Recently, it has been on my mind a lot with my decision of choosing to live back at home in my years following college graduation. I mean, there’s so many great places to live near and around Washington, DC. Not only is there the city itself, but there are also plenty of fun young 20-something filled places like Arlington, Alexandria, and Tyson’s in Northern Virginia just MINUTES away from the city. On the flip side, I chose to live at home in the Washington, DC suburb of Lorton, Virginia – about 30-45 minutes away. My office in Tyson’s is about 30-45 minutes away, as well, and the same goes for Arlington and Alexandria. While I do LOVE living at home and hearing birds chirping in the calm and quiet neighborhood that I grew up in, there are some downsides.

I currently live in an apartment in my Papa’s house (his basement is a mini apartment!) in what happens to be my childhood home. My apartment has 2 bedrooms (one which my Dad uses when he visits and the other for myself), a den, 3 closets, a kitchen, a living area, and a bathroom. I even sleep in the room that I grew up in! Papa and I share a dog named Rosie – a Shepherd-Chihuahua mix that we both ADORE. Through it all, Papa and Rosie have been my saving graces throughout my own personal navigation of post-graduate adulting life. I LOVE having them around and their company, too. It’s nice to have both of their company, as I prefer to live alone or with those that I am already super close to. I lived alone in college, too! And, well, apartments are SUPER expensive and tiny if you choose to live without a roommate in the Washington, DC area in general – no matter WHERE you choose to live. As for rent, I may only for utilities at a small, fixed cost each month. The rest of the money that I would put towards rent goes to personal savings, my 401K, and investing. If I had chosen to live on my own outside of Papa’s house, then I wouldn’t be able to maybe even put a cent towards my 401K, investing, and I would have minimal funds in my personal savings accounts. On the same token, I wouldn’t be able to have as close to as much space as I have now if I moved out.

Many of my coworkers around my age live in Arlington, Alexandria, and Washington, DC. They live A LOT closer to the millions and millions and millions of nearby bars, restaurants, and activities that flood throughout the area. Happy hours galore and sometimes all 7 days of the week, too! Where I live has not many opportunities to go out without having to take an Uber, drive 15 minutes to board my nearest Metro station, or do the 30+ minute drive myself if I’m up for it. There’s definitely more of a hassle to get around the Washington, DC area for me than compared to my coworkers. It’s hard sometimes, especially when some of my coworkers my age get together occasionally which can be tougher for me to do due to my further distance to meet up (I do meet up with them here and there outside of the workplace though!). Along with my coworker peers, I also have some friends who I’ve met through blogging that also live in the Washington, DC area and also live in different areas, too. The distance and longer than others’ commute makes it harder to see folks, which can sometimes be VERY frustrating personally.

While I do and am able to save A LOT more money living where I live now than if I were to live somewhere else, I am also able to spend more money on gas and transportation to get to the places of interest to me. If you follow me on Instagram (follow me @_thepinkchickadee!), then you would know that I go into the city of Washington, DC PLENTY of times. I also explore the nearby-to-Washington, DC places, too! I really love where I live and the flexibility that I have to get to some pretty neat places within a 30 minute reach. Not many people can get to the Washington Monument and back home within a day. It is SUCH a blessing that I truly love about living here. At the same time, I have easy access to I-95 from my house to drive down to see some of my best college friends who live in North Carolina or to drive up to see some of my best childhood friends and family who live in Pennsylvania and New Jersey or, perhaps, my Dad and Step Mom who live in Delaware. My Mom also lives 15 minutes away from me. Although a challenge at times, I am very lucky that I can easily get to where a need to go, EVEN if it takes longer than I’d like.

In college, I LOVED being able to live alone my Senior year. I also LOVED living with one of my best friends to this day, Sophie, my Junior year. I’ve made some really great memories in my first-ever college apartment those two years. I’ve experienced both living with others and on my own. SO, living with Papa and Rosie has been nothing short of a blessing for me. Papa is a widow and lived alone for the past 4 years before I moved in with him. After having lived alone beforehand as well, I really loved being able to be in my Papa’s company with Rosie who has since become my own. Papa and I do A LOT together: we travelled to Maine and Canada this past August, go out for meals together, go to Wednesday dinners at our church where he volunteers regularly, enjoy home-cooked meals together, and even go shopping together (which is TOTALLY Papa’s favorite activity – HAHA!!). He truly is one of my best buds and I love him (and Rosie!) to death. Being able to live with him during these years is truly so important and I’m making long-lasting memories daily!

I think it’s vital to our mental health to learn to LOVE where you live. I loved living in Raleigh, North Carolina most of the time that I was there. The same goes for Pennington, New Jersey. To everyone’s surprise, I didn’t like living in the Washington, DC area for my middle and high school years. I wasn’t the biggest fan of many of my classmates at that time, whom I saw go to college and then come back home afterwards. My-then biggest fear was doing just that, just like them. HOWEVER, I lived through my biggest high school fear and feel that it’s the best decision I had ever made. Life in the Washington, DC area is pretty GREAT as a college graduate and looks A LOT different than it did when I was in school here. I never truly appreciated where I lived until recently and I wish I had done so sooner.

Through it all, I feel VERY lucky to have been given the opportunity to live with my Papa in a gorgeous apartment. I love getting to live with him and Rosie and make memories with them daily. It is something I will miss when I eventually make the move out on my own. But, for now, I’m going to drive the distance to explore my local area and make memories with those that I love.

XOXO – Katie <3

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