Moving is a process unto itself. I never really measured how much “stuff” I had accumulated during college until I had to move out of my freshman dorm. Concert posters, cheap outfits for themed parties, a random assortment of energy drinks and empty alcohol bottles, the list of endless junk was overwhelming. Most of the crap I had to go through had fond memories attached to them, but I had to part with most of it, because how do you explain a “shocker” foam finger to your parents when you move home for the summer? (For the record, I kept that one and it’s tucked away behind one of their lamps in the living room. To this day I still don’t think they know what it is, at least they haven’t asked me what the hand gesture is about).
These last two weeks have been a different kind of move. Instead of sorting through college nostalgia, I was consolidating mine and my boyfriend’s belongings so we could move into our first place together. We’ve been dating for the better part of five years and only now are we both on the same page about living together.
I’d say a number of factors had to come together before the move felt right. He finally finished college (yay!). I’m back on track to finishing law school next spring (double yay!). His previous living situations got complicated…like, at his most recent place, his landlord came by for the weekend and moved all of my boyfriend’s food from the kitchen counters onto his bed (insert all the “wtf’s” and eye rolls).
Initially it was a good living situation because his place before that flat out evicted him overnight, even though he was paying rent on time and had been living there for years. I guess the owners wanted to renovate the place (not a big surprise given their son, my boyfriend’s roommate, had ripped the place to shit while he was on various drugs and did all kinds of “renovations,” like ripping out the doorbell and the floorboards (hello, exposed nails sticking out of the floor). It didn’t help that the owners were my boyfriend’s best friend at the time’s parents. Family friends or not, they gave him no notice, didn’t tell him in person (they left the paper on his bed), and set the eviction for during the holidays (super sweet, right?).
ANYWHOO, petty dramas aside, we are in the process of building a house of our own, but LORD is it taking forever! If the anticipated finish date is remotely accurate, it’ll be close to two, two and a half years from the date of purchase until we’re able to move in. It feels like forever and in the interim my boyfriend’s short-term living arrangements have changed so much, that I think he finally realized I’d be a more stable roommate than any of his other options.
Originally I had an apartment of my own when I started law school, but I had to give that up when I got super sick and started to pass out in random places when I got sick (apparently not an ideal lifestyle, who knew?).
So in the process of all of this, I’ve realized that moving is a great opportunity to learn a lot about yourself, so without further adieu, my list!
1. I’ve got a lot of stuff. Minimalist-in-training (ha, I WISH) or not, moving reminds you of all the nooks and crannies you’ve stored stuff. I found: makeup I thought I’d misplaced, cooking gadgets I didn’t think I could live without (but have survived just fine, sorry fancy ice cream scooper), clothes that I should part with but can’t seem to yet (drop me a line if you specialize in this department), and boxes of books I can’t wait to delve into. Is it weird that I’m most excited about schlepping all my books to the new place? Amongst all of the things, I realized that I live in a handful of yoga pants and t-shirts (outside of suits and business professional attire for work)…so why did I need so many things? I don’t…which I why after this move I’ve made a concerted effort to donate/recycle/toss/or sell extraneous (albeit beautiful) belongings.
2. I’m really out of shape. This is kind of an obvious one, but being sick for so long, you really start to forget what being “healthy” and “in-shape” feels like. In college, I only took the stairs up and down to my apartment on the eighth floor. When I was moving this time, I was winded before I made it up even one flight of stairs. Needless to say, as I continue to get my health under better control, I’m going to try and get back to being active. It’s really tough to compare yourself to a person you don’t even recognize today, but I know even a little exercise is better than none, right?
3. I’m capable of being a better partner. I can’t tell you how many posts I’ve seen on social media about how “Ikea is the best test to see if your relationship will last.” I call bullshit. You want to know if your relationship is going to last, try: moving two people’s entire lives in one weekend, consolidate everything into a small space (as in, there’s only one closet in the whole apartment), add limited parking so you have to schlep your shit half a mile because your s/o is moving his stuff from the assigned parking spot (he had furniture, I had bags of makeup, but still), and then sprinkle in some family drama to add a little spice to the mix. I’ll take assembling an Ikea table any day. But honestly, moving in together has made me consciously put our relationship first and all the other shit second. I don’t think I’ve ever negotiated and compromised so much in my life, but after all was said and done, I think I’d have it any other way.
4. I still need to have my own space. Even though moving in together is a lot of give and take, I’ve realized that I still need to carve out space for myself. I got a little overwhelmed in the move, as my boyfriend has countless surfboards, bikes, computer gadgets and whatnot, so to balance it out I set up a little makeup/reading nook in the corner of our bedroom. It’s not the fanciest spot, but it’s mine and I can’t tell you how good it feels to just have a little respite of my own.
5. I still need friends that aren’t my boyfriend. It’s easy for couples to get sucked into the “we only hangout with people together” mentality. I’ve seen it happen to so many of my friends and frankly, I think it’s a little weird, at least it would be for me and my relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE going on double dates with my boyfriend. That being said though, I love hanging out with my friends one-on-one without my guy. There’s just something about doing my thing and then catching up when I see him that keeps our relationship alive. I feel like if I were to only hangout with each other, we’d both get a little stir-crazy.
So that’s my list of five things I’ve learned about myself while moving in with a significant other. What are your revelations? Anything you miss from living solo? Anything you love now that you’re living together?