This may come across as an odd thing to write, but the pandemic positively changed my life. Back in September 2020, when we were in lockdown, I sat on the edge of my bed and asked myself, “What is it you want?”
I knew what I didn’t want, which amounted to working long hours writing health-related and other content that wasn’t well-compensated and struggling to make ends meet. I earned barely enough to make the rent and feed the dogs and myself. I didn’t go anywhere but to our local coop and back because I couldn’t afford a car. To top it off, the apartment I rented in a two-family house was less than ideal in a neighborhood next to one of the worst areas in town.
That evening, frustrated after dealing with the bathroom’s rotting floor and leaning toilet issues, along with the excuse my landlady provided that she couldn’t find a contractor to replace the toilet and floor, I knew that I couldn’t live this way any longer. I vowed to myself and the universe that I’d make serious changes to improve my quality of life, including a career change that would allow me to earn an income where I could afford the lifestyle I wanted. I knew it would take some time to achieve, but I was ready to make that change.
So what does this have to do with sharing housing? It has to do with that question I asked myself: “What is it you want?” It’s just as relevant to anyone looking for a shared housing environment.
Know Your Must-Haves
If you go through the many articles we have in our archives, such as this one, you’ll find dozens that focus on the must-haves when considering shared housing, and I believe this also holds true for those of us who choose other living arrangements.
I’m not ready for shared housing at this moment in my life. But I knew that wherever I landed, my must-haves included living in a larger city in a neighborhood where I felt safe, a dog-friendly building that had amenities like a dishwasher, washer and dryer, a roomier bathroom with tile floors with a bathtub (and no toilet that could potentially go through the floor); a space flooded with natural light, a balcony where I could have plants, and biggie a $2,000 or less monthly rent.
Two Years Later…
This past September, the promise I made to myself finally materialized. Since early summer, I started working as a contractor with the potential to become a full-time employee. My position allowed me to use many of my skills and learn new ones. By later September, I was offered a full-time job, and come December, I am moving to Northern Virginia to a dog-friendly apartment complex under $2,000 that has all the amenities I wanted.
So what’s the moral to this story? We often hear how difficult it is to find housing, including shared housing, but knowing what you want is the key to finding it. Once you’ve determined what you can’t live with and what you absolutely must have, you’ll find the ideal situation that suits you. Be dogged, don’t lose sight of what you want, and don’t fall into a trap of making compromises when it come to the quality of your life.
A Final Word or Two…
After almost five years of sharing stories of my own shared housing experiences, it’s time for me to close the Vermont chapter and start a new adventure. I hope what I shared was informative and offered valuable insights. And remember when you have questions about shared housing, all the information you need is all right here on this website.
We have an extensive archive of posts, including this one that you might find interesting: Expectations for future home sharing