My year long lease is officially up and I’ve started the task of looking for another place. I don’t know about any of you but now when I’m looking, I have somewhat of a check list of things that I’d “like” to have in my home. But as I was browsing places to live and checking off the ones that didn’t meet my expectations, it made me think back to a time when I didn’t even have the option…especially since I was living in my car.
In the early part of 2005, there was a lot of things that was going on in my life. I had just experienced a really bad break up and of course, that break up meant that we couldn’t share a place with one another anymore. I had temporarily moved in with a friend and after a disagreement about friends and guests, it didn’t work out. So I found myself living in a hotel. I had just landed a job. The money was “okay” but it wasn’t enough for me to save up and get a deposit. Then, it was easier for me to take my money and pay for a (not so nice) hotel every week. I remember spending my 25th birthday with a few friends and being happy to have gotten away from my room for a while. I remember damn near begging them to keep the party going (even though they all had to work the day after) just so I wouldn’t have to go back to the hotel. The carpet was a mess, the tub was definitely NOT bath worthy (showers and shower shoes ALL DAY) and I think the fridge came to my hip. After a while, I got some things together and got this cute condo in Sandy Springs. I know that that isn’t “totally” homeless but it was still a bad situation. But probably not as bad as the next time.
A couple years later, I found myself living in my car for a while. I had sold most of my things, so all I had to my name was clothes, my laptop and a blanket. I remember parking outside of a Krystal’s restaurant so that I could get online to try and find something. Again, I had a job but I wasn’t making enough to give someone a month or two of rent for a deposit. I called one of my friends (who, to this DAY, is one of my closest friends ever). I told him what happened, I told him I had no money. I told him that I was near College Park, GA and with him being ALL the way in Dekalb County, I doubt my car would make it b/c I didn’t have any gas. He told me to just drive and he’d stay on the phone with me until I got there. Fortunately I made it. I ended up staying with him for about a month before I got into my own place.
All of this is a bunch of rambling now but when it was going on, I remember how alone I felt. I was miserable and I felt worthless. In addition to dealing with people who didn’t have my best interests at heart, I was also making my own share of bad decisions that continuously landed me in bad positions. And as I look for another place now, I can’t help but to think back on those times. Although my life still isn’t perfect (and probably never will be), I feel grateful to be able to afford to even look. Knowing what it’s like to be in an unfavorable situation teaches you a level of humility that you can’t learn from anyone.
I make better decisions now. I don’t always get everything right but I’m very mindful of every move I make so that I don’t land myself back in that same situation. That’s why my home is so important to me. When you leave your 9 to 5, you should be able to go home to a place that feels serene; you can kick off your shoes and relax b/c you feel at home. And now that I work from here, it’s just as important to feel peaceful in my surroundings.
Living out of a nasty hotel or in your car isn’t fun but the one thing that it did teach me is how to be grateful. At any moment, life can throw us a right hook that can totally knock us on our ass. But it’s up to you on whether you’ll keep lying down or get up and fight back. As many times as I felt like giving up and just saying “fuck it” with the hand that I was dealt, I’m happy that I stuck around and kept giving it one more try. A lesson in humility and appreciation always helps….