After spending 12 hours away from the house and fighting through a 45-minute commute in traffic, nothing feels greater than walking through your own front door. Having a place to retreat to after a long day out in the world is really better than nothing is. That is unless that place has chocolate of some sort – ice cream, cookie, candy, cake – it doesn’t matter which. Coming home is the best part of my day especially after spending the most of my 20’s “homeless”.
I spent the majority of my 20’s couch surfing. My parents advised against me living on campus. I remember that day out in the garage. My father sitting in his shed tinkering with the latest broken thing from around the house. I walked into the garage accompanied by my mother and we discussed the reasoning behind my desire to stay on campus. My dad thought it wasn’t a good idea for several reasons but the main was issue was money. Looking back on it, he made the right decision for me. I didn’t need to stay on campus. We only stayed 20 minutes from the school so we agreed that I would commute.
It didn’t take long before the commute started to wear on me and I wanted the independence that my friends from high school had. Soon after I started college, my family decided to move which added an additional 20 minutes to my original commute. My adventures in couch surfing began.
I started first staying in my boyfriend’s dorm room. It was an all boy’s dorm so it wasn’t the most ideal situation. Just to use the bathroom, he had to walk me to the girl’s floor or make sure their bathroom was clear. The closest thing to a kitchen was a microwave where I perfected ramen noodles. All it took was some sausage and several shakes of hot sauce to make something that resembled a meal. I remember gliding down the hall making friends with the neighboring boys. I even batted my eyes a couple of times to get free popcorn. Now that I think about it, I’m not even sure if I was suppose to spend the night but hey it was college.
By my sophomore year of college, my boyfriend moved to his own apartment and I followed him there. This time we had a kitchen and more room but the living arrangements weren’t ideal. He was messy. On several occasions, I would have to use superhuman strength to get the door to our room open enough for me to walk in. Once in the room, I saw piles of clothes sprawled out on the floor as if it was laundry day after a 7-month strike. The greatest pile of laundry was conveniently located behind the door.
When I was a junior, the messy boyfriend was out of my life and I was back at home with the 40-minute commute. By this time, I had made more friends, which increased the couches that I could crash on. I joined a sorority, and had all these new sisters to hang out with. I also had a new boyfriend and spent the majority of my time at his house. Between my sisters, and my boyfriend, I hardly ever went home. I lived out of my car and jumped from couch to couch. My back seat always had a bag filled with clothes for every occasion. Going home was such a task, that I had to be ready for anything that popped up last minute.
This went on until I graduated. Though by the time I walked across the stage, I had a more stable home even if the fourth wall was a curtain. I stayed in the sun-room of a three bedroom apartment with three of my closest sisters. Three of us shared one bathroom, which led to many passive aggressive notes stuck to the mirror. One of my sisters then proceeded to move her messy boyfriend in which led to tense situations around the house.
Finally, after living in the “sorority house”, I paid rent at my own place, which I shared with two other girls. One of them decided to move their boyfriend in which of course cause a repeat of my previous situation. Even though I put an end to couch surfing, I still longed for a place where I lived alone.
My next apartment satisfied my wish and I was at peace with my living arrangements. More at peace than I had been in a very long time. Then one day I lost my job and I was back staying with someone else.
Fast forward to 2010, I moved into my own place. The same house that my family moved away from when I started college. For the past two years, I have lived on my own and enjoyed the lack of roommate. Well unless you count my dog. Everything was on me. If there was a mess, then I made it. If something needed cleaning, I did it. If something was lost in the house, I lost it. I moved it. I broke it. I burned it. I left it on. I turned it off. I unplugged it. I plugged it in. I had no one to blame which made things simple and lovely. If I needed to correct it, I did.
Around the same time that I found my peace in my childhood home, I fell in love. With falling in love, I thought it was a good idea for my love to move in with me. Plus, I had begun to couch surf again at his house (no, he didn’t make me sleep on the couch but I was tired of splitting my time between two houses). So he moved in.
My couch surfing has ended and so has my joy of living alone. Even though I have to turn off lights that I didn’t turn on, clean dishes I didn’t dirty, wipe messes that I didn’t make, turn off things I didn’t turn on, and unplug things that I didn’t plug up, I won’t change it for all the chocolate in the world. Too much chocolate can make your teeth ache. This whole “living together” situation, (not sure why I put that in quotes) is an adjustment especially for someone that once stated that her and her husband would live in duplexes next to each other but never in the same house. It is one that I am glad to make – I mean it’s better than couch surfing.