Look, I’m not like other tenants. People often ask, how am I still renting? They don’t understand that not everyone needs a house to be satisfied. Some people prefer to rent apartments. Like me. It’s not that I find ownership intimidating or am afraid of commitment; I just haven’t met the right income bracket or fixed-rate mortgage. Anyway, it’s not the size of the dwelling that matters, it’s what you do with it. I’m going to stick this out, and one day, my place is going to be really nice. All it needs is some new furniture and a few snap traps, and it will be good.

I put in a lot of effort to get here. They checked my credit scores, references, and verified my income. I’ve earned the right to call this “my apartment.” Even though, technically, it’s not. But I’m not so insecure that I have to count my living space as an asset. That’s part of the charm. Like how everything is covered in thick, white paint. Even things that shouldn’t be. The painted-over dust bunnies have a certain charm.

Who wants to live in something that has seen substantial upkeep since the Reagan administration anyway? Not me. It seems like a lot of pressure. I’m comfortable here. I’m really low maintenance, just like this three-story walk-up. I’m not obsessed with things like consistent heating or right-angled corners. Getting a better place would have me walking on eggshells.

I’m more easygoing than people with real estate. Homeowners are too picky. Leaving their rentals for houses just because some things aren’t perfect. It’s not that I’m settling, I just don’t have unrealistic expectations. I don’t run away just because being a tenant is hard sometimes. Making a long-term lease work requires courage and patience and grit. I know my requests for repairs will be actioned eventually. I’m not a nag; they’ll get to it. They changed the faucets once already. In a few months or years they will change them again.

Thirty-seven percent of my monthly income is worth it when the character of this suite rubs off on me. Character. Not asbestos. My landlord promised me this time. The few modern conveniences here make me strong, resilient, and resourceful. Most people with a house wouldn’t even think to put a dishwasher in the closet, or to patch their linoleum with masking tape. It’s not a three-season toilet if you use a detergent bucket to fill the cistern when the incoming pipes freeze. Perspective.

My rental lifestyle secures my place in the community, here, among the people. The people who stomp around for some reason from midnight to four in the morning every weekday. The couple next door screaming at each other over their new baby. The kids across the hall planning to steal my bike who don’t know I speak French too. I appreciate the reminders of my connection to society. In a building like mine, you are never alone. Neighbors, unexpected flora and fauna, clanging radiators, flashing lights, and sirens. It’s humbling and keeps me grounded. Not like some Pillow Princess living in a single-family detached dwelling.

I don’t notice those things anyway. I’m committed to this lease, regardless of its flaws. Not because I can’t afford to break it. Not because the new one came three months before the last one expired and I felt I had no other options. But because this bachelor suite completes me. Others might see peeling ceilings, uneven flooring, and grandfathered building code violations as inconveniences, but these things make precarious residential tenancy unique and exciting. I treasure every moment. That’s all I can do.