I spent Sunday night with my 22-year-old daughter, watching the Golden Globes. She stuck around long enough to see Lena Dunham and "Girls" pick up awards, then headed home to her apartment in Uptown, where her roommate and the "Girls" season 2 premiere were waiting.
Like the characters on "Girls," my daughter doesn't make a lot of money and can barely afford her rent. Her apartment is nothing glamorous, but it's in the heart of Uptown. That makes it perfect in her eyes.
It's also a magnet for her friends and their friends, which is both good and bad. Everyone wants to hang out there, which is fun at happy hour but kind of a drag at 1 a.m. when random acquaintances want to crash on her couch rather than pay for a cab.
Hearing her stories -- and watching "Girls" -- reminds me of my own early 20s, and the "perfect" and not-so-perfect places I called home during those dramatic years.
There was the duplex in Prospect Park, the one I shared with my two best friends from college. I couldn't afford a car, or even much food, but at least I got skinny.
Then there was the duplex in Seward that I shared with two other friends and an army of mice. (Couldn't wait to get out of that one!)
My first solo apartment, at age 24, was actually in a senior citizens' apartment complex, where my comings and goings were closely monitored by self-appointed surrogate grandparents.
Finally, at 25, I found my "perfect" home -- a freshly renovated century-old house with a built-in buffet, pocket doors and a fireplace. It was still a rental, but a palace compared to my previous dwellings.
A decade later, I was a young mom, and the perfect home became one with a good school district and a cul-de-sac full of little playmates for my kids. But now that my kids are young adults, I'd like to unload my too-big house, leave the 'burbs and find a perfect little house back in the city.
No doubt, my daughter's definition of the perfect home will continue to morph as well. I think she'll remain an urban dweller for years to come, but maybe she'll tire of Uptown's constant bustle and sky-high rents. Or maybe, as her career -- and hopefully her paycheck -- grows, she'll be able to afford a slightly more spacious and stylish apartment.
The cash-strapped girls on "Girls" can only dream of the apartment inhabited by Charlie, Marnie's ex-boyfriend, who used his architectural and handyman skills to put a distinctive spin on his space. ("'Girls' has a breakout star: Charlie's apartment")
A blogger at Houzz has even imagined the homes the "Girls" girls will create once they grow into their own style -- and have the cash to express it. (http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/2518280/list/Screen-Style-Forecast--When-the--Girls--Grow-Up)
What's your idea of the "perfect" home? And how has it changed over the years?