At the end of this month, I'll be saying goodbye to my first apartment. To say it's bittersweet is an understatement. I didn't imagine growing such an attachment to this place, and my current feelings have caught me by surprise. My plan was to live in LA at least a couple more years, but life has gotten a little strange lately, you know what I mean? Like many other millennials during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, I've made the decision to move back in with my parents for financial reasons. While I love my family and love my mom's cooking even more (kidding), I'm going to miss my apartment so much. Not only did it symbolize my independence, but it was also a space for me to really get to learn more about myself.
Apartment #7 will always hold a special place in my heart. While the space will no longer be mine, it's not a complete loss. My personal growth during my time there is something I'll always have.
I'm the eldest daughter in my family, and leaving home before marriage is not traditional in Latinx culture. My parents were very supportive, but moving out made me feel a little guilty. However, I was proud to be part of a generation of women who are normalizing this. I was lucky enough to attend a university five minutes away from my parents' home, and although it saved me a lot of money, I didn't get to experience living in the dorms. Aside from studying abroad, I had never moved out before. It had been over 20 years since I'd had my own room, so I was looking forward to the privacy as well. Moving out for the first time was both exciting and nerve-racking.
While moving out came with its set of challenges, it also created some of my favorite memories. I hosted a party for the first time, and my apartment became the spot to get ready before a night out with friends. I learned to cook my mom's recipes, and my plant family grew. I also had the opportunity to practice setting boundaries and advocating for myself. Yes, my apartment was old with a unique smell, but it was mine, and I'm going to miss it. Living in LA was a dream come true, and I know I'll be back one day. I'm learning that saying goodbye to a place is difficult not because of the place itself but because of the memories and feelings associated with it.
Moving back in with my parents feels like I'm doing things a little backward, as if my journey of adulthood has somehow been interrupted. Despite this, it's comforting knowing I'm not alone. There has been a recent increase of young adults moving back home due to the pandemic, but even before this, more and more women between the ages 18-34 were living with family or relatives. Moving back in means I'm able to save more money and also support my parents financially. It also gives me the privilege of being around loved ones as we face life-changing events.
Apartment #7 will always hold a special place in my heart, and saying goodbye is not easy. While the space will no longer be mine, it's not a complete loss. My personal growth during my time there is something I'll always have and continue to work on. And as the saying goes, "Home is where the heart is."