In Buddhism, we are always talking about attachment. Attachment to people, material things, feelings, thoughts, everything. So I am really trying to check myself here lately because… I am moving. Being a Buddhist is hard.
My relationship with this old apartment of mine runs pretty deep. In fact my feelings kind of surprise me.
I moved in almost 4 years ago. Wide-eyed and ready to grab change and my life by the short and curlies. I found this cute little apartment that was a great price in a great location. The timing was right so I went for it, bravely going where I had never gone before.
I was excited and nervous. This was not my first apartment. In fact, it was my 5th. But it was my first apartment by myself. I felt empowered by single lady confidence. Buying paint, some power tools, and a night light I began to prepare my new bachelorette pad. Visions of myself living like a real modern lady, drinking fancy wine in bubble baths, listening to old smokey tunes on the record player consumed me.
I wish I could say my visions manifested right away. My memories are still vivid. Riddled with excitement and uncertainty. However, my first-night reality was a little weird.
I heard a loud bang in the night and naturally assumed I was a goner… this was it. All the things they say about living alone was true. It was a murderer, a masked psycho, a fire or worse a ghost. I was alone and defenseless.
I went into the living room with fake bravado in my gut to investigate. Ah! Just as I suspected. A ghost.
There was a book about haunted places in Newfoundland that was laying on the floor. It had fallen off the shelf. What was this madness?
I stood and stared at it thinking… Maybe I should just go to my parents now in the middle of the night they won’t mind. I should call a friend. I should pray. What I did next surprised me. I picked up the book put it back on the shelf and grabbed my laptop. No googling ghosts, no calling a friend. I simply turned on Netflix and watched 101 Dalmatians, and to the sounds of sweet Disney, I fell asleep. Hows that for adulting? Well, maybe half adulting. Baby steps here people.
I decided that this was my new life and I would be that modern fearless woman I had envisioned. No man, no Disney and certainly no ghosts.
I discovered that as I was freshly moved in some things were not set up properly which made things fall over… it happens. And before I knew it I was sleeping through the night and gradually becoming accustomed to my new life.
I would come home after work and turn on Roseanne, cook myself an adult meal of pasta or sometimes just noodles. I began to decorate the way I liked, buy candles for ambiance and get bubble baths. When I would go out with my friends I would actually look forward to going home alone.
On late girls nights, I’d come home to the quiet, completely content to eat pizza barefoot in my kitchen with messy makeup and hair, laughing with myself at my foolish adventures. I began to clean every Sunday and like doing it. I hung my underwear and bras in weird places to dry when washed. On weekends I would wake up and watch reality TV, make pancakes and drink coffee.
Before I even realized it I was living that life I wanted for myself. It wasn’t much. Nothing fancy. Just me and my little apartment and together we built a life, lived exactly by my own rules in my own home. What more could you want?
We have been through a lot this little apartment and I. When I went to Paris with my best friend, it was this apartment that I dreamed of returning to during those long flights and throughout anxious excitement. The paintings and memories of travel and a happy life lived hang on its walls. My Pinterest grew as a nest for creative ideas, and it was that little Kitchen over there that I filled with carefully picked out colors.
On the nights when I was lonely I curled up in my cozy room feeling safe and content. It was this couch I binge watched 3 seasons of Game of Thrones on when I was laid off from my long-time job. It was that kitchen where I finally learned how to properly make a smoothie and homemade bread.
When my quarter life crisis hit this was my safe haven where I licked wounds of the past. Looking around my little home I felt a sense of stability and pride.
When I met my boyfriend I enjoyed that we had our own places. My place, his place. I liked that he liked my little home too. My weird insense, my obsessive amount of pillows. He could stay here or I there. There was no pressure. No intrusion. Just two people living and being. It was perfect.
After a while, I thought it was time for me to open up my little abode to his presence by giving him a full drawer for his clothes in my bedroom. And I guess the rest is history.
He moved in after a year or so.
Furniture changed, we rearranged some things, at times with great difficulty on my part. We had debates about things like copper and it’s tacky or not so tackiness. But it was pretty cool. For a while, I tried to hide my imperfections like most do with any new roomie. My black tumbleweeds of hair in corners, my random piles of clothing on the floors, leaving tea bags in cups for longer than necessary and my tendency to forget to empty the coffee pot for days or weeks.
There were trying times when in the night I would get a startling surprise when the toilet seat was left up or I would enter the porch and stumble over 20-pound boots. But after some time just like in the beginning with my ghostly friend I faced my adversaries, both with myself and my new housemate and my little single shanty was officially a double dwelling.
It has been nice, having someone around to binge watch Netflix with, to shovel the snow when it gets to ridiculous to handle on my own. Someone to eat my baking successes and failures. Someone to order pizza with. It is pretty brilliant.
And so we have been living for the past few years. I have to say this apartment has seen its changes. As I have seen my own while living within its walls.
But as time creeps on by so does life and soon I became increasingly aware of new chapters I wanted to write and I felt the chill of change sneak in.
I knew it wouldn’t last forever and soon it was time to think about my next home sweet home, a future, a plan.
So before I knew it the next chapters theme started to unfold. Moving.
I knew I had to let go of the attachment and take the leap.
We move out this weekend. Gulp.
Although I know I gained every lesson I could about myself while living here and I’m excited about what is next, I still feel sad. Like an old buddy who is moving away, we will always be friends this apartment and I, but things will just be different now.
What I have come to realize as I pack away and purge is that it’s all really internal. The most valuable lessons I gained from my time here isn’t only found in the paint color or within these walls. They are inside. Cheesy I know.
As I leave this apartment I leave with a greater sense of who I am, a confidence in loneliness and togetherness. A new knowledge of independence that I wish everyone to have in order to truly appreciate themselves, the fabric of their lives and the people around them.
It has been a great four years and as the rooms begin to return to the echos in which I found them, I am filled with gratitude to myself for allowing for change and room for growth in my life.