This apartment held my dreams.
I idolized that poorly painted walls and the chips in the finish of the wood furniture. I didn't mind the dusty floors or the stained cabinet near the kitchen sink. It was everything I had always wanted because it was mine to live in.
That was my sophomore year. The year prior was spent crying almost every single night I spent in my room with the feeling of discomfort and anxiety.
For the majority of my freshman year after moving over an unfortunate situation with my first roommate, I had shared a college dorm room was a girl that kept me up at night and made me feel like a pariah during the day. She snored like a bear and maybe showered once a week, despite the sweltering Florida heat.
The room always smelled, was always loud, and always felt like it wasn't my home.
It was probably the worst year of my life for many reasons yet I always made the best of it. I enjoyed what freshman year had to offer, especially the newness of it all. Instead of struggling it out in the room I hated, most nights I slept in my best friend's bed with her at her apartment. She was graceful, knew my misery, and took me in without question, and for that, I will always be grateful for her.
Her apartment turned into the one I lived in permanently the following year when her roommate moved out and I moved in. It felt like my safe haven still from the year prior and I thrived on its energy.
Two years later and that feeling of bliss has subsided. I now walk in and feel a constant reminder of what once was and what could have been. Instead of the youthful memories of figuring out life, I'm left with the painful reminders of failure and disappointment.
I don't blame anyone – it's just life. But instead of staying in the place I've realized is not the best for me despite the re-signed lease for the upcoming year, I'm taking my happiness into my own hands.
I've slowly realized that moving is scary when you're alone. There's no one to help guide you in the right direction or even with the trivial tasks like packing. It's an isolating circumstance that feels like a million burdens all for your to carry.
You learn a lot about yourself through the stress and struggles of breaking a lease and finding a new one to sign.
When I moved to college my freshman year, my parents did most of the work – I just picked out what color bedding I wanted and whether I wanted a gold desk lamp or a black one. I chose gold.
Life seemed easy when it felt like you weren't carrying the weight of all your decisions. Both sadly and joyously, that time has passed and I've both moved on and grown up.
I'm paying for basically everything that comes with this move, and in a lot of ways, I'm proud of myself. I knew I wanted something badly enough and decided to work as hard as I could to get it. I'm still in the middle of the process and the stress that comes with it, but I'm pushing forward with the constant reminders that this is what is best for me.
It's easy to continue in life without reanalyzing where you are and what makes you happy. For too long, I didn't think about my happiness. Rather, I only focused on school work and what my internship would need of me. I took a look in the mirror one day and knew that I needed more for myself and my sanity.
So here I am, taking that first step. Moving is forcing me to continuously analyze my decisions and what I truly want, not just in the moment but also in life. The next step? I'm not sure yet. Likely, it will be to branch out and do more things that make me happy. I want to focus on building new relationships instead of trying to salvage past ones. I want to make more memories in my final year in Orlando and finish discovering what truly makes the city remarkable. It has certainly taught me a lot of lessons and I know there are many more to come.