I had about a nine month gap between moving out of the apartment I shared with roommates and moving in with my husband-to-be. The process of finding a new place to live stressed me out, so I decided to move into a studio apartment in the building connected to where I lived. Easiest move of my life. We piled everything into the service elevator, rode down five floors, and we were finished.
My studio apartment is the Chicago equivalent of a tiny house, barely 300 square feet of home. And you know what? It’s enough. There’s a little office where I can write and work. I have room for morning yoga. I’ve still hosted friends for the weekend. My only true complaint is that, as someone who likes to cook, the kitchen is smaller than I’d like.
I like the simplicity of my little apartment. At times, Matt and I have thought that we could comfortably live in a space of this size if we’d moved in at the same time. I kicked off our post-wedding apartment search with that principle in mind. We didn’t need the largest apartment. We’d rather be in a location we loved and a part of a community.
My Craigslist searches started with the best of intentions, but I noticed them slowly start to change. Before I knew it, I was only interested in apartments that were 850 square feet. Then 1000 square feet. I tried to keep up with the imaginary Joneses in my head, and it scared me.
Less than two weeks of reading apartment listings was all it took for my standards to change to meet the norm. That’s it. I was watching one of my biggest fears play out in front of me. The fear that I’ll check all of the boxes of marriage and having kids and getting that promotion and buying that large house and being a member of that club and forget to live my own truth along the way.
So I had an impromptu intervention with myself in the bathtub the other night. Reminded myself what I wanted to do,who I wanted to be, and what I actually cared about. I called myself out and acknowledged that the way I’m spending my days is not aligned to the way I want to spend my life.
The intervention didn’t completely change me, and that’s not the point. It will always be process of noticing and listening and course-correcting. Then doing it all over again. All I need to do is make space for self-reflection. And if I’ve found more than enough space in my 300 square foot apartment, I think I can create a little more margin in my own life.