I always joke around and say that I’m going to literally die in my apartment alone. Yes, it’s a joke but it actually feels a little real to me at times. I’ve been living in my place since college. I remember moving in a month before I turned 21 and as I type that out I realize how much my life and this neighborhood has changed since then. I was so excited to have a space of my own and never really thought how long I’d actually live here. Now nearly 11 years later I’m still here. Albeit, the entire place has been renovated so it technically looks entirely different. But, I’m still here. And it kind of freaks me out.
I continue to have this recurring dream that this place isn’t mine.
The dream continues on that I’m really living at my parents in the suburbs because I can’t afford to live anywhere else. I end up looking for apartments and realize I have no money in the bank to afford it. It’s horrifying. I’d actually call it a nightmare, yes that’s exactly what it is, a nightmare. I wake up from this nightmare often looking around my apartment frantically to make sure I’m really here and not in my parent’s home. It’s been happening more often this nightmare, so it’s starting to concern me a bit, ha!
This dream likely happens often because I am so vocal about being stuck here. You’re probably thinking, Jessica, just move. Sell it, go somewhere else. But here’s the thing, financially I kind of am stuck. I moved into this place when the housing market was on the major decline. And Buckhead, the cute, safe neighborhood, was really one of the few places to live as a young adult 10 years ago.
Now fast forward a decade and there are amazing neighborhoods in Atlanta popping up or growing significantly. Like Grant Park, where these photos were taken and one of my favorite up and coming hoods. Then there’s Inman Park, where my best friend lives and we hang out there often. Also, Midtown, which is just a few blocks from Piedmont Park and a great spot to call home.
All places I’d LOVE to move to. But guess what?
They’re EXPENSIVE AS FUCK. As in, a small dumpy studio apartment goes for $1,500+ which is on the cheaper side, to be honest. A house that needs to be fully renovated, starts at three times the price of mine and looks a fraction of the way I’d ever want it to look. So yes, I kind of am stuck. I could move to the suburbs…. but that’s not happening, period.
I’m sharing all of this because I’m hoping I’m not alone here.
Lots of life changes with friends are happening now too. From friends getting married to buying their first homes and more. Personally, I think this is probably where the stress and pressure to change is coming from. I know I’m fortunate to have a roof over my head and have countless blessings from a great family, friends and a career I created on my own. I’m the first to say, my life rules and I’m beyond lucky. But sometimes it’s hard to not focus on this one thing because it’s a constant thread in my life.
From when I visit new coffee shops in other neighborhoods like Full Commission in Grant Park, to seeing my friend’s spacious homes and backyards for their dogs, to my small open office area overflowing with items for projects. I’m constantly reminded that I am STILL in this apartment and there’s no change in the near future.
How To Move Past It
Have you ever felt stuck before? How do you get around it or move through it? A few things I’m going to try to do to STOP dwelling on something I can’t change at the moment are to rediscover things about my neighborhood that I love. And maybe decluttering my home so it doesn’t feel so packed and like I NEED more space. I actually did this over the weekend quite a bit and it definitely allows for a more tranquil home. And lastly, reminding myself when this does happen that it is temporary and that life is pretty amazing regardless. Plus, if this is the ONE thing I compare myself on, then so be it. Life is good and I am grateful for that.
PS this post was SUPPOSED to go a little differently. I love this new coffee shop Full Commission in Grant Park and wanted to chat about how much I love this neighborhood. Somehow it turned into a full-blown diary post. A part of me wanted to delete and start fresh, but the other part of me thought, maybe just publish it. Maybe someone else can relate or needs a reminder that life is good and big changes can wait.
There doesn’t have to be an expectation to have a bigger home, or a backyard by a certain age. And that’s the part I need to keep reminding myself. Because no one HAS to be married by a certain age (or married at all, being single is kind of amazing) and no one has to have their dream home by 30. Life will happen when it happens and if you can’t enjoy it in the moment, then you aren’t living.
Photos by Hannah Michelle