A brownstone state of mind…..

“Life for both sexes — and I looked at them, shouldering their way along the pavement — is arduous, difficult, a perpetual struggle. It calls for gigantic courage and strength. More than anything, perhaps, creatures of illusion as we are, it calls for confidence in oneself. Without self-confidence we are as babes in the cradle.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own


She’s fallen madly, passionately, deeply in love, this Girl of ours.

The object of her affection is tall, dark, handsome, and well-built.

My sister calls it the”brownstone phase” in a young woman’s life.  That time between college and being responsible for someone else when a woman has a place of her own and can do pretty much whatever she feels like doing as long as she can afford to do it.  It’s the path not taken that her aunt and I look back at wistfully even though we are content with the one we chose instead.  The one where the next logical step for a woman in her twenties was to marry and set up housekeeping with a man.

Don’t get me wrong.  That path had its share of adventures, too. However, we agree that the brownstone phase is one that we hope our daughters all have.  It will make them stronger and more confident than we were in our twenties.  There’s something pretty awesome about knowing that the place you come home to at night is yours. All yours. It is also kind of scary and sometimes a little lonely, I’m sure.  Each week, it seems, she tells me about another high school or college friend’s engagement or pregnancy.  It reminds me of so many in my generation who barely waited until the ink was dry on a diploma to pick out a wedding gown.  I’m glad she’s not there.  That kind of love and commitment to another human being can wait.  There’s plenty of time.

This week, she is scrounging furniture from Craigslist and curbs and planning exactly how she wants her home to look.  She’s saving for the perfect IKEA curtains and planning a trip home over her Spring Break to pick up the rainbow striped area rug that has made more trips across the state of Minnesota than a lot of her classmates.  She’s trying to decide where the piece of furniture we call “the Green Thing” will go in her sunny apartment. She’s trying to find the cheapest upholstery cleaner in the Twin Cities so that the free blue sofa she moved from the apartment of a 97-year-old woman in a Highland Park nursing home will get a fresh new start, like her.

Because, for now, she’s in love.  With her sweet nest built for one.  With her job and coworkers and good friends.

With her busy life in the city she calls home.

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