Before the New Year dawned, I vowed I would move out by my 28th birthday. On April 27th with three days to spare, I got the keys. How’s that for manifestation?
I thought I would start looking in April but the universe intervened when I got into a car accident early Feb, totalling my wheels. But there was a silver lining, or several.
Not only did the accident renew my hope and faith in people (the EMS workers, police officer and doctor who stitched up my forehead were so awesome), but I also made some money from the insurance. And I no longer had to make the conscious decision to get rid of my car.
The very next day, an oblivious coworker asked if I would sublet her gorgeous one bedroom apartment, in a ritzy area of Toronto for just 50% of her rental fee. For once I didn’t have to think before leaping, it was an immediate HELL YES.
Why Subletting in Toronto worked for me
- I got to test out independent living with training wheels, no strings attached or investments required.
- It gave me a quiet, peaceful and inspiring refuge to focus on my UCLA online writing course.
- It helped me identify what I really needed in a space and neighbourhood
- It tested my relationship with uncertainty, as the end date was not predetermined.
The only downside was it skewed my perception of what my dollar could get me!
How to Navigate a Home Rental Search
I knew I loved swanky attic living but it was out of reach. I consciously gave myself two weeks to find a new space, so I wouldn’t ruminate in analysis paralysis. If you are prone to procrastination, paint yourself in a corner.
I ended up making a long wish list and assigned ratings to each coveted trait in order to rank the properties (much like university business casing); highest score wins! This helped narrow down which properties I eventually went to see.
I also identified the kinds of feeling I wanted the space to awaken and foster within me, based on Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map. After delivering an unforgettable connection in Dominican, I knew the book would come through again. Definitely worth a read if you like self reflection and feelings.
Both steps were necessary to marry left and right brain, gut and rationale. After comparing Toronto’s rental market to online dating, I chose to sacrifice square footage in order to hit my $1,200 budget (plus hydro, insurance, cable + internet).
Don’t be afraid to negotiate! I knocked off $200 in rent due to our mutually desperate situations. Also my landlord is a writer, which is quite synchronistic, don’t you think?
On High Park Living and the After Glow
I ended up in Toronto’s High Park neighborhood, which was not on my radar. I learned that you could take the girl out of the suburbs but not the suburbs out of the girl. Being surrounded by gridlock and skyscrapers gave me anxiety; I needed to be close to nature but close to work and this area had me covered.I’m glad I didn’t take on a room mate just yet – my INTJ spirit loves living alone!
While the unit came furnished, it’s been fun personalizing with textiles and art. I even created a vision board based on my core desired feelings, that stressed me the f*ck out to complete, caused a fight with my mom and I don’t even really look at it now. So you know, it was worth it.
But I will say this: I no longer feel ashamed for living at home as long as I did from a pure economics perspective. I’m not sure how long I’ll stay in this space, if, when and where I’ll buy (maybe not Toronto) and if I’ll ever return to my parents home. Sometimes its best to relax into the now.
Also, look mom, no hands!