I was homeless once

Life Lessons

Well, kinda. Last August, I was set to move back to Connecticut when I was offered a job. Without an apartment, or any money to sublet one, my best friend & her roommates let me crash on her floor for about two months until I figured out the apartment situation. This was my home:

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We DIYed the shit out of it. On top of living behind a (kinda) curtain (which was duct taped to a rod and fell down constantly), my air mattress had a hole in it for the first month, which resulted in me waking up twice a night flat on the floor until my mom finally convinced me to let her buy me a new one. I didn’t have air conditioning either so I was often found spending hours in Starbucks cooling down. I know everyone says their life should be a sitcom… but I mean… come on

I only paid utilities and the entire time I felt like I was completely taking advantage of my friends. I was thrilled to move out so I could stop feeling so guilty. Want to know what my friends said the night after I moved out? That they missed having me around. Seriously? 

Good friends are priceless. If I didn’t have such great people in my life, I wouldn’t have been able to accept the job. I had no money, nowhere to live and no family around Chicago to let me crash. Without hesitation, my friends gave up their dining room to help me stay afloat. Friends of mine have become family out here – they invite me over for holidays when I can’t make it home, take me to their parent’s house in the burbs to relax for the weekend and are there for me when I’m sick or upset. Seriously – how lucky am I to have these people? Moreover, how much of this luck was my own conscious decision?

Look around you – who are you associating with? Who are you making a conscious effort to impress? What motivates your friendship? So much of your quality of life is directly affected by the people you surround yourself with. While we can’t choose all of these people (family, coworkers, landlords…), we are able to hand pick friends. So why do you choose to settle for someone who brings negative energy into the world?

It’s tough to weed out the toxic friends… but you’ll find that your life is so much better without them. You don’t have to abandon these people entirely – just don’t make them a priority. I went through a friendship cleanse when I was turning my life around a couple years ago – it wasn’t easy. However, it was worth it. Letting people go gave me more time to focus on enriching friendships with those who contributed to my happiness.

One idea that helped me was to look at everything I did for my friends – were they things that would be returned? Or am I just going to end up disappointed? Don’t get me wrong – I don’t expect my friends to bend over backwards for me… but I also don’t expect them to be completely selfish. Were these people I could have a real conversation with? Or were they filler friends good for going out with every now and again? Did they unlock potential in me? Or were they jealous of my accomplishments?

Think of the core group of people you interact with weekly. Make sure the good outweighs the bad. It’ll make you happier. 

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