years. looking back at that first apartment, there were definitely some flaws. the entire place was painted light green. no variation. neutral enough, but no warmth whatsoever. it was on a busy street, where the traffic might keep me awake at night. it was a walk uphill to anything of real value in the neighborhood. it's not that the walk wasn't worth it, or even necessary to a body like mine, but it's a lot of effort just to get to a pizza place and a handful of bars. i'm glad i wasn't allowed to settle for something like that. a little distance does wonders for my perspective.

then, another great place almost fell right into my lap. right timeline, right neighborhood. a little more work than i wanted to put into a house (yard maintenance), but for the price, it was a steal. after spending time there, and accepting the weird window in the shower and the water leak in the dining room ceiling, the broker informed me that they would need to increase the rent by $300 and make it my responsibility to find a renter for a separate unit downstairs. it was a clause i couldn't possibly fulfill, and i left, head hanging down, friends trailing behind me. they'd had ideas, too, that it would be the place for me. all my hope flew out the window.

thousands of rental ads. hours of driving around, taking down numbers and calling landlords, brokerage companies. nothing was working. i was starting to get very nervous, and it was difficult to remember i still had another month to find a new home for myself and my myriad belongings.

you see, i knew i'd find a place eventually. it's the timeline that was so troublesome for me, being forced to fit a mold that someone else had constructed for me. usually i have several months to look, exhaustively, and find something that fits at just the right time. quite frankly, i like to be in control. now, i am emotionally raw. it's out of my hands, and i have to leave. it won't be easy to leave this loft -- it's been home. it's what i know. i'm not used to making any sacrifices to live here. sometimes life doesn't give you a choice, about moving on. sometimes it throws the new in your face so you have no choice but to deal with it. it's a lot like emotional pain -- sometimes you are just unable to move past it until something else comes along.

hardwood floors. natural light. easy care. i wasn't sure if it was out there, for me, in my price range. in my time restraint. finding a temporary place that allowed me to extend that time restraint was proving to be difficult as well, because every landlord is ultimately looking out for themselves, not for the sad-faced girl begging for a shorter lease because she's indecisive and scared to commit to something and find out it's less than she needs. so many rental ads. so many appointments. do you know how i finally found the place? by not looking. i was just driving around, distractedly listening to music, when i stumbled into the neighborhood that would one day be my own.

finding a place to live is so similar to finding love. it's a fruitless search, at times. in that moment where you let yourself go and forget to try so hard, you might stumble upon the right thing at the right time, just by being open to possibility. or you might not. disappointments and delays happen, too. i've always been jealous of how easy other people seem to find things that fit them (significant others, jobs, homes), while everything is so difficult for me. my idealism gets the best of me, and time and time again, people tell me that you can't have everything you've ever wanted, and i've believed it far too easily. yes, it's difficult to find… but it's entirely possible you can find MORE than you ever wanted, at just the right time.

the truth is this: the house itself doesn't matter. it's the feeling you get when you walk in the door. it's knowing you'll be comfortable there, that it won't stand in the way of you being yourself. it's the same thing i've been searching for in a person, as well. i got lucky enough to find both, in the span of 25 days. yes, that journey, too, began on january 6th.

so, here i am, keys in hand. a new place. a new start. it's the next step, and i'm so excited to take it now that i know where i'm going. it's a perfect fit, for me. truthfully, i don't know what the next year of my life will bring, or if new york (or some other major city) is in my future at all. for now, i'm happy, right where i'm at, with hardwood floors and a hand in mine.

1 comment: