I loved my apartment. It had lovely hardwood floors, big windows with an outstanding view of the ocean, white shutters and walls. And it was empty. Pretty much totally empty.
For the first month in that apartment I slept on a sleeping bag I'd borrowed from my brother. I had a few plates and cups and glasses, a little bit of cutlery, some old battered pots. I had towels I'd bought from the discount store, and books I'd bought at the secondhand bookstore down the street.
I had a telephone but no television, no radio, no stereo. I had clothes and that was about it.
And I loved that place.
I loved it because I'd finally (after a year of hell) walked out of my marriage and having nothing was better than all the things I'd left behind. I learned many things in that apartment, things I still believe in today.
- Happiness doesn't mean things - it means what's inside yourself.
- Being alone is much better than being with someone who makes you unhappy.
- Emptiness can be beautiful, especially if the view outside your window is perfect.
- It takes courage to make changes, but most often they're worth it.
- You don't need a television to be happy, though a stereo or a radio helps.
- If you have to walk, don't worry about what you take with you.
- It's never too late to leave and it's never too early. You'll know when it's time.
- Buy yourself a bouquet of cheap flowers - they make up for the lack of furniture.
- Splurge on a bottle of wine even if you have to drink it from a water glass.
- Sleeping bags aren't just for camping.
- Take long walks and a hot bath - the tired legs and the hot water will make the sleeping bag and the hardwood floor feel softer.
- One of your friends probably knows someone who owns a furniture store or has secondhand furniture they want to get rid of. If not, you can always buy it from one of the places that advertise - DON'T PAY A CENT UNTIL (whatever year is two years from the day you buy it).
Remember, you make your own happiness. Always.