It’s been six months since moving from a small lake town to a more urban area in an apartment in Grand Rapids. We’re about halfway through our year-long visit and we’ve been learning a lot about ourselves, each other, and what we like and don’t like about living in the city.
Urban life: Likes
Everything I need is within walking distance. Whether it’s groceries, going to the farmer’s market, walking Tiger in the park, the coffee shop to plug in and work, our favorite brewery, or getting my yoga in – it’s all right here and open during realistic hours (vs. everything closing at 7pm on the lakeshore or closed for the winter). It’s a homebody’s haven because you don’t really have to go anywhere.
Meeting up with friends more often has been easier because it doesn’t take planning a week ahead and the longer commute to make it happen. I feel way more connected and like I’ve found my tribe of freelancers and creatives to hang out with. It’s energizing and uplifting to say the least!
I like knowing I only have 3 bowls to store leftovers – small, medium, large. We’ve removed or replaced a lot of plastic items and because we have fewer items there isn’t a bunch of mismatched tops to bowls taking up space (big pet peeve of mine, haha). I like the “one of everything” rule that the size of our apartment keeps us to.
Urban life: Dislikes
I thought I could do it, you guys. I thought I could live a minimal lifestyle with small footprint. While I like being intentional by room, like the kitchen, I’m not enjoying it from a home standpoint. My studio has gone from a spare bedroom to the leftover cabinet in the kitchen. I also like decorating seasonally and it’s limiting to do in a space where I fear putting a nail in the wall. I prefer OPEN SPACE, and so does Joel and Tiger. 🙂
No house projects
It’s been good for my design business that I dedicate more time to work but it’s limiting Joel and I with house projects we like to do. We enjoy dreaming about the next project to build, make, and fix. I grew up in old houses with little quirks and personalities and Joel comes from a long lineage of builders. It’s in our blood to create resourcefully but this place is already done (not that we don’t think it’s beautiful, because it is). I don’t know how many times we’ve looked at each other on a weekend, sitting on the couch, and asked, “now what?”
The noise outside makes it so that the windows are closed. And the windows being closed creates stagnant air. I hear sirens multiple times a day and every time I say a prayer for the people they’re rushing to. I’m praying a lot. And I don’t think the tenants above us are aware we can hear their every move. Especially at midnight. While I’m happy they lead a healthy sex life, I’m not happy for me who is trying to fall asleep.
What’s next for us?
We’re still not sure. We’ve reflected on a few options but are really just doing our best to keep the faith that “what’s next” will present itself when the time is right (and praying time will be right before our lease is up). Otherwise we may be forced into a different direction. Equally encouraging, I suppose.
Until then, we’re hopping around to our favorite breweries like Harmony Brewing and Brewery Vivant, discovering hiking trails north of town, and balancing this season of work with things like yoga, disc golfing, and walking Tiger so he doesn’t give us a ‘tude. 🙂
Now I want to hear about you…what do you like and dislike about the place you live?