To my loyal Tails of A Crazy Dog Mom readers, taking a time out today to write a more personal piece not necessarily all about dogs…normal content to return soon!
If you’ve never done it, I highly recommend everyone drive on the George Washington Parkway into the DC area. I once made a pact with myself that if I were ever driving that stretch of road and the DC skyline with the Washington Monument came into view and I didn’t smile or it didn’t take my breath away, I would know it’s time to leave.
I have to break that pact.
You see, it’s just impossible not to be mesmerized by that view. And as you get closer or go along the Parkway other monuments come into view. Whether you’ve lived here 9 months, 90 years, or like me, almost 9 years, you just can’t help but be blown away by DC’s beauty.
But. And there’s a but. It’s expensive. It’s hard to live here without family close by. It can feel like a rat race and wear you down. So DC, after almost nine years, I have to break up with you. But not before I say Thank You.
When I arrived in January 2008, I was 25 and knew only a few people. I was wide-eyed and if I had to pick a song, Wide Open Spaces from the Dixie Chicks is what would have defined me. I started a job at a legislative tracking firm. I loved the Metro. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. My job was tough but I was so fortunate to meet a great group of young people just like me- eager to explore the area and mostly people who didn’t know that many other people. We explored new restaurants and neighborhoods. We went up the Washington Monument at night. We did the 4th of July fireworks. We went to Nats games and golfing on East Potomac Park among the monuments. We drank too much. Or not enough depending on the work day. We laughed, we cried. We helped eachother move. We cursed the Metro (I don’t love it as much as I did anymore). We formed good friendships even after some people started to leave the area. We were in each other’s weddings. I truly learned here that friends are family.
I never felt like I was a DC-lifer. In fact, at one point I even temporarily left, only to come back six weeks later with a great job offer and more importantly, I had met THE boy who was here. A few months in, it was clear that this was not just another relationship, but THE relationship that would lead to marriage. I had to persuade him a little bit, sitting on his front porch asking him if he was my boyfriend (I had to make it clear before he went on an all guys college football roadtrip). New memories were made. Even a skydiving trip. Families met. We became an official family in 2012 with our marriage. That next year we got our puppy Tucker. We enjoyed the area and every year when our lease came up for renewal we discussed leaving and every year we decided to stay.
Until this past year. We made a decision that we would really strive to leave the area. We had interviews in Pennsylvania that didn’t lead to anything until June. An opportunity was presented to me that we couldn’t refuse.
And yet, I sit here in our apartment in Arlington a few days away from starting a new job and I’m nervous about leaving the area. It’s scary because the boy will be staying down here until our lease ends in October. There are lots of unknowns but there are also several ways life will be easier. New adventures await which we are excited for. I’m hoping Tucker will enjoy his new adventures as well. I’m hoping for a fenced in back yard for him! But I will never forget my time here. In fact, if we ever have kids, I am making sure they spend at least a year in DC. I just hope they don’t need me to pay their rent when that time comes.
So DC, in the words of Adele:
I’m giving you up
I’ve forgiven it all
You set me free, oh
Send my love to your new lover
Treat her better
We’ve gotta let go of all of our ghosts
We both know we ain’t kids no more
Send my love to your new lover.
Except don’t treat her better. Treat her exactly the same. Because for every tear I may have cried here, I also laughed 1,000 times more. For every time I cursed the metro, I remembered that’s where I met the husband. So when I’m driving out of here today, I will glance in my rearview mirror back at you but then look onward to the future (and don’t miss me too much, I’ll be back on the weekends!)