1. It was totally awful, but also strangely endearing. From the window that would never fully close to the water stain on the ceiling, you love-hated bringing friends (and especially fam) over, but as time passed it became your place. (And you covered that water stain with a poster.)
2. It was the epitome of your pre-adulting phase. AKA: dollar store boxes and hand-me-down everything.
3. It taught you plenty of useful things. Like how to vacuum, check your credit card statements, throw away food when it was well past the expiration date, fold laundry, and kill spiders (or at least attempt…then phone a friend).
4. It was home to some true shenanigans. Wine nights, movie dates, laughs, tears, 3AM drunken stumblings, and kisses you’ll never forget.
5. Its carpet stains will forever be laughable memories. The nail polish you spilled because you were too lazy to get out of bed but wanted to rock bright pink toes, the tomato sauce from the I’ll-make-this-without-a-recipe pasta that turned out terrible, and your best friend’s dying-from-a-hangover puke. You’ll carry those memories (and she’ll carry those regrets) forever.
6. It saw you at your absolute best. And showcased your trophies, awards, love letters, and encouraging notes from dad proudly on its walls.
7. It saw you at your absolute, painfully-hungover, heartbroken worst. And comforted you via couch, bed, and pillow forts throughout the entire thing.
8. It will always represent your tragic (and completely not-graceful) transition from kid to big kid. From the closet full of skimpy crop-tops you used to think were super cute, to the conservative interview blouses for when you finally got your sh*t together. From the scrambled eggs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, to actually making real-life food. Your apartment never judged you. (Thank god.)
9. Its walls, with their crookedly-hung picture frames, will forever remind you of how much you’ve grown. Those walls mark your growth—new friends, crappy haircut, 2 inch height gain, happy times, change. (And, of course, a constant reminder of how much you sucked at using a hammer.)
10. It gave you a place to grow. A place where you were safe, forgiven, and loved. A place where you learned to be independent and strong. Where you discovered who you were as a person, and who you could be.
11. It taught you that home was not a permanent state, but a feeling. A sense of belonging. Ownership. Making something that is new and foreign, yours. And most importantly, that a place you hadn’t grown up in could still feel like home. And that roommates could feel like family.
12. And it taught you to love. Love a place, and claim it. Love others, and share this place with them. And most importantly, love yourself.