When I moved into my apartment, I never imagined I would still be here twenty years later. It was August 1996, and my roommate Stacey and I were excited to start out in our first ‘adult’ apartment. Together we shopped for housewares and established a place where we felt at home.
Stacey moved in and out for the next few years as she progressed through graduate school and the start of her career. When she moved into a place of her own, I first began to think about moving as well.
Life has a funny way of throwing curve balls into our plans. Over the next ten years each time I seriously thought about moving, something happened to prevent it. The end of a serious relationship, a car crash, an injury – many things kept me here.
One of the reasons I stayed was I simply couldn’t find anywhere better for the same cost or less. Affordable accessible housing is extremely difficult to find. Sure, I found many nice places. But as a single woman who must abide by income restrictions in order to be able to receive home care, I could not afford a fully accessible luxury apartment. The places I could afford were not any better in terms of accessibility, and did not solve a major problem – transportation.
Our local paratransit service, which provides transportation to disabled people unable to access the fixed bus route, only operates within .75 miles of a fixed bus route. My apartment is 2.2 miles off the bus route. When I was able to independently drive my van, this was not an issue. Now that I cannot independently drive my van, this is a barrier.
In order to maintain employment and independence, I have to move closer to the bus route. In order to save money for a new van, I must move to a place that is less expensive so I can hopefully save a bit of money for a downpayment on a new vehicle.
Today I am starting the move out of my apartment. Thankfully, my new place is not far away. I will be renting some rooms from a friend who lives down in town. My ZIP code will stay the same, I can keep the same phone number, I can still use my library card. Even more important, my new place is close enough to my current apartment so I do not need to hire a new crew of Personal Assistants.
For the past two months, I have been sorting through my possessions. While I still have some things to toss, my life (minus my bedroom furniture and my computer) is contained in these boxes and bags stacked in my living room.
It is amazing what you find when you start the packing process. Cards from my mother, photos from college and Australia, letters from friends and family, and old research papers have made me laugh and cry – sometimes simultaneously. A few items have been placed in a “keepsakes” box because I know I want to save them, but I don’t have time to go through things right now.
Some finds may well be antiques now. My old Walkman and Discman seem to be in good shape. My mini-cassette recorder, record cleaner and typewriter eraser brought great laughter. The PA who was assisting me had never seen a mini-cassette recorder and did not know what a typewriter eraser was. When did I become an adult with “outdated” possessions? How did that happen?
Thanks to dedicated friends and family, the majority of my possessions are now in my new place. We completed the move before the rain came. All that is left is to unpack and store everything. I did not supervise all the packing, so I imagine there will be some fun surprises.
Although, it will take something very neat to top the Walkman and mini-cassette recorder!