The desk of my home office, where I do all my writing, faces a window. I love the natural light pouring in. It’s my own little beautiful world, whether it’s sunbeams streaming in or rain gently spattering the window (or, because I’m in Florida, at times drumming into it with impressive force). I’ve got a comfy faux-leather executive chair and a beer fridge next to me (hey, sometimes it’s necessary.) There’s just one problem. The window overlooks a parking lot.
When my partner and I decided to move to Orlando, it was on very short notice. I’d been offered a job that was too good to pass up, and they wanted me to start soon. We had to uproot our entire life. For me, this was particularly devastating. I had to leave my circus school where I taught aerial silks, my father who lived in the same city as I, and our beautiful house with its cheap rent. I also had to compete for housing in a quickly-growing metropolitan area where rent was three times as high, while coordinating all the moving logistics. I was on the phone or the Internet constantly. I consulted with a realtor friend who told me that I might not find a place to live in time.
When we finally found an apartment complex that had available units that didn’t suck, we jumped on the chance. At the time, moving costs were piling up from the U-Haul and movers and all the miscellaneous expenses, and I, as a poor writer, didn’t have much to spare. Many places we’d looked at required enormous security deposits and hefty application fees. Our charming new home was much more affordable and had great amenities. And there were two units left, one with a lake view for only $20 more rent per month.
And like idiots, we passed it up. At the time, I think it seemed frivolous to us, as well as illustrative of the whole problem with housing — that everything that could drive up the price does so. Had the other unit already been taken, we would have been forced to take the more expensive unit for the sole reason that it faced a different cardinal direction.
But we had a choice for greater pleasure in our lives. We had a choice to splurge on ourselves, and we didn’t take it. In the end, our move cost us over a grand, and an extra $240 a year doesn’t seem like much after all. Life’s simple pleasures are worth more than that. I, as a frugal person, recently wrote about how financial advice columns are stupid for advising us to simply give up our lattes in order to be rich. While the problem is more systemic than personal, I still give up my lattes. And perhaps that’s a mistake.
Life is short — and hard. The world is going down the toilet. We’re all having an existential crisis. Why on Earth did I deny myself a lakeview writing desk?
Rachel Wayne is a writer and artist based in Orlando, FL. She earned her master’s in visual anthropology from the University of Florida and runs the production company DreamQuilt. She is an avid aerial dancer and performance artist, and also dabbles in mixed-media. She writes nonfiction stories about herself and other awesome people, as well as essays on feminism, societal violence, mental health, politics, entrepreneurship, and whatever cultural topic strikes her fancy.
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