After a few weeks of apartment hunting in L.A., a couple applications to apartments we thought we would love but didn’t (no parking? no thank you), and a lengthy moving pro/con list, Irvine won. Today, we renewed the lease to the place that we’ve made a home.
During this time of hypothetical move planning, I’ve thought about a few things…
1. Timing deserves a mention in any pro/con list.
The first apartment we applied to was a place off Santa Monica Blvd, near the Century City Mall. It had wood floors and a BBQ patio and a tiny kitchen. I thought it was a sign that I found a place so quickly after I started looking. Then was informed after I had spent 2 hours driving to see the place, that our application was second in line, and the first application was already in the process of being finalized with the owner. The second apartment we applied for was one in Bel-Air. It had hardwood floors, huge windows, and, as it turned out absolutely no parking. We’d also have to move in 3 weeks before our lease in Irvine ended, which basically meant paying more than double the rent for the month. Currently, our lease here will end just in time for our international adventures to begin.
2. Don’t get too comfortable.
Our current apartment has a garage. A garage that has been a blessing and a crutch. A garage that has allowed us to stockpile stuff like it was built to be a bomb shelter and not just a place to park the car. But all this talk about moving was a reminder that storing stuff is just not worth it. In about a year, we’ll (God-willing) be moving to China, and we’ll have to sell everything anyway.
4. There is no place in the world where life is perfect.
One thing I learned as an Econ major: there are trade-offs to everything. More time, less space. More greenery, fewer restaurants. A shorter commute on the 405, more time on the bus.
I love Orange County for how laid-back it is, for how close we are to beaches and camping and free yoga and running trails. But I haven’t turned into a runner. And I haven’t developed an appreciation for chain restaurants. Moving to L.A. wouldn’t make me a hipper person. Or even a happier one. It would be different, and that’s all.
6. Creating the life that you want takes action.
Stepping foot into an empty apartment, I imagine myself living there. I imagine where I will make my coffee, where Winston will go on walks, whether there is a window I can read by or a patio for grilling. It’s my imaginary life. In real life, I don’t always read by the window or go to the farmer’s market. I like having options, but the truth is that I don’t always take advantage of those options. Creating real life can be done anywhere. It doesn’t take a perfect apartment or easy transportation. It takes effort. And action.
7. Love where you live.
It’s a cheesy line that comes on the Irvine Co. keychain of our current apartment’s keys. But it’s so true. We have loved every minute of living in our little Irvine apartment. We love that we have a washer and dryer on our very own patio. We love that on our patio, we have chairs, a table, and even a cool, turquoise drink cooler on wheels. We love that we have a dishwasher and granite countertops and drawers that slide right open. We love that our good friends live right next door, that we have three (!) accent walls, and that our apartment leads directly out to a biking/running trail to the beach. We love the green belts in our complex and the palm-tree lined jacuzzi that we’ve escaped to many a (California) winter’s night. We love that right across the street is the grocery store, a Z Pizza, and a Coffee Bean. We love that we actually have sidewalks and that there is a park down the street with fire pits for marshmellow-roasting. Mostly, we love that it feels like home.
We’ve learned that nostalgia sometimes has a way of holding you back rather than pushing you ahead, but other times, it has a way of tugging at your heart strings and reminding you to go with your gut. To remember the good times, learn from the rest, and take the time to create the experiences you’ll want to hold onto.
There really is no place like home.