One month ago, I began moving into my new apartment here on the border between Washington, DC and Silver Spring, MD. So far, it’s a great place! There are occasionally some tiny bugs that sneak in because I’m now at ground level, but otherwise I’ve no complaints.
I’d lived at my previous apartment, pretty far north of DC, for four years. In many ways, it was superior to this one: thirteen foot high ceilings or higher, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a fireplace, a balcony, and the luxury of being on the top floor of the three story garden-style building (so I didn’t have to hear anyone above me). My new place has much nicer appliances, cabinets, and countertops but on paper it certainly doesn’t seem like it should cost me exactly the same rent as my old one.
Of course, the three reasons for the higher rent and fewer amenities are location, location, location. Before, I was very North of the DC beltway and a pretty far drive to any metro station. Now, I’m well within the beltway on the border of the District, as I mentioned, and within about a five minute walk to the Silver Spring metro station. So, one might conclude that my move was motivated by the desire to get closer in to the city.
That was certainly a part of it, but I doubt I’d have gone through the hassle of moving and getting rid of tons of stuff just for that. The biggest reason I wanted to move was that I was tired of living with ghosts.
Now, none of these ghosts were of dead people, to begin with. There is no doubt that they are not dead. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing poignant can come of the story I am going to relate. I beg your pardon, Mr. Dickens.
No, the ghosts I fled were of my last three relationships. Before I go any further, I’ll hurry to clarify that I wholeheartedly loved all three of those girlfriends, I don’t regret my time dating them, and I try very hard to stay on good terms with them today. If anything, the wonderful memories I have of those significant women in my life is what was causing my problems.
You see, I believe in really sharing my life with whomever I date as much as I can. I don’t mean in an obsessive, codependent sort of way; I mean I don’t try to keep any part of my life separate and compartmentalized away from them. Thus, every routine activity I found myself doing in my single life after those relationships ended, I found would be tinged with the lingering memories of sharing those activities with a girlfriend.
It started to feel like my very large apartment didn’t have enough space for all of us: me, my previous girlfriend and me, my girlfriend before her and me, and my girlfriend before both of them and me.
I suppose I could have cleared the air by bringing other people into my apartment to visit me or by varying up or avoiding my regular destinations. I did try a bit of that, just to make things better. But it didn’t feel like enough.
When I realized my lease was nearing its yearly renewal date, I carefully considered my finances and my options and realized that if I did move in towards DC proper, I could kill two birds with one stone. I would be closer to most of my friends and favorite activities and I could leave the ghosts of lovely experiences past behind me.
I like to think that if I hadn’t had the money or the opportunity to move, I would have gotten myself out of the mental funk of feeling crowded in an empty apartment by eventual force of will. But this was probably quicker.
I walk around my new neighborhood now and I still remember the good times I had over those last four years, but the ghosts haven’t followed me here. I can remember them comfortably from a distance. I think we’re all better off this way.
But I’ll let you know if they come back to haunt me around Christmas.