Notes To My Younger Self is helping spread the word about The Post College Survival Kit. We learned the hard way so you don’t have to! You don’t have to wait till your thirties for a better job, a cuter apartment, financial stability, better relationships + friendships.
Dear twenty-two year old me,
So you want to live in the big city? For so long you’ve waited to bust out of this boring country town, population 1900, to join the rankings of your friends among the Toronto city lights and busy streets. Finally, you’re on your way. Good income, cute boyfriend, and a new puppy… what more could you ask for?
Apartment hunting is not always what it’s cracked up to be. You probably won’t be able to find a decent sized place in the part of town that you want to live in without squishing in five roommates and setting up bunk beds. Not like you want any roommates anyways, do you? What you want is a charming old building with lots of space, all to yourself… but obviously right around the corner from your boyfriend because you are so in love and will never break up, ever. (…) Living alone is going to be so fun and you’re going to feel so grown up, aren’t you!? And you’ll get all of that, because you are persistent and won’t settle for anything less than what you imagine.
Once you find a place, you’ll suck up the outrageous monthly rental costs like a pro because even though you know in your right mind that it isn’t hardly worth it, the thought of having a place all to yourself makes it so. Oh, and don’t mind your landlord. He will only speak Russian and will never be around when you need him. If your toilet starts spewing out water on a Saturday night, he probably won’t be home to help, so be sure to stock up on buckets.
You’ll also get some totally amazing upstairs neighbors who share a bedroom directly above your own. Soon you’ll realize the charm of older buildings with thin walls. You might want to keep a broomstick handy to interrupt those daily 4am squeaky mattress headboard-clanging sessions. I’m sure they are just moving furniture. Luckily, you’ll decide you’ve had enough and tape an embarrassing note to their door asking them to (please) respect their neighbors… and it will magically stop. Never underestimate the power of an embarrassing note.
Did I mention that you will be living in Toronto? So fun! You’ll get to start the day bright and early with a complimentary construction wake up call. Every day, forever. You might start to wonder why you didn’t consider these things before you had the bright idea to pack up your country life.
The biggest change will be that you’ll have to do everything on your own. You won’t realize exactly what this means at first, but eventually, over time, you’ll get the hang of it. That first week on your own will be eye opening. You’ll realize that you’ve just packed up your entire life and moved away from your family. There won’t be any going back now because the deal is done. That Taylor Swift song you’ll hear years later will all make perfect sense.
Things don’t always turn out how you planned, do they? Like that boyfriend you thought would be around much longer, and your friends living nowhere near your ‘shabby chic’ apartment.
Eventually, you’ll decide that paying this ridiculous rent is just… ridiculous. You realize that you’d much rather just be paying into a mortgage than throwing your hard earned money away to some property management company with a shitty landlord. You probably should have done this from the start. So you’ll find a realtor, learn new grown up lingo like “APR” and “variable-rate”, find a new condo in a totally different part of town, and start all over. Again.
Life in your early 20’s might not be what you expect, but without these experiences you will not grow as a person and your future will not emerge as it’s supposed to. Mistakes and bad decisions are sure to be made but should not be frowned upon because they are merely stepping stones to a more fulfilling life. Enjoy your time, learn as much as you can about life, and don’t regret anything.