On Loving—and Leaving—My Apartment: A February Letter from the Editor

published Feb 1, 2021
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Credit: Bijou Karman

For the last two years, I’ve written my February editor letter about how much I love my home — it only felt natural in a month with a big romantic holiday right in the middle. “The 10-plus year relationship I have with my one-bedroom apartment has been one of the most rewarding in my life,” I wrote last year. “I love it like it’s a person—sure, its little quirks can be irritating, but overall it’s something really special and the only thing I want to see at the end of a long day.”

If only I knew then that I was a few weeks away from spending the better part of the next year quarantined inside my home. Forget seeing this place at the end of a long day — and try seeing it all day, every day.

A friend said the other day on a Zoom call that if you and your significant other can make it through quarantine in a small space, you can make it through anything. That really resonated: I have never resented sharing these 700 square feet with my husband — we’ve created new rhythms to make things work, and even managed to create a lot of fun and joy these past 11 months at home. But I think the observation goes for our homes, too: If we can spend nearly a year in lockdown and still feel in love with our homes, that says something too.

Since I found out I was pregnant in June, I knew that time was ticking on our time here. And in some ways this whole experience has helped me appreciate this place more than ever before, all while knowing I won’t be here forever. This apartment kept me safe during COVID, and I’ve tried to take care of it in return — from scrubbing the grout clean to decluttering neglected spots. As I get ready to say goodbye, I realize how much this space has seen me through: moving in with my husband, riding out a pandemic, welcoming our daughter in a few short weeks, and so much more. 

I love this place so much, I’ve had a recurring nightmare for years where I’m forced to move or accidentally move. I thought this was bizarre until I read Nora Ephron’s 2006 New Yorker essay  about her Upper West Side apartment, and realized she experienced the same. “I dreamed I had accidentally moved out of the building, realized it was the worst mistake of my life, and couldn’t get my lease back,” she wrote. “I have had enough psychoanalysis to know not to take such dreams literally, but it’s nonetheless amazing to me that, when my unconscious mind searched for a symbol of what I would most hate to lose, it came up with my apartment.” Same!

I’ll be moving this spring, and while I’m heartbroken to leave this place behind, I’m also starting to get excited for what’s to come: new rooms to make my own, a new home to fall in love with, new neighbors to befriend, and a new nursery for my daughter. That’s pretty darn lucky, especially right now. And perhaps I won’t have the same infatuation I did with my first “grown up” place, but I can learn to love it all the same. As Ephron wrote: “What failure of imagination had caused me to forget that life was full of possibilities, including the possibility that eventually I would fall in love again? On the other hand, I am never going to dream about this new apartment of mine.”

This monthly letter is likely my last one until I head out for a few months on parental leave (I’ll still be writing my weekly newsletters until I’m gone — you can sign up here). The team will keep you posted on what’s going on around the site, and I can’t wait to share my new stories about my new apartment. In the meantime, I’d love to hear what you’re loving about your homes this year in the comments.

And as for the site, we’ll be talking about Black History Month all throughout February. We’ll have stories about how to commemorate the month from home, a view into how Black activists are keeping up their work from home, a peek at preserving historic Black homes, and lots more.

We’ll also be talking about love and sex as we approach Valentine’s Day. We’ll have stories about how people who live in small spaces with their families manage to find intimacy, all of the questions about sex and cleaning you didn’t know how to ask, plus an exploration of why buying a house is kind of like dating, just to name a few.

I’m wishing you all a warm and safe month — I’ll talk to you in the spring.


Credit: Joe Lingeman / Apartment Therapy

Our letter from the editor series appears the first Monday of every month.
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