Since I was a wee little angsty teen, I would constantly remind my parents how I was moving out at 18. Naturally these proclamations were met with eye-rolling and sarcastic wit (my parents are fun like that - the apple sure doesn't fall far from the tree) and hormonal little me continued forth in my "I'll-show-them" phase. College rolls around and then university and would you look at that - I was 21, armed with a Bachelor's degree and no career in sight. Shit. *Crumple paper / draft new plan*
I enrolled for a certificate program at a small school hoping to brush up my skills. The academic year ends, I'm now equipped with a Bachelor's degree and a University certificate and my 22nd birthday is a few weeks away - uh-oh. I applied to so many jobs and nobody was calling - I was definitely beginning to panic at this point. 8 days before my birthday, I get hired for a job in my field, but not quite what I studied for all these years - I'll take it.
One year in, it dawns on me that I finally have a stable income. And without hesitation, I went on this wild hunt for the perfect first apartment. Now let me tell you - apartment hunting is no easy feat when you're a Type A, germophobe who isn't willing to shack up with a roomie. This brings me to my first point - repeat after me:
Search high and low, do your research, what to look for, what questions to ask - do it all you want - but rest assured, your first apartment will blow. Blame it on your inexperience or your eagerness to move out, your apartment being a total shithole is the one guarantee you'll get with your new independence. The sooner you accept it, the sooner you'll be happily making said shithole the prettiest and coziest it can be.
Do you have friends who are still living at home with their parents? I hope you're planning on getting a decent couch (or a bigger bed) cause they're totally crashing at your place like it's the friggin' Hilton. Remember how kids in high school always had after-school hangouts or weekend sleepovers at that one kid's house cause their parents were never home? Well you're that kid now. Except you have no parents to be home so it's basically a never-ending sleepover. Yay.
Google "first apartment checklist." Did you do it? Great. How many things do you currently own on that list? Not many, huh? We tend to forget that while we feel ready to go solo, our current possessions are basically our bedroom. And we don't have actually own a single kitchen or bathroom item. Big problem. And while you may be tempted to just "go with the flow" and buy things as you need them, that's not always ideal when toilet water and a huge floater are an inch away from the toilet's rim (NB: Make a plunger a top priority. You're welcome.)
Did you already start telling all your friends about all the sick parties and wild nights that will be had at your first apartment? Um, yeah - better cancel that. If you think your parents are strict, wait till you meet your 75 year old landlord. Not only does he or she go to bed the second the evening news end, they also wake up at the drop of a feather so don't be surprised when they tell you to never flush, run water or even take a step after 9pm. Ah, freedom.
Whenever we first make a decision and realize it was a shitty decision, we suck it up since we know we have to live with it for X amount of time. Someone once said that there's 2 things certain in life and that's death and taxes. Well, better make that 3, cause you'll without a doubt be hating your place with a passion once you know the end is nigh. Your lease plays out like this:
First come the rose colored-glasses - this isn't so bad.
I can fix this.
I can add a splash of color here.
And a frame there.
How did that centipede get in here?
Oh, weird - that's the 5th centipede this week.
Why won't this door open?
There's a funky smell in this room every night.
Why the hell doesn't the heating work?
ANOTHER tile cracked?
I can't wait to move.
I can't wait to move.
I can't take it anymore.
All super-shittiness aside, your first apartment is an invaluable lesson that is a right of passage for anyone leaving the nest. You can move into your first apartment with the best of intentions and preparation and you'll always encounter that one situation that'll have you doubting your decision to leave mommy and daddy. All you can do is live and learn - and for the love of cake - don't apartment hunt on Craigslist.