It’s strange how people always wish for things they don’t have in their lives, be it more money, better stuff, more stuff, a different partner, a nicer pet, the list goes on. I’m just as guilty of it as everyone else; I’m constantly thinking about how my life would magically be perfect if I just had a gas stove instead of what we have, if Ben put his clothes away instead of leaving them in baskets, if we had less stuff, or a cat that didn’t meow so goddamn much. It’s part of human nature. I think it would be more strange if you didn’t think this way, to be honest. I have taken to looking at pictures of other people’s houses and trying to work out what I want to do to my future house that I own in some degree, and there are definitely some common elements that I keep coming back to.
Lately I’ve been thinking about if I lived somewhere else. Not for any reason in particular, my housemates are both awesome and our house is in a pretty convenient position in terms of where we are in the city and in relation to public transport and shopping, but we all know we’re not going to be living together in this house forever so it’s not really that unreasonable to think about these things. I think sometimes I just get a little stir crazy from being in the same house for a certain amount of time when I can’t really do anything to it. We’ve been living here for a little over a year, and I think it’s the longest I’ve been in the same place (apart from when I lived with my family), so the itch for a change is getting stronger. Plus it’s fun coming up with what I want in my dream home, even though realistically I’ll probably never get my dream home. If we could afford a house like the one we’re in now I’d be pushing to buy it, because this place would be really nice with a few tweaks. I can’t do anything about the screaming neighbours, but decor-wise it could be lovely.
Recently though I’ve been wondering what it would be like if I lived by myself. You see, I’ve never lived alone before; I went from living with my family to on-campus accommodation at uni with five other people in my ‘house’, to back home, to living with Ben in Sydney, then to now with housemates again. Moving in with Ben was supposed to be temporary until I could save up to move into a place of my own, but then it seemed more logical to stick together because the rental market around here is ridiculous and it seemed a bit silly to have to go buy stuff for my own place and then get rid of it later when we inevitably moved in together because of aforementioned rental market. Sometimes we both wonder if we moved in together too quickly, but it’s a bit too late to try living apart now just to see if I like it.
However, if I could afford to live by myself I wonder how it would be. In my mind I would have a sunny attic apartment with big windows that I could just happily spend time in reading or crafting or just being alone; sometimes the world gets too much for a person and you need some time to just be quiet, y’know? I would have a wall full of bookshelves and a big overstuffed leather armchair to snuggle up in. Another wall would be filled with frames of photos and colourful art. There would be a big overstuffed leather armchair where I could curl up under a blanket (that I probably made) and read of an evening. It would be tiny because that’s all I need, with a view of a tree-lined street. I have imagined this impossible apartment for years, since I was old enough to think about leaving home. I’m almost completely certain an apartment like that doesn’t exist in Sydney, and if it does it would be ridiculously expensive.
Also I probably wouldn’t deal well living by myself. While I like being by myself most of the time I am also prone to bouts of melancholy, and without someone to distract me I would probably just end up being miserable for no reason alone in this apartment. More realistically I would just spend all my time on the computer talking to people online (much like I do now), but not eat properly because I am too lazy to think about meals or cook them. It’s not a particularly realistic dream in a number of ways, so I try not to think about it very often, and it reminds me of a time when I was pretty naive and desperate to escape my life at the time. Maybe one day Ben and I will buy a house together that has an attic that I can make into that space. Maybe then the yearning for that daydream that tugs at my insides on occasion would go away.
I just have grand visions of exposed brick and wooden floorboards and a little bedroom with bright sheets on the bed and vases with flowers on the windowsill. In my head it is perfectly clean and tidy instead of full of the predictably messy reality. My kitchen would have mismatched but still matching crockery, bright mugs hanging from hooks on a shelf and open shelves to make the place look bigger than it actually was. I’d have a little table in the kitchen where Ben and I would eat breakfast together on the weekends, drinking coffee and eating pastries while talking about what we wanted to do that day. It’s so ridiculously, unrealistically, perfect but I can’t seem to let go of it. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to move on from this idyllic image in my head.
When I think about what we will have to do to save up enough to try and buy our own place and what we will most likely be able to afford it makes me sad. I mean, I’ll be living with the person (and cat) I love, in the city where I feel most comfortable in out of all the places I’ve lived, but it’s not going to be what I imagined. At the moment I would be happy with a place where I can paint the walls and hang frames wherever I want, but there will always be this lingering feeling about how it’s not what I dreamed of. And I wonder if I will ever be happy with a home that isn’t my fantasy place.