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The Last Night.

July 31, 2008

I am sitting in my apartment, sweltering, because my insane brain thought it would be wise to have all the lights on in my apartment while I packed.

Packing. Tonight is my last night in my first apartment that I’ve ever had completely independently. I can’t say I have that many fond memories of this place, considering nothing very exciting ever happened here and the only person who has actually ever really seen it was my mother and that wasn’t until nearly nine months after I had moved in.

When I moved to New Jersey last summer (it feels much, much longer than that – as I suppose living in New Jersey would), I had no idea what or where anything was. Names of cities held no meaning to me – except for that infamous one just south of me (Begins with N and ends with an “ark” and has the oh-so-fitting “ewwww” in the middle) – so I spent countless hours staring at maps of northern New Jersey trying futilely to acquaint myself with an area of the state I had been to for exactly five hours.

Two days after I flew to New Jersey, my dad arrived and helped me settle in. We found my car and while I was at work, he went off in search of my apartment. Yes, you read that right. I started my job before I found a place to live. I think that demonstrates quite well my commitment to my job – either that or my completely and utter insanity.

On my fifth day of living in New Jersey, which at this point was me sharing a hotel room with my dad, I stumbled upon a corporate website for a company that owns several apartment complexes in New Jersey. I called them and asked if they had any available apartments in the area and in my price range and lo and behold, they did!

About a week and a half later, I moved in.

The first night was scary. I had no furniture, except for my mattress and some bedding. The apartment is rather large, and it made strange noises. A fan whirled intermittently throughout the night (and I have yet to figure out where the hell it’s coming from – I can’t see a vent anywhere in my apartment) and the complex is about fifty feet away from the railroad tracks.

I have a hard enough time sleeping in a nice, comfy hotel room so imagine my sleepless nights and near panic at the prospect of having to stay here.

But over time it grew on me. It was conveniently located to work and right down the street from a CVS, which made getting my diabetes medication fairly easy. It’s also right next to a park and since the spring, I have enjoyed walking around the lake and making late night trips to Dunkin Donuts.

I never really decorated it the way that I wanted to. I’ve bought a handful of pictures from Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond and I put up a ribbon bulletin board near my front door and decorated it with pictures of my family, my high school friends and even some of my O.C. friends, like George and Scott and the OCapalooza gang. Although I love all my furniture, especially my red couch and even my ironing board, it never really felt like home.

Just a place I lived. I liked it well enough but it certainly wasn’t a place I was going to stick around forever.

Tonight, when I was loading up my car with my deconstructed IKEA desk (boy was that fun!), my upstairs neighbor heard me opening-and-shutting-opening-and-shutting our shared front door. Thinking I was her son, she came out to the top of the staircase and we started chatting. I told her I was moving.

“Already?! It’s only been a year,” she exclaimed.

And?

I’m sorry, but I’m almost 23 years old. In my world, a year is a long time. Especially a year living in the suburbs. I told her I wanted to be closer to the city and she seemed to understand. I am “young,” as people keep telling me. I’m not sure what being young has to do with wanting to live near the big city. New York City is why I moved to the East Coast. I don’t think I need to defend my desire to live close to it.

The concept of home seems rather fluid right now, and I’m sure it will stay that way for while. I’m curious though, at what point in your life did you feel you were “home”? Was it after you were married? Bought a house? Had children? Was your home a physical location or did you relate it more with a person or a lifestyle? Just curious.

I titled this post “The Last Night” because this is my last night in my apartment. But in all honesty, this feels more like a beginning than an end. I’m not sad, but instead I’m filled with excitement, an electricity that’s pulsating through me at the thought of all the possibilities my life has right now.

Whatever happens, I hope you will be here to share it with me.

Good night.

10 Comments
  1. July 31, 2008 11:25 PM

    I’ll answer your questions first and then skip back around…

    I’d say my latest apartment is the first time I lived someplace that hadn’t been a place I would really considering just a stepping stone in the course of moving. I’ve been in a number of places, pretty much all since around 2000, but I think this is it, and that’s kind of crazy when you really stop and think about it.

