Monday, September 12, 2011

There can be no price tag on the comfort of living.

I have been so much happier ever since I moved into my new apartment. It is not the extra room so much, it is not the additional space. I'm finally in a place where my own home is not attacking me, where I can safely get around and get to every corner, where I don't feel I'm sacrificing my own well being to save a hundred dollars or two. My old apartment seemed like a cute idea, but it was never a good solution for someone in a wheelchair. Originally it felt appealing to have a tiny place, I thought as long as I can roll in and out and somehow fit in the kitchen I'd be fine. One thing I didn't count on is how much I'd end up hating living there. You see it was one room with a window, something they call a tiny "studio" a bathroom, and an additional chamber that served both as a closet on one side and some type of kitchen imitation on the other with very limited counter space. My chair would barely fit and they had to remove the folding doors from the closet to make more room for my arms. There was something appealing about scaling down and the studio wasn't cheap anyway. I can swing it, I thought as our kitchen back home wasn't that much wider. But as I enjoyed the idea of not blowing extra money on a bigger apartment and also feeling a bit like the semester I moved to America when I had two cups, two plates a cereal bowl and few pieces of silverware I was spending much more eating out.  I didn't cook in, there was no room, an honestly the whole set up made me very unhappy. I felt like I'm locked in in something that gave me a feeling of a bunker or a basement.

 There was just no making it more homely. My parents came over during Christmas time and worked hard to make it more accessible and to give me more storage by getting shelves on every wall. It wasn't worth the exhaustion. My dad paid the high price of having a heart surgery few months after returning to Poland. And still, in my mom's words it was a fox hole. What I wasn't counting on is that how you feel about yourself, how you feel about your disability has everything to do with how you feel  about where you are. It was a depressing place that many have felt claustrophobic in and it didn't make me feel that god getting up in the morning. When you are in a wheelchair you need space to get around, you need storage space you can reach, you need kitchen you can actually work with.  I haven't been going out at all, I cook my own food and it saves me money. I forgot how much I love going grocery shopping and having friends over for coffee. Now I have room to be social again. Bigger places are easier to keep reasonably clean, which I found surprising. In smaller places things pile up much easier. Between cables and things you didn't put back in their original spot it is harder to get around sooner even to clean. It gets more difficult to tidy up to reach, grab and put things away in small areas because there is no room to go in and turn around. Now, my old apartment would probably fit in my living room. And I feel happier because I can do more. The funny thing is, I moved only three doors down and it's an entirely different standard of living. And I realize how the toll that other place had on me. Trust me, some things are not worth the sacrifice. Your well being, your happiness, your piece of mind. 


  1. I agree, when in situation that aren't very accessible you feel attacked and sometimes trapped. It makes a huge difference where you live and the energy put into your home.

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