(This is going to be long, but someone out there needs to see it.) Picture it: Houston. 2011. I'd just left a toxic relationship and moved to a city I'd never even visited to start a new job and a new life. I had relocation assistance from the company but next to no cash of my own after being a housewife for a year. (Lesson learned.)
I found an apartment broker (didn't know that was a thing at the time) who said she'd show me around the city and available apartments. The first place she took me too looked like it should have been torn down 10 years ago. "Well, your job is brand new. This is the best your going to get. I lived here 40 years ago with my ex husband..."
At that point I was fighting back tears and I'd stopped listening to her bitter tale of regret. That conversation, that apartment recommendation and that story had ZERO to do with me. She was stuck in 40-year-old failure. I thanked her for her time, drove away and screamed in my car, wondering where I would go. I had 24 hours (one more night in the hotel) to find a place to live.
The next day, another broker helped me find a beautiful, brand-spanking-new apartment with granite, stainless, gym, amenities and in a great part of town.
Moral of the story: Nobody else gets to imprint their mistakes on you. Don't allow it. Never settle just because someone else did.
(Oh, and they tore those funky ass apartments down a year later...)