01st Oct 2021
Moving in with my long-term boyfriend last year has been wonderful. We hardly know ourselves without my twice-weekly cross-country commute and we still get along like a house on fire. But in my excitement to live with him, I didn’t realise what I was leaving behind.
Flicking over to Love Island this summer, I felt such a pang for my old housemates and the craic we had watching previous seasons. I know the show is trash but it was a sure-fire way to get all of us together, every evening, like some deranged, giggling cult. The TV was barely audible over the chatter as we all tested out our own mid-England accents.
Six of us lived in a big, drafty, old house in Dublin and I loved every minute of it. There was always someone hanging out in the kitchen waiting for a chat, we held regular movie nights and house dinners and usually never made it past Tuesday without opening a bottle of red. I miss their company, their cackles and their counsel.
Not to quote Friends, but it really was the end of an era. Because the thing is, what I miss doesn’t even exist anymore. We’ve all moved out and some of us abroad and there’s a whole new batch in there now, figuring out which is the creaky step and wondering how the mice are getting in (answer: from a large gap behind the dishwasher that no amount of steel wool can fill).
It was also a watershed moment in my life. When I moved out, I left Dublin and my commuter gal ways behind and moved in with my boyfriend, got a mortgage. Really, that house was the last remaining security blanket against “real” adulthood. I had a job and paid rent but I still lived with a bunch of women, rushing to the front window as some poor lad tries to make a quiet exit, browsing the collective wardrobe, getting accidentally drunk on a Wednesday night and always coming back from the washing machine with an entirely different collection of ankle socks.
I moved out in such a Covid panic that I never really stopped to take stock. Looking back, I’ve realised I may never live with a gang of pals again. Even if you’re not coupled up, the chances of getting to live with a bunch of women fade as people settle down or move away and generally want more privacy. You move out of a world that revolves around your friends and into a world that revolves around the life you are building for yourself.
I did not watch this season of Love Island, in part because I knew it would make me homesick for that moment in time. But mostly, I’m thankful I got to close out my twenties with those wonderful, funny, smart, intelligent women. They lit up that transitional period of my life, as you move from home and college friends to new jobs and new places and try to establish your own selfhood. They were a home and a refuge and I couldn’t have fumbled my way towards “real” adulthood with a better bunch.