It isn't a secret that DC isn't my thing. I write about it a lot. From the weather and nasty girls to teeny tiny apartments and frustrating public transit and a whole host of other things in between, my lack of enthusiasm for DC is pretty readily available.
A few weeks ago Ben and I (have I mentioned I do have a childhood friend who grew up with me in Idaho and lives like 5 blocks from me in DC!) took a long stroll through the neighborhood with a borrowed dog and just talked. For the first time, I finally was able to articulate what that feeling was about DC. While it comes off as dislike...what I really mean is DISCOMFORT.
I am uncomfortable in DC.
Not in a 'getting hit in the head with some one's bag on the bus' or 'it is hot as the Sahara dessert here' uncomfortable, but in a 'this city pushes you' uncomfortable.
I've learned a lot about myself, about being a professional, about loving someone and being loved, about family and friends, and about life as a big kid. So DC has done me well. It has conditioned me. Run me through the paces. That growth, that pushing..it is good. It is empowering, but is also exhausting. Just like an medical issue, you can only be uncomfortable for so long before it is in your best interest to find what makes you comfortable.
It is simple things like not having to be stressed about feeling like I might get ripped off, knowing a good tailor and dry cleaner, not having going to the grocery store being an ordeal, being close to nature (real nature), having the option to own a dog, own a car, own a house (and not go bankrupt in the process), and feeling like you aren't constantly having to fight tooth and nail to prove yourself. People here are accomplished. That pushes you. You work hard, you take certification classes and test, you read up on your industry, in a lot of ways, it makes you be the best professional you can be, because there is no other choice. The scary part....there are 9 million and 1 other people exactly like you in DC. Smart. Accomplished. Passionate. And competing for the jobs, promotions and recognition you are working for. Tiny pond with a bunch of sturgeon swimming around if you ask me. I'm not wishing for an easy road. Just one that is more....me.
This all sounded a lot better on that long walk where Ben and I discussed these things. I might sound whiny, or weak, or entitled. None of which are my intention. DC is a great place to be youthful, curious and ambitious. All of these being traits and qualities I have embraced and will carry with me. But I am ready for that change of pace.
It may seem weak to be searching for that sense of comfort. To scuttle on out of DC in search of some place that doesn't seem to push me in these uncomfortable ways. I've really struggled with that. I never want to look like I can't hack it, or that I am throwing in the towel. What I have learned, is me saying "this isn't the place for me" and making plans to go somewhere that is the place for me--simply means I have a deep understanding, appreciation and love of my self. I am ok with this. I am at peace. I don't feel like I am giving up, or not strong enough to handle this.
I know that I have become strong enough to be me.