It's summer and I've written this and edited this in my head too many times I can recall, but the words are hitting the page in mid-November. It starts off like this:
"Everyone leaves DC one day," is a motto I've been saying during most of my 12 plus years of living here in the DC area. I've had many friends leave, some came back, but eventually left again. I've also had many friends say they want to leave, but haven't figured out how to yet. They have reasons to stay be it their career, family or just plain old fear of leaving the familiar--though they will probably leave one day too.
And now I have to say it's my turn to join in on this motto and leave DC (along with my wife Sara of course). We will be moving out of the area this spring (presumably in the May/June time frame). The easiest question to answer first is where? We've decided to move to Charlottesville, VA.
This decision has been a long time coming though and there are many reasons for it that you're wondering about. Some of you know you them from us talking about our life here, while others of you can put some guesses together reading through our Facebook posts through the years with our complaints and experiences we went through. The explanation is many many things, but can be summarized as this: life here in the DC area is busy, crazy and stressful more often than life should be in our view. You can get caught up in the culture of workaholism, trying to impress others to no end, politics (office, local, and national), not knowing how to balance your life, and having to be seen at certain places because it's the cool thing to do. You also get caught up in the traffic on the streets and wondering how you manage to afford to live in one of the most expensive area's in the world. And more and more often, unfortunately, you get caught up with a part of the population who believes they are entitled to do whatever they want with no concern for anyone but themselves, a self-centered behavior I've seen people I know take on at times because it's infectious. Hopefully many of you are shaking your heads in agreement.
Moving to Charlottesville can only be described as simplifying our lives and slowing things down. The question we ask ourselves living in DC is given all those factors I just listed, does it agree with who we are as people? It's a question of values, lifestyle and quality of life. There certainly are good things the area offers, but at this point in our lives moving away removes the things we find decrease our quality of life and well being on a weekly basis, year in and year out, that we don't have control over. Charlottesville offers us many of the same things we enjoy, but at a fraction of the cost with no traffic and in an area recently named "happiest city in Virginia." And having visited many times over the last few years, we've fallen in love with the area.
Last year one of my favorite musicians put out his autobiography/memoirs, which has inspired me to take a look back on my life here in the DC area. Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run" is about how he became the Boss, a success story musically, and the ups and downs life brought him. It's an honest story filled with more than just what his songs were about--it's about his life through his eyes as he lived it.
Similarly, a lot has happened to me since moving to this area in 2005 of which I gather has influenced many big and small decisions in my life that have ultimately lead me to getting outta here. So, I've decided to write my memoirs of living in DC, to put them out there and take a stroll down this part of my life for anyone who wishes to read.
To give you the back of the book summary, my memoir will involve why I moved here, my past day jobