It's So Strange

Walking back up to Adams Morgan tonight after dinner with a bunch of friends, it really hit me: it's so strange to be back. Everything here is so familiar, so laden with memories. DC is not the place I have lived longest as an adult (that's Boston) but it is long, and recent, and so it feels very comfortable. In Houston I'm "that guy from DC." I know, having up and moved somehwere new before, that it will take a long time for that to fade. Meanwhile, DC feels like hom in a way nowhere else really does.

And so being here is seductive and dangerous. I am in the lucky and strange position of being able to go anywhere on the planet I choose to right now. And this is home, and familiar, so there's always a little voice inside me saying, "so why not come back?" On one level it would be so very easy.

On another level - the practical one - it would be a horrifying nightmare. This city has become even more overpriced that it was when I lived here. While I made a boatload of money selling my house, that was months and months ago. After living less than a year in a place where the basics of life don't require a salary well above the average income, I've gotten used to a more sensible, normal way for things to work.

Bottom line, if I needed life to be that difficult financially, forget DC, I'd just move to LA or NY and live somewhere far more interesting and thus worth the hassle.

But. But. But. This still feels like home. I love those other big cities but they don't feel like home, they aren't filled with memories. They aren't filled with people I already know. They aren't as easy (mentally) as DC.

That's what's so funny: not living in DC, I can appreciate how settled in I was here. Because all the negatives fade away when you don't actually live here; I can just breeze into town and shrug off the hostility, the competitiveness. They are not my problem, so now, having left, I'm finally free to enjoy what I always liked about this town.

But that's also why I can't come back. I am at a point in life when everything is in flux, and moving forward means looking forward, As pleasant as it is to return, I think it will be a while before I'm back. My friends need to visit me in Houston. I need to put my energy other places. So as I walked up 18th Street on this mild winter night, it felt like a last taste of dessert before the meal ended. This is nice but not good for me, and I need to stay away for a while.

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