Anyway I got back to Boston this Tuesday and returned home to my apartment. I'm surprised that it already feels like home. I'm more or less completely moved in. I have my office set up and my desktop/server working. I haven't set up speakers or my scanner yet, but that can happen soon. Living room furniture arrived a bit before I left for Geneva. The guest room and my bedroom are also reasonably populated. Most of the unpacking is done; there are a few items that need to move to their final spots. I didn't get food before leaving because I was not going to be around and still haven't managed to do so. Besides that it is livable and more or less suitable to have people over.
I've been thinking a lot about why I moved recently. The driving reason is that I felt I wanted to be living alone at least for a while. Also, I wanted to have space for working separate from the space I used for sleeping/living. However I didn't understand the emotional reasons behind the strong desire to move to some place that was mine before I left. Now it is becoming more clear what is going on inside my head.
Before now I've never had a home that was really optimized for me. I grew up in my parents' house; that was certainly home but it was arranged to meet the needs of the entire family. Dorm rooms never really counted as home: they were always temporary and it didn't seem important to really personalize the space because I would be moving. I lived for a year in an apartment in Texas, but that never quite felt like home; I was always in a temporary state of space management because I kept expecting to get a roommate but never quite got around to it. I never completely moved in at least emotionally because I expected to need to rearrange things and so I was constantly keeping open the possibility of having someone else there. Other times—hotass, cabal, etc—I was moving into a space that was already home to other people. Both cabal and hotass ended up feeling like a home, but I found that for the most part I was adapting myself to the environment I lived in rather than adapting the environment to me. At some level, that was a fine thing to do: it was easy and I adapt to environments fairly well. Long term it is even a reasonable strategy. However it missed an important thing I need to do at least once: I need to find out what I want out of a space and I need to find out what I consider important. It is certainly easier to do this alone in a space that started out empty.
There's a part of me that feels very silly. It seems like once I understand what I'm looking for, the move will have accomplished its purpose and I'll have wasted a whole bunch of money on self introspection. On the other hand I really like the new place and it is what I wanted. I guess I'm just feeling like I'm spending too much on rent. That's not actually true. Naturally I did look at the math and conclude that I can afford to be living here before moving in. It feels somewhat irresponsible to be paying for a place that I'm going to like: I could save so much more money by minimizing rent. While technically true that I could save money by reducing rent, that sort of misses the point.