I spent my Labor Day painting every wall of my dining room and living room. With twelve-foot ceilings, radiators to maneuver around, and copious amounts of trim to deal with; it was quite the undertaking. Plus, since I somehow managed to track paint over 90 percent of my new home (yes, I put tarps down) I spent Monday trying and failing to remove gray paint from my floors.
My new apartment is ancient—it is both the coolest and saddest place I ever lived in. On Friday, I was describing my upcoming painting fiasco at lunch when a coworker said, “I would just LOVE to paint my apartment…but what’s the point? It’s not like I’m going to live there forever.”
I get this comment a lot.
In the past nine years, I lived in a dozen apartments, bought and sold three whole living room sets (at minimum), and owned three different mattresses. I refinished two different dressers before buying my own sander in 2015. I own ten different pillows that went through three rotations of pillowcases.
No matter how short my time there, I make each place my own. I can’t give a reasonable explanation as to why, other than something my friend Daria said to me two years ago:
Life starts now.
Daria could be the most high-energy friend I have. She’s the kind of person who is always smiling, always bouncing off the walls, always ready for a run, always down for whatever. She could star in her own Bud Light commercial.
One time on a run, she was telling me about her most recent date—a date that lasted all of ten minutes.
“Ten minutes!?!” I screamed. What kind of date lasts for ten minutes? How bad could he have been?
“Yea,” she shrugged. “I just wasn’t feeling it.”
“You weren’t feeling it?? You couldn’t just humor the guy for an hour? He probably went home and cried!”
“Listen,” she said, “I’m a life starts now person. If I’m not feeling it, then I’m not going to waste his time or mine. An hour pursuing something not worth being pursued is an hour I won’t get back.”
And with that, I had no argument left to give.
I repeat Daria’s famous line a lot. It’s such a great reminder to place value on each time in your life—no matter how long that time may last. I’m guilty of the, “I’ll do it tomorrow,” or the “What’s one more day,” mentality. Where I may look at an hour and find it insignificant in the grand scheme of things, Daria looks at the same hour and finds how it contributes to the same grand scheme.
If I stay on pace, I’ll live in my apartment for exactly one year—but think of all the things that happen in one year! I’ll have dinner parties for my friends, have half-assed yoga sessions on my living room floor, and maybe convince my parents to visit again for the holidays. I’ll host tons of visiting friends from across the country and hopefully meet new ones too. My apartment will host each one of those memories. For that reason, I want a place to feel like home and be a reflection of me.
If I stayed with the, “I’m not going to live here forever,” mentality, I would have spent the past nine years waiting for a place to feel like home.
No, my apartment won’t be my home forever. But it’s my home right now.