Wednesday, February 1, 2012

living alone - part 1.

I have chosen to live alone. Don't get me wrong - it's not like I really HAD a choice. When the time came to move out, there wasn't anyone else in the market to shack up with. 6 months prior I had broken up with my boyfriend of 2 1/2 years and my parents decided for me that it was time for their baby bird to flap her wings. That's a tale for a different time. This was a very scary, frustrating time in my life. I had no clue as to who I was, what I wanted and where I was going. Wait -- still figuring that out.

At the time of my journey into the world of apartment hunting, I was a year or two into my career. Racked with student debt, adult bills and my substantial interest in 'nightlife' - my budget was NOT liberal. I decided to look for a studio in the Stevens Square area. Slightly ghetto but affordable and close to downtown MPLS. I thought GREAT - I can walk to work, burn some calories, live by my best friends and not break the bank all while being slightly trendy.

Thus began my search for reasonable apartments that we not about to condemned. With my best friend and her boyfriend letting my crash on their couch, I embarked on a solo journey for 450 square feet to call home. This is the moment I learned a couple very valuable life lessons: living alone is expensive. Second life lesson; having a bigger budget is desirable.

Every place I looked at in my price range was extremely sketchy. I am talking about hallways that were clearly lopsided, very dingy carpeted rooms, outdated appliances and an non negotiable threat of a cockroach problem. My dreams were crushed. Very, very quickly. My daydreams of throwing swanky cocktail parties in my spacious and perfectly decorated apartment were swept out of my mind and replaced with me living in a roach motel with a few uninvited house guests.

I remember my best friend and boyfriend came to look at a place I was going to sign a lease on. Bless their hearts they tried to remain optimistic but it was hard to be calm and supportive and I could tell. They were scared for my safety.

I flaked on signing that lease after reading some less than flattering and comforting reviews on the management company.

I did eventually find a cozy little studio in Stevens Square. While I questioned the legitimacy of the building and how many actual tenants happily lived there, I decided that beggars cannot be choosers and I signed a lease.

Don't get me wrong - I loved that little apartment. I also loved that I could peer out onto Stevens Square Park and watch the questionable residents of the area co-mingle. My favorite memory: a shake down on a homeless lady and her backpack in the park. Let's just say she was NOT innocent. I was riveted and did not leave my window perch for a solid hour. I later told a guy I was dating about that moment and felt slightly judged for being so blatantly creepy.

After a year in my little bachelorette pad I had not only acquired a feline companion [see below] and learned that living alone was not only liberating but bad ass. I had a whole new lease on life - I could do anything! Picture to hang up? No problem. Just heard a noise that sounded like a gunshot? Listen to your iPod and pretend it was fireworks! Never in my life had I been so terrified and exhilarated at the same time -  I was doing it.  I was 24, single & living in the 612.

Meet Binky Bear - my furry daughter.

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