The (first) First Apartment
Yesterday, we opened the door to my oldest son’s first apartment.
I remember my first apartment. I was a junior at Hampton University, it was 2001. My bestie, Melisha, and I had rented a two-bedroom/two-bath townhouse not far from campus. We were good kids, from wholesome (smothering) families, and both hours away from home. We did well in school. We were biology majors, although, she was definitely more focused than I (she went on to become a doctor). We had cars, some sort of income, and (thinking back) we were obviously very responsible. Nothing went wrong. *Me thinking harder* Nope, nothing went terribly wrong. And, we’re still mom friends (never having time to talk) to this day.
Looking back, it was a dope experience. It was a natural progression to freedom and walking into my own apartment, I felt like I had “made it”. I could go, I could stay, or I could run away, but I was 19 and in control of my destiny. Literally. Although I had real bills to pay, which tied me to some sort of job, I still remember it feeling like 100% independence. During that first year, I became great with time and money management, balancing school and little jobs here and there. I prioritized. I learned that when you hustle, things will usually fall into place. Throughout the struggle, I made the most genuine friendships and connections, because I really had nothing to give and everything to lose. That experience, alone, matured me in ways that a campus dorm (or my mother’s security) could never have.
The one thing I don’t remember though… is having a co-signer *insert my most perplexing look*. As I usher my sophomore child into his endless possibilities, I’m wondering why I am co-signing my credit away…?? I mean, this isn’t my “fake it till you make it” story (been there, done that). How did we actually GET that apartment in Virginia, 20 years ago? Credit check? Co-signer?? Surely, times have changed. All markets have risen and crashed, and the stakes are high for even a sure thing now-a-days. But what hasn’t changed is the natural progression into adulthood: responsibility earns freedom, which evolves into independence.
My husband doesn’t completely understand this whole notion of “winging it”. He would really prefer a better life plan (aka a rent-paying plan) from our son. But me, I am smiling ear to ear. Like the concept of “faith” is hard to explain, so is the understanding that… LIFE actually happens when you don’t have a solid plan. When you’re broke, you get crafty, and you begin to look at the world through different lenses. My best stories still start with “Remember when we didn’t know what we were going to do about…” then BAM, life happened.
Yesterday was bitter sweet. I am in disbelief in how fast the years have passed. As we opened the door to my oldest son’s first apartment, I sat (well, stood – no furniture yet) with my thoughts. I just opened the door to his future, to good times, to the struggle, and hopefully, to the hustle. This is where you will laugh freely and cry, privately. You will quickly learn to make your OWN decisions, because those are the only ones you want to suffer the consequences of. You will pass and you will fail, right within these walls. These are the best days of your life!