Room to Breathe

So since my last post I went on a truly incredible vacation, I fell off the good health bandwagon, I endured a lot of frustration at work, I moved into a new house, I got some great news, and I recommitted to my diet and exercise routine (and just now I recommitted to blogging!). But today I’m writing about atmosphere.

When we moved into our apartment two years ago, I was still jobless and had no idea when or if I would have any income. It was the cheapest place I could find that would fit our family. It had a bedroom, a loft-style room, a living room, a kitchen, and a bathroom. It had carpet everywhere but the kitchen and bathroom. BAD carpet. I came to find out it was susceptible to disgusting mold, and bugs, and creepy neighbors, and general awfulness. But at the end of the first least we could not afford to move and had to stick around another year. By last month I felt like I was not going to survive this place. I dreaded going home (and I dreaded being at work), so life was pretty miserable. I would try to just curl up on the couch or in bed and pretend the rest of the place did not exist. This led to a bad, self-perpetuating cycle of the apartment getting grosser and grosser and me getting more and more stressed out about it. Cash felt the same way, so as much as I found it difficult to take pride in my home he found it difficult to help me do so. It was a bad situation. And let me tell you, it was number one on the list of things that had to change before we have a baby. I would never put an infant in that environment.

All that complaining, and I am deeply cognizant of the fact that millions of people in this world live in vastly less palatable circumstances. I don’t think that people who were born and raised in the middle class–people like me–understand the significant impact of the intangible experience of poverty on human life. Of course I can in no way be said to have lived in “poverty” because of my bad apartment. But I felt like it was a taste of how exhausting and fruitless the simplest actions can feel, when you cannot afford comfort at home. It makes cooking harder, which leads to unhealthy and expensive restaurant food, which leads to reduced savings and inability to invest in your future. It makes cleaning harder, which leads to poor health, more frequent medical visits and bills, and again, reduced savings and inability to invest in your future. It makes staying organized harder, which leads to difficulty keeping important documents together and can also lead to missed payments, missed opportunities, etc. You probably get my point by now.

I am especially aware of the atmosphere factor the last few weeks because we moved into our first single-family residence at the end of April. Wood floors (a priority for me because all four of my pets are shedders), fenced backyard (again important for the pets), enough room to appropriately organize (not just “stash” and “hide”) my things, a clothesline, a shady neighborhood off the main streets! It’s an old place and it has its little faults, but I love it. It feels like home, a feeling I haven’t had in a long time. My time at home is restful, not stressful. I am proud of it and I enjoy doing all the little things that keep it nice…all the little things I could not bear to do in the apartment.

We are so lucky we found this place, and that we are in a position to afford it. I know that millions of people could not dream of what we have: just a little room to breathe.

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