Have you ever made a decision, one where everything and everyone is telling you to say no, but your gut is telling you to jump and say yes?
There is a Luke Bryan song where he sings:
“I believe that youth is spent well on the young.
‘Cause wisdom in your teens would be a lot less fun.”
I believe the same principle applies to young adults. Sometimes the unwisest of decisions can impact your life in a positive way. In 2013, I did something that I would never encourage my sisters, nieces, or nephews to do. I moved in with a complete stranger, a roommate that I had found on Craigslist.
I know! This could have turned out so bad! But it did not. On the contrary, this story has a beautiful ending.
Upon moving to Rochester, I had to find a place to live. I had tried to search online ,while still in Arizona, but decided that I should hold off until I was in Rochester. There was too much to figure out and I wanted to ensure that I ended up in a safe neighborhood. I wanted to ensure that I was not living next to a fire station. I want to ensure that the place would feel like home. All things that I could not ensure via email.
So, after settling into my temporary home, I opened my computer and pulled up Craigslist and began the search for my new home. One of the places in my search was a beautifully, recently renovated, three bedroom house. The funny thing is, I had been eyeing this house, weeks earlier, when I began my initial search. I had been so sure that it would be gone quickly, so I was surprised that it was still available.
My thought was, “okay, the photos must be misleading or the person is a creepy weirdo. Why else would a perfectly good home still be available?” Well, I had to find out for myself. So I sent a message, with some info about myself, and waited. I sent three other messages to other posts, and by the end of the week I had three appointments, including one for that 3 bedroom home.
I remember pulling up to the house, thinking this is a nice neighborhood. The season was transition to fall but that day it felt like a cool summer. Tall trees aligned the street, and for the most part it was a quiet evening. I parked, and started getting myself together when I noticed that the house door had opened and a tall guy had emerged.
This is what I can remember from that day:
His hands were in his pockets. He swayed when he walked. He had a childlike grin. He complimented my car. He raved about Wegmans. The house was what I call “cute.” The stairs creaked, but the colors of the house were calming and inviting. The house had definitely been updated.
After he repeatedly assured me that he and his friend were not creepy weirdos, I asked why he had not found a roommate yet. He explained, that they had not found the right person. They were not rushing to find a roommate.
On my way home, I called my mom to tell her that I was going to cancel my other appointments and put a deposit down. I told her about the neighborhood and how beautiful the house was. I added that it was very affordable, before adding that I would be living with two guys.
I was glad I could not see the look she was giving me when I told her, “that it just felt right.” I think she sensed there was no talking me out of it. So she didn’t say much else.
This experience will probably go down as my wisest unwise decision. I definitely leaped with faith on this one. I don’t think our story is rare. I know multiple people who have found their roommates on Craigslist. But I haven’t met many who have lived with the same person, especially that of the opposite sex, for almost five years.
For most of my life, my dad was the only guy in the house, and he had his own bathroom. My little brother didn’t arrive until I was in high school. So this was an eye-opening experience, one that has definitely taught me a few things, about not only living with someone you have never met, but a male someone.
I thought it would be fun to share our story, so that one day, years from now, when someone is browsing the inter-webs (or whatever they will refer to it in the future) they will think, wow, those humans were crazy in the 2K! I also thought it might be fun to share a few things I have learned about keeping peace in a shared home.
- Be respectful and considerate: I am an early riser, he not so much, so I try my hardest to be quiet in the mornings, especially on the weekends. Ladies, I was prepared to live in a world where I would have to endure the toilet seat battle BUT I have NEVER had to ask him to put the seat down. Yes, there have been a few occasions where he has left it up, but that’s like .5% of the time. Which amazes me because I thought this would be an issue.
- Choose to be happy. You can choose to be upset or get angry, or you can choose happiness and let go. Be it, a dirty dish in the sink, realizing there is no more toilet paper, or taking out the trash, I soon learned that in order to keep a happy household I had to breath and just let some things go. Jordan on the other hand, is not bothered by much, so I don’t know if he ever had to choose happiness.
- Be willing to compromise. If you peek into the living room, you will see compromise. I like to refer to our decor as bachelor pad chic. That’s all I have to say about that.
- Have fun: We have tried to keep up monthly roommate dinners. Our lives are busy and there are some weeks where I don’t see him at all, especially when one of us is enrolled in grad school. But taking time to catch up, let’s the other know that you find them important and you are interested in knowing what is going on in their life.
- Talk about issues: We learned this a bit late, but we still learned it. I used to think that sweeping issues under the rug would keep the peace, but instead it brought division. It is definitely not the easiest thing to do, but to keep a peaceful and happy home, it needs to be done.
Over the last few years, together Jordan and I have lived in two homes and we have had two roommates pass through our doors. We have had clogged drains and clogged toilets. The house has seen us on our good days and our bad days. Diplomas, new car registrations, and many Amazon packages have arrived in our mailbox. The house has hosted our respective friends and families. In this house we both did our own academic, professional, and personal, growing and learning.
I write this tale to celebrate the human who has been a constant in my life for almost five years. Today is his birthday and soon we will be going our separate ways. I am quite the sentimental person, and I could never say all this to his face without crying, so I decided to write it down and reminisce with the world. I am thankful that he was brought into my life. I am going to miss the house, and no doubt miss that kitchen, but most of all I will miss this kind hearted person. I will miss the comfort of knowing that should I need help, Jordan is in the next room, willing to help. I will miss his childish grin and his odd humor. I will forever remember him as the boy with his hands in his pockets, who sways when he walks, the boy who showed me that there are some really good men in this world.
I am thankful that I went with my gut and not my head. It has been a fun journey, rocky at some points, but fun. I will forever reflect fondly on this chapter I am titling “My 326 Life.”
Jordan, if you ever should read this, 1) I did tell you I had a blog 2) you do know that I am very sentimental… so this should not be surprising at all! But thank you, I really hope this is not a one-sided sentiment. Haha!