When I was graduating from high school, what I envisioned for my adult life by the age of 30 was drastically different from the reality I’m living now. I pictured myself as a homeowner married to my high school sweetheart by no later than the age of 24. No teenager ever imagines themselves moving in with a roommate after nearly a decade of living alone. In fact, society often balks at the untraditional thought of finding a platonic roommate outside of your twenties, but wrongfully so.
My roommate Jordan Sebastian and I have known each other since high school, but didn’t become close friends until we began attending our mutual married friend’s wedding, her baby showers, and her children’s birthday parties in our late twenties. Strangely enough, we both lived and worked in the Winston-Salem area for years, but never reconnected until we began realizing we had more in common than we initially thought. We frequently joked about the idea of moving in together and living across the street from our mutual friend and her family, but strangely, the joke began to creep into our brains as a true possibility. When our leases were ending around the same time, and with inflation and rent prices shooting through the roof, we decided the economically smart route was to find a nice two-bedroom apartment and split rent and utilities. What we didn’t expect, however, was that we were making gains not only financially, but also socially and emotionally.
Neither one of us realized how much we had needed each other’s company until the move. Although Jordan was much more apprehensive than I was about moving (shockingly, as someone who prefers traveling and doing most things solo), it only took a few comical move-in mishaps (accidentally setting off our security alarm, struggling with a stubborn dryer hose, etc.) for us to realize how much fun the next 12 months – and potentially longer – were going to be for us. Instead of viewing our move as a setback in adulthood, we began to realize that it might be the start of a healing period we both needed. As two single, young-ish professionals watching our peers get married and have children left and right, things happened exactly as they should at the right time.
Oddly enough, I was presented with an opportunity to begin traveling for weeks at a time at work, which was perfect for someone who loves travel as much as I do. The only qualm I had about the opportunity was the fear of leaving my cat in the hands of a stranger while I was away. Thankfully, Jordan and I moved in together just three weeks before I left for my first work trip, and although my cat was quite standoffish, I can rest assured that she is not lonely or hungry, and that she is in the hands of someone I trust.
Jordan is much more of an extrovert than I am with a rich social life, which is good for a hermit like myself. Living with someone with so many friends will challenge me socially, but will help pull me out of my introverted shell that can sometimes be to my detriment. Both of our parents are benefiting greatly from our move, as they are being bombarded less frequently with lonely FaceTime calls around 8:00 p.m. when they’re trying to watch their nightly sitcoms.
Things have a funny way of working out exactly as they should, and what society may perceive as a setback can sometimes be the stepping stone in the right direction. Being too independent for years didn’t allow us to grow in ways necessary to maintaining healthy romantic relationships, since we both aspire to get married one day and neither one of us have had to compromise in our living quarters. Being mindful of another person before we leave dirty dishes in the sink, or sacrificing some habitual “me” time to help each other cope with life’s hardships might be just the practice we need in order to make a long-term romantic relationship work with our future partners. Although we had roommates in college and in our early twenties, we have found that we are much better roommates to each other as adults with fully developed frontal lobes than we were to our previous roommates, who likely suffered from the selfish tendencies that young adults display.
Life is rarely black and white, and Jordan and I have discovered that our plans for ourselves are often vastly different from the plans God has in store for us. While we wait to see the future unfold, we will continue enjoying each other’s company and learning from each other along the way.