In Apartments and Relationships…

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For-sale-and-leaseI was recently having a conversation with a friend who is considering moving. She’s currently in a one bedroom apartment. It has central air, a fireplace, access to a pool, and allows her dog. She is comfortable there. And although she’s affording it, the rent is steep and promises to once again rise next month.

My friend has done due diligence. She’s looked at other apartments in her area and even found one she likes. It is a little bit smaller and doesn’t have central air or a fireplace. But it offers access to a pool, is a first floor unit (which she prefers), and welcomes her shaggy little roommate. The rent is $200 a month cheaper. And yet, my friend just can’t decide.

Today, as we were talking about her living options, my friend counted ways she could save money every month (without moving). Her list made me wonder why she was even thinking of a change in the first place. When I asked her why the decision was such a hard one for her, I soon learned that my friend likes where she is. If rents were equal and she could choose, she would just stay put. But there’s this nagging feeling in her that she can get a better deal elsewhere.

This leads me to question the value we place (or don’t place) on comfort, on stability, on feeling “at home.” So often, I think we listen to the rational side of ourselves; the piece of our brain that logically weighs a situation with a series of check boxes and balance sheets. I think we’ve been conditioned to do that, as if it is the only way to make a smart decision. In reality, however, every decision we make involves a level of risk. We can never truly be sure that the decisions we make today won’t somehow bubble up in the future to cause regret. We can only do our best.

I think this pondering applies far beyond an apartment lease. I’d even venture to say that it applies to our jobs, to how we spend our free time, even to who we decide to love. How many of us have completely ruined a relationship by simply wondering if we were getting the best return on our investment? How often have we looked at our partner and made that check list of strengths and weaknesses? I’m not saying that anyone should ever compromise the really important things just to make a relationship work. What I am saying is that I think we take the element of comfort for granted; that we sometimes forget how truly important it is to feel “at home”; that we forget to listen to our gut.

I don’t think we should ever let our fear of falling prevent us from taking a leap. But once we’ve landed someplace we like, why do we let the turbulence of doubt ruin our destination?

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