My current flat contract is fast approaching its end, and so I am in my personal hell. Ok, that might be overdoing it a bit, but moving house is something I find incredibly stressful. Not the actual act of moving – as a serial renter I own almost no furniture and am well practised at packing my entire life into boxes and relocating them in just one day and two cars – but the preparation, the flat hunting and the intricacies of committing to a new home. Especially when I’m planning on leaving my Headingley haven and moving to Leeds city centre, where the housing market seems to move at the speed of light. ‘Here today, gone in an hour’ is the phrase that springs to mind.
Since moving out of my parents’ house at 18, I’ve never lived anywhere for more than a year. Not so long ago, a strange sequence of events left me in the quite remarkable situation of having had four different residential addresses in less than 12 months. Apparently the average Brit moves house 8 times in their lifetime; at 25 I’m preparing to make my ninth move. But despite these numbers, I’m actually a chronic nester. I love feeling settled in a home, personalising a bedroom with all my stuff and knowing I have a sanctuary to retreat to at the end of a long day.
When looking at it from a safe distance, a few months before my contract ends, I often feel excited about the prospect of a change of scene. I speculate about where I might like to move to, and get excited about all the pretty flats on SpareRoom and Zoopla. But as the time gets closer and the reality of flat hunting sinks in, I remember all those annoying things like how expensive the pretty flats are, how quickly they’re snatched off the market, and, of course, how endlessly incompetent the majority of letting agents are.
My main problem is that I am terminally indecisive. I can spend endless time deliberating over a restaurant menu or scrutinising a top in a changing room, worried I’ll make the wrong choice, so imagine how awful I am when deciding on a flat contract that I’m going to have to live with for at least 6 months. No situation is ever perfect – even when you really like a place there’s always one thing you wish was better, something you have to just settle for – and I’m terrible at weighing up the pros and cons and deciding what’s most important to me. I also have a chronic case of ‘bird in the bush’ syndrome – I play for time committing to things because I always have the creeping thought that there’ll be something better right around the corner. It’s a pretty frustrating way to live.
For now I’m in limbo, already starting to feel detached from the flat I’ll soon be leaving, and lacking a tangible new place to focus on. But eventually the right choice will come along, and hopefully I’ll take it. Who knows – maybe this will even be the one I stay in for more than a year…