I signed a lease for a new apartment last night.
It's a nice little Lincoln Park chateau (if you can call it that)-- the cozy top floor of a two-flat just a mile down the road from where I live now. With plenty of comfy living space (check), decent-sized kitchen WITH dining space (double check), and backyard primed for summer grilling (bonus!), it's an understatement to say that my future roommate (my college friend, Laurel) and I are VERY excited. In the end, our whirlwind apartment search turned out for the best. And as I strolled down my new street after signing my lease, it all got me to thinking... just how much real estate reflects the rest of life.
I mean, it's simple when you think about it. Life is made up of a series of decisions. The decisions get bigger as you get older, but the decision-making process remains quite the same. Usually, you've got a number of options to choose from, and more than likely you won't be able to get exactly what you want, so you have to compromise. You have to bargain with others (and with yourself) and weigh out all of your options before making your final choice.
So, take apartment hunting. With so much real estate to choose from (especially in a city as big as Chicago), the option-weighing and decision-making processes become compressed in time: once you start looking, it's a race to find a place that meets your needs and grab it before someone else does.
And the same kind of process goes for colleges, jobs, and even boyfriends and girlfriends-- they're all pieces of real estate too. With schools, employers, and people, there are always options, always tough decisions to be made, like... do I rent or do I buy? So I go with my safety school, or my reach school? If my job isn't what I thought it would be, do I wait it out or do I get out? Is this a person I could see myself being with? Do I want something for the short term, or do I want to commit to an investment for the long term? Do I settle for what I've got now or do I look for something better?
And then... even when you've made a committment to a person, place, or job, you may begin to doubt yourself-- you may start thinking about other apartments, or people, or jobs that you passed up... or worse, you may start thinking about aparements you've never seen or people you haven't met yet -- you might get hung up on "what (or who) else is out there".
It's certainly a lot to think about. But the conclusion I came to last night is that the best thing anyone can do is try to live in the present moment and make the most of the real estate you've got, right now. And in the end, that's exactly what I decided to do.
By the time I came to this point, I had walked from my new apartment to the gym... run four miles on the treadmill, and walked another half mile. All this thinking (and perhaps the running) were making me HUNGRY. And not just hungry for anything. Hungry for SHRIMP.
So, on the way home from the gym, I veered left into Whole Foods and bought some raw shrimp. And this is what I did to them when I got home:
First I sauteed them in a healthy amount of olive oil, 1 tbsp butter, a few minced garlic cloves, salt, pepper, and a few shakes of red pepper flakes. (I tried to use enough olive oil that I could toss spagetti in the shrimp pan and have it be coated.)
At the same time, I boiled up some spagetti. When it was done, I tossed the spagetti into this pan with the cooked shrimp, then I served it up and garnished with a little sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
Probably will use less olive oil next time, but oh boy the dish tasted GREAT! Needless to say, at the end of the day yesterday, I was very proud of myself.