We didn’t meet in high school. We didn’t even meet in college. We met as adults – with fully independent lives, including separate homes and styles we’d never had to compromise before. The trend of meeting your significant other at an older age, after you’ve started to build your life, is not uncommon these days. Of course there are immediate benefits here – you “know yourself” better, you’re (probably) not living at home under the watchful eyes of your parents, and you’ve (probably) got a steady job that lets you pay for meals nicer than the dollar menu. But what happens when you decide to incorporate another person into your comfortable, routine-filled life?
Taking the big leap into cohabitation means many things, but first let’s talk about the obstacle that is combining all of the crap you’ve both collected over the years of your established adulthood. As my manfriend and I were both living out our adult lives when we met, we had the obvious essentials for your basic rooms in a home: living room, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom. This meant that we had TWO of everything. Of course, there were minor conveniences like using my candles in the bathroom and easily choosing his couches over the futon that I pretended was a couch through my many apartment moves prior (bye futon, see ya never). For the most part, combining our things went smoothly with our formula of comparing our duplicates and donating or tossing the older or more deteriorated pieces, but my anxiety loomed overhead – this was going way too well. There had to be something we’d disagree on, right? Obviously.
So what was it that stopped our move-in progress in its tracks? The seemingly useful, yet clearly controversial (for us, at least) spice rack. No joke. We both had a strange attachment to our spice racks. Mine was in pristine condition, with a chrome finish and round shape that fit perfectly in any kitchen (or so I thought, of course). His was hand-built out of wood (he’s a carpenter by trade) and expanded along the back of the counter for more than a foot. It impractically took up too much space in my opinion, but mine impractically had spices that are never used on a daily basis like “Savory” and “Herbs de Provence”. I reluctantly agree – I literally never used those spices. But I held my position that my spice rack was pretty and his was too big. What could we possibly do? Our mutual stubbornness finally took hold after days of compromise over other pieces throughout the home. Why the spice rack? WHY NOW!
We proceeded to debate our points for well over half an hour, both of us holding our ground, neither giving any room for the other to win. So how could we possibly solve this endless circular discussion when we knew neither of us would budge? Eventually we decided to keep both, as we had enough counter space to do so and we agree that eventually we’d have to totally adjust the spices altogether, perhaps moving them to a dedicated cabinet instead. So really no one won, what was the point?
This first move-in disagreement was a wake up call for me. The time of getting everything my way was over, giving way to a time where considering the opinions of someone I loved was crucial for cohabitation. It wasn’t all about me anymore and that was okay because I wanted it to be about us. Sure, this disagreement was ridiculous and certainly not the last, but it made me feel comfortable that we wouldn’t agree on everything always and that didn’t mean I needed to give up my feelings for his. It meant that hearing someone else’s voice in your decisions is just a part of starting a new chapter of 24/7 life with another person. Remembering that it’s not all about you, that’s the point.
Yep, I got all that from a spice rack and you can bet I make it a point to use spices from mine as much as I can even if his does have the salt and pepper. 🙂