Hello, O-HI-30 readers! I know. It’s been a while!
The Short North has been my home since July of 2009. For those of you counting, yep – that’s almost SIX YEARS. Six years in the same apartment?! My co-worker once told me that I was like a character on a sitcom – think Rachel & Monica on Friends, who lived in the same apartment for the duration of the show (with the exception of the time they had to swap apartments with Chandler & Joey – my favorite episode! Mrs. Chanandaler Bong, anyone?!). When he made that observation, I was four years into my lease. When I resign it this summer, I’ll be starting my seventh year.
I don’t know anyone my age who has lived in the same place for as long as I have. Most renters I know move every 2-3 years, some more frequently. Others get sick of renting quickly and move on to home ownership. It’s worth noting that my mother lived in the same apartment in Clintonville for almost FIFTEEN years. Those 15 years included two marriages, some blissfully single years in between, and the birth of her two children. I don’t see myself birthing a child while living on High St., but it wouldn’t be far off to say, “like mother, like daughter”.
As a 30-almost-31-year-old, I’m at the stage in life where my peers are starting to make big changes. There are expectations for people my age. Buying homes, getting married, having children. If you’ve been reading my blog since the beginning, you might recall a post I wrote on this topic. It centered on the idea that we have a lot of expectations for ourselves – and for others – and when we inevitably don’t meet all those expectations, we feel inadequate. Once might say it would be better not to set those expectations in the first place, but with so much pressure, both internal and external, it’s almost impossible not to.
Ditching the renter’s check in favor for a mortgage is certainly one of those life milestones. When a friend-of-a-friend traded her renter’s life for the keys to her very own condo last year, it really hit me. Up until then, despite many close friends leaving their apartments and buying homes, I hadn’t thought much about my future living arrangements. But something about this transition got me thinking. Perhaps it was the fact that she, like me, is a single gal, living the “fabulous” life in Columbus. I found myself thinking, “should I be thinking about buying a place too?”
I expressed this sentiment to my mother. Not one for conventions, she didn’t encourage me to hire a realtor or to talk to the bank. Instead, she pointed out a few of her observations. One, that I’m not a fan of yard work and have no interest in planting flowers. Two, as much as I love decorating my apartment and making it cute and cozy, I have never once expressed a desire to paint its walls purple or grey. And three, my lifestyle – being able to walk out my door and meet my friends at a hopping restaurant across the street – is very important to me. As is spending my weekends shopping, not gardening.
Her observations were all true. I don’t actually want to move. Sure, there are things about my apartment that I don’t like – mainly, how LOUD it is (earplugs are my savior), or how dusty and dirty it gets just from being on High St. Or that I can’t eat dinner sitting on a patio, or fire up the grill for burgers in the summertime. But I’m a firm believer in that the grass is not always greener, and there are so many aspects of this apartment that I love – not the least of which is the extremely under market value rent. Its hardwood floors and big windows that open up to trees lining High St. (yep, the same windows that keep me up at night). My ample parking options, full amenities (washer and dryer, dishwasher, A/C, etc.), and 900 sq. ft. to hold all of my refurbished furniture. And, of course, the plentiful bars and restaurants just below my feet – and the park across the street.
I’ll admit that since beginning a relationship, my feelings on the subject have changed a bit. It’s easier for me to think about buying a house – and all the work that comes with it – with someone than it is to think about doing on my own. I know that doesn’t sound very “independent woman” of me, but it’s the truth. I don’t think I want to take on the responsibilities of home ownership by myself, at least not right now. But our relationship is still young, and we’re not there — yet.
So when my landlord hands me my lease 60 days out, I’ll resign it. Again. Despite my friends growing up and buying houses (and getting married and having babies), I’ll stay put right where I am. Do I want to live in this apartment for the next six years? No! (I’m pretty sure I’d get kicked out for yelling obscenities at the drunks on the street below). But I’m not going to move just because it’s what is “expected” at this stage in my life. The same can be said for getting married or becoming a parent. No matter your age, you have to live life on your own terms and not anyone else’s. I’ll become a homeowner when I actually want to, when it’s right for me and my life.
Until then – anyone up for a drink? Meet you downstairs in five!