Lessons from a Studio Apartment
After almost two years of long distance dating and angst, my husband and I got married in Michigan on Friday and moved into our studio apartment in Arizona on Tuesday.
It will be fun, we said. We will be lovers and set up furniture and have so much fun, we said.
Bahaha. If only we knew.
Living together for the first time is no joke. I used to think it was no big deal and that I was such an easy going person anyway, so moving in together would be a piece of cake. But I was wrong on all accounts. It was a big deal, I was not an easy going person at all, and it was not a piece of cake.
Who knew that some poor souls didn't know that washing a plate after you eat was normal, or that placing clothes in a hamper was a great and effective thing? Garrett left a trail blazing behind him everywhere he walked, which wasn't very far, considering our apartment was 600 square feet. Who knew that some people acted like literally awful human beings in the morning and that if you so much as said "hello" you were no better than Satan?
Alas, who also knew that I mistakenly thought that snapping and screaming wildly at every minor conflict was not normal? I didn't know that having a panic attack every time a picture frame was uneven or a book crooked was uncalled for. I didn't know that making loud peanut butter smoothies in the screeching blender from hell at 5 am was inconsiderate. No really, I did not know any of these things.
We both had no idea.
It was a huge adjustment period for the both us, especially with our opposite temperaments and love languages. As we pack up our simple belongings and move into our palace of a two bedroom, I realized that I've learned some very valuable insights during our cramped, two-year stay. It may have been hard at first, but ultimately, I'm grateful that we decided to live in a studio apartment for the first two years of our marriage. I'm grateful for the few simple but profound lessons that I have experienced.
I'm grateful for ultimate simplicity.
Living in a small space made us strip down to the bare bones of what we truly needed. While I don't think we are complete minimalists, I definitely have embraced many aspects of simple living. I don't need lots of furniture or clothes or silverware. We only have what we need and use every day. Living with the basic necessities is so low maintenance, and that is a glorious thing. Cleaning our entire space even on the worst day takes about 30 minutes. The easier maintenance is, the more time I have to devote to work, reading, and leisure time. We love it.
I'm grateful for constant gratitude about the small things.
We were so unbelievably pumped when our friends gave us a real mattress after months on an air bed. We just about lost our minds when we scored a free couch and some side tables. I'm grateful for my tiny little closet and my little stacks of art supplies on the table we share. I'm so happy that I have a crock pot and a blender, even if it is loud. I am thankful for my daily bread, in a sense, because I am reminded of the blessings I have when I use them every day.
Most importantly, I'm grateful for the unmistakable intimacy that blossomed in the midst of being annoyed and vulnerable with my spouse.
Living together made us hyper aware of how one another operates. I really suck at being intuitive about perceiving what my husband needs in the moment, but being forced to communicate so frequently (because you literally have nowhere else to go) has allowed me to learn. I know what he needs just about the same time he does, and vice versa. I know his habits like my own. I know that he needs an hour to wake up before I breathe a word, and that he functions best when I let him create music without interrupting. I have perfected the art of doing an entire Insanity workout from across the room at 5 am without so much as a peep so as not to disturb him, and I know he needs a massive, physical touch pick me up hug as soon as he walks in the door.
On the flip side, he knows to never engage with me verbally unless I'm fed and well rested. He knows that I'm a huge fan of "defining our terms" when we are having an argument and that I need to express myself in twenty different better ways before I find any type of closure. He knows not to come near me when I'm by a mirror doing my make up, and that he needs to properly seal food because I always forget.
I feel that we know one another so deeply and so truthfully because we've made it a point to be observant. It's almost like how they say travel really brings out the best and worst of people. Living together has been like that for us.
I will really miss our tiny space. I will miss our weekly grocery shopping trips to Fry's, where we know the sushi guy and he knows us. I will miss the gentleman who work at the post office next door. I will miss our friendly next door neighbor, who always has a kind word to say to us when he accidentally has our mail delivered to him. I will miss late night runs to Bosa Donuts, and I will miss our hilarious times together, like when the air conditioning blew out on a 120 degree day or when we stayed up late watching Lost wrapped up in blankets.
I will miss this young and dramatic and beautiful phase of life. Of course I welcome the new adventure that awaits us with a bigger place and the birth of our son, but I will always remember with great fondness of first two years in that hilarious and dear little studio apartment.
May your next owner create just as many wonderful memories, #214A!