For when you mess up BIG time.
We all mess up, right? We leave something at home. We fail a test. We forget to pay the phone bill. But, what happens when we mess up BIG time?
As I reach my 23rd birthday in a couple weeks, I am not even close to having this 'adulting' thing down. What is it even? How do you do it? I've realized adulting can sometimes be just remembering to turn the lights off before you leave or remembering to buy toilet paper, they don't have to be these grand things. Another thing I realized on this journey of being a twenty-something, is that sometimes you mess up really, really badly. And no matter how terrible you feel about yourself, you have to move on and laugh about it.
Because of some temporary changes with my boyfriend, I am currently living with my friend in her apartment. With it being a small apartment and not wanting to be a burden, of course I began looking for my own place. I have never dealt with getting an apartment myself, but I thought it can't be that hard, right? You just pick one and move in. NOPE.
I had spend days looking at apartments and many were too expensive or were really, really old. I found one I really liked, but it was taken before I could even go and look at it. It felt hopeless. I knew right now was peak time for getting apartments as the semester is ending so, I felt I had to make a decision fast. I finally found one that seemed too good to be true. The room was so spacious, a nice big shower and a washing machine in its own separate room. There was a really nice kitchen with a nice oven and everything was nice and clean. The rent was good and I could rent it for a short time if needed.
I went to see the house with my friend that night and was greeted by the broker and the owner who was a a complete grandmother, I thought nothing of it at first, but something felt off. The broker showed me the room very quickly and all seemed like in the pictures. The owner then asked if I used the kitchen and in my head I thought, "Uhm...of course?" and I said yes and she proceeded to tell me that then I would need to pay 10 euros a month extra to use the kitchen. That made me a bit angry, but I shrugged it off. It's strange that as I am thinking about it now, that immediately screams NO, but in the moment, it did not seem to register. We went up to the kitchen and it also looked like the picture, but then I was told the oven can't be used because it does not work. What? Fantastic. Red flags screaming in my head yet? Nope. Kept going. Then, the owner kept pushing me and asking, "So, would you like the room?" and I felt like her eyes and the broker's eyes were burning into me and I just caved and said yes.
I then went with the broker to an ATM and took out the broker's fee and two months rent. Yes, taking that much money out of my account in one setting made me stomach swirl. "WHAT AM I DOING?" I thought. "Being an adult" I kept telling myself as I handed the money to the broker.
The next day my friend and her sister helped me move my stuff and sign the contract. We lugged all my stuff into the room and we all sat with the owner to sign the contract. This owner loooooooved to talk, as any typical grandmother would do, and side note, if you are wanting to have your own space and do your own thing, do not rent with a chatty old lady. She asked me so many questions about my family and what I do that it almost felt like an interrogation. We agreed that I would pay every two months rather than each month because it was better for her. I asked about storing my food and she said she would find space for me and again at that point, I questioned nothing. She also mentioned that upstairs another renter, a girl my age, was renting as well. She was supposedly quiet and modest, key word SUPPOSEDLY.
My friends leave and a part of me feels broken and alone. I did not feel good here, but I just kept trying to tell myself that this is being an adult, I did the right thing. I am just upset because this is a new situation. I take out all my food items and take them upstairs to put them in the fridge and she tells me to come with her and that she has another place. She brings me to this slightly chilly pantry where she gives me a tiny bit of space on a shelf to put ALL my food that needs to be refrigerated. One, this is not a fridge and two, how it THIS enough space to keep all my food? Must I starve or eat out everyday? She also told me that I can't make anything too elaborate in the kitchen, aren't I PAYING to use this kitchen and I can't do what I want? What?????????
At this point, my stomach is churning and I feel beyond uncomfortable. The tears came pouring out and I felt like I just go sucked into the worst living situation of my life. I felt unwanted and alone. The room was also in the basement and that too made it feel isolating. I realized at that point that I had made a mistake..a big expensive mistake. I could not live here. I had jumped to this place under pressure without asking enough questions and NOT reading the warning signs. I freaked out even more.
The next morning was the thing that ended the deal. In the morning, I ran into the other girl in the kitchen and she seemed to not want to talk so, I just let her be. I went downstairs and I heard the girl and the owner fighting. I figured they were fighting about rent or something, but as I listened closer, I realized the girl was arguing about ME. Yes, ME. I had been there for less than 24 hours and was as quiet as a mouse and this girl who I had not even met until this morning, was complaining about me? I went upstairs and asked and the owner said I did nothing wrong. I went back down with my heart racing, what did I do? I was already up all night crying with fear and now I felt even more unwanted.
The girl eventually came down and at the time I thought I misunderstood her, but later found out that I heard her correctly. She said something along the lines of that she likes to shower in the middle of the night around 2 AM or so, but last night I was asleep at that time so, she could not come in. Can you BELIEVE that? I realized two things then one, this bottom floor was not all mine like I thought and what was told to me and two THIS GIRL IS NOT MODEST AND QUIET. She acted like she owns the house? She had complained to the owner that she had given the room to someone because she can't come freely anymore to use the shower and wash. I was blown away and after telling my friend what happened she said "We are getting you out and back to my place."
The girl took the longest shower imaginable so I was not even able to use it like I wanted and just went to class full of emotions. I hated it. I hated it. What did I do? I spent so much money and I don't even know it I can get anything back. This is not just 5 euros or 10 euros, this was a huge sum of money ESPECIALLY for a student.
Luckily, in the evening, I went with my friends to the house and was brave enough to confront the owner myself, adulting points for that one, and I was able to get at least one month rent back. She did not make a fuss and apologized on behalf of the other girl.
I still lost the broker fee and one month's rent...still a large sum of money and not having a job, not having that money KILLS me and to know that it was all my fault. All of it. I was put in a bad situation, but that could have been avoided if I was more firm and read the red flags that were screaming at me the whole time.
I messed up BIG time. Really big. Probably one of the most expensive learning experiences I ever had.
Why am I writing this? Because we talk so much about little mistakes and mishaps, but what happens when we REALLY mess up? Surprisingly enough, the world does not cave in, even though it still feels like it will. I feel like shit about it all. I do. Adulting SUCKS. But, you know what? Regardless of how big the fall, I learned from this. I will never get walked on again. Never. I can't undo what I did so, what is the point of dwelling on it? That won't do me any good. I know I can't laugh about it now, but I know I will someday and goodness, that will be a GOOD laugh.
So, if you're like me, learning to 'adult' in this world OR if you're someone who just made a REALLY big mistake, too...then guess what? You are not alone and it is OKAY. I am right there with you, still figuring things out.
Go into a boys' bathroom? Check.
Burn a pot making popcorn twice? Check.
Go to the wrong apartment and knock on the door? Check.
Get pressured into a bad living situation and lose a lot of money? CHECK.
It's okay to be disappointed, yes, but LEARN from it and go on.
I've got this. You've got this.
Here's to adulting and messing up BIG time.