As a college freshman living at home, a half hour away from the big city, I often wondered what it would be like when I moved out. A part of me still couldn't believe that my classmates griped about roommates and grocery shopping instead of parents and siblings, and my stomach flip-flopped every time I thought about the day that I would complain about grown-up stuff like the cost of milk.
I imagined thousands of scenarios: roommates who would become my adopted sisters, BYU's giant pool of returned missionaries who were suddenly contenders for my own Eternal Prince Charming™, late-night adventures with study groups and grocery shopping mates, cleaning checks done by someone other than my mom, classes with students from exotic places like Kentucky and Pennsylvania. Maybe I would cross paths with one of those football players I saw on TV (though I wouldn't know it if I did), or I would be on a first-name basis with someone who helped compile the 1985 LDS Hymnbook.
I imaged horrifying scenarios as well: roommates who would steal my shampoo and leave the light on all night, living quarters the size of my parents' kitchen and living room, college-level science classes and teachers who don't know their students' names, homesickness that would hit at the worst times, like when I'm at a party full of people who all know how to socialize better than I do.
I wanted it all. I wanted to start with nothing—no friends, no dishes, no furniture—and build a new life to stack on top of the foundation my parents had already built for me.
When I moved into Miller 6 on that August day, I took in everything (though I tried not to breathe in too much—visits to other college apartments had warned me that apartments don't always smell nice) from the stained, shaggy blue carpet to whitewashed walls. It wasn't exactly the grand welcome I had envisioned in my highest-rated fantasies, but it was my new life, nonetheless.
It took me a few days to notice that we didn't have a toaster. Me and the five other girls living there had all assumed a toaster would come with the apartment, bolted into place like the fridge and microwave.
It was my first crisis as an adult. How would I have my after-school snack (toast) without a toaster? How would I make tomato sandwiches with the tomatoes from my grandpa's garden?
I took it upon myself to furnish our apartment with a toaster. To my great surprise and delight, I found one at Walmart for just five dollars. A white, dinky little toaster.
When it perfectly toasted its first slice of bread, I spread the good news to my family and roommates and wrote about it in my journal. I had bought my first appliance, one that made a simple delicacy like toast a part of my new adult life.
I used that toaster for years. It switched owners a couple of times, got a little tired as the years passed, but it was still my toaster, the talisman of my adult life.
Today, I bought a new toaster. I needed one with longer slots to accommodate the fancy bread I make with my bread maker. I almost grabbed a toaster very similar to my dinky toaster model, but then I saw the shiny silver toasters that had settings for "bagels" and "frozen." I forgot about the single-digit-priced toaster and got this thirty-dollar one instead.
This newer, shinier model means that I don't have to cut off sections of huge bread before toasting it. It has features I didn't think I needed until I found out they existed. I won't have to push the toast down twice anymore, which will deprive me of daily thoughts of one of my favorite Hugh Jackman movies.
I still try to stick to my buy-no-article-of-clothing-over-twenty-dollars rule, I still use a dumb phone, and the promise of free food still affects my meal schedule days in advance. But the good-enough-for-now mentality I had in college has been replaced with the this-is-cooler-and-you-can-have-it mentality I slowly adopted after replacing my hourly student wage with a salary and benefits. My life comprises more than just the simple necessities of life now.
It's a good place to be in, but I'm sure going to miss that little toaster.