    In any case, glad to hear you’ve got your stuff all packed and whatnot. You must keep me posted on how that goes and whatnot. It’s always a peculiar experience to move, and that comes from someone who has never picked up and moved across the country, let alone before turning 25. Good luck with all that, hope it goes well for the next couple days for you… Let me know about the assembly job, too, btw, especially now that you’re basically around the block from me. Hah.

    Oh, and remind me to show you the back way to the office. Someone should be using it.

  2. August 1, 2008 7:58 AM

    Truthfully, I was in exactly the same position a little over a decade ago. I had moved cross-country (in my case, from Connecticut to California) and was living in a place that didn’t really mean “home”. I ended up moving twice more, with the second place in San Francisco really feeling like I had settled someplace, both in terms of work and where I lived. Then, a hostile acquisition (I was working for the company doing the buying), which disrupted things again … so I moved to Philly for 2 years, and then another acquisition (in that case, the business I was working for was sold), so I moved to New York which is where I’ve been for the past 8 or so years. With time, all of this will grow more familiar, but at your age, you can and should expect more change to come at least for a while, use it as a growing experience and you’ll be better prepared for what life will throw at you in the future!

  3. August 1, 2008 4:22 PM

    G-Money! We made “The Door”!! This is it buddy – we’re big time now…

    Oh – wait! I have to check to be sure… Which “Scott” do you mean?

    And I second what the real Scott said – it’s all experience, which will continue to aid you as life unfolds in front of you.

  4. August 1, 2008 4:25 PM

    Haha. Sorry Scott J, I meant Scott Strumello – it’s a photo of us from the OCapalooza dinner. I haven’t met you yet! How can I have a picture of you on my door already? But don’t worry as soon as we do meet you are definitely on “The Door”. Hehe.

  5. August 1, 2008 5:01 PM

    Damnit. I knew it was too good to be true.

    I thought you might have used one of Bernards photoshop creations or something.

    A guy can hope can’t he?
    🙂

  6. August 1, 2008 5:22 PM

    Wow! That’s cool Allison. I sometimes wonder if that waitress we had that night ever recovered from us. Man that was fun.

    I’ll tell you. I never felt like I had any home until my daughter was born. It was that point that we knew we had two kids and that was all we were going to have. At that point I felt, even if we end up in a cardboard box somewhere, we would be “home.” It is the first time in my life that I ever understood what “home” really meant.

    And yes you are young so get close to that city and enjoy! Us old folks like the quiet.

  7. Manabunny permalink
    August 1, 2008 7:37 PM

    I will cross my fingers for you that your next residence won’t be quite so close to the railroad tracks!🙂

  8. navigatinglife permalink
    August 1, 2008 9:51 PM

    I’m 46 years old and moving back to my home town with 2 kids in tow. What I thought was home with the husband, kids and pets didn’t quite turn out that way. After two years of trying to figure out what I had done wrong, I concluded that sometimes things just happen for whatever reason and the end result leads you to a better place. Oh, did I mention I’ll be staying with my mother! Okay for me home has just come full circle. But lucky me, I get to start again.

    Good luck to you in your move. I am so excited for you. Never settle.

    Great writing by the way.

  9. August 1, 2008 10:07 PM

    George: That’s really sweet. Thanks for sharing.

    Manabunny: I am nowhere near the train tracks, thank God! And my room is in the back of the apartment, so no road noise either!

    Navigatinglife: Thank you for sharing your story. I definitely agree that everything happens for a reason – it can just take awhile to figure out what that reason is. Thanks for stopping by. I hope to hear from you again!🙂

  10. Jen permalink
    August 3, 2008 4:46 PM

    I just happened upon this site for the first time. I sighed when I read your comments about home. I am 37, married, and living in an adorable 6 floor walk up in Manhattan with my husband. After living in the city for 10 years, we have just purchased our first house, in Seattle (where I’m from). I thought buying a house would be an exciting time but in actuality it’s keeping me up at nights and I am fantasizing about ways to get out of it! Instead of feeling like a haven, I imagine I’ll feel strapped to a 30 year mortgage, spend my weekends at Costco and mowing the lawn (instead of wandering the Union Square Farmer’s market, sleeping late and then running out to get the Times….) and be very nostalgic for my NYC apartment dwelling days. I thought by this age I’d have a home and it would feel like home-you know, permanent. Let’s see how it all turns out….

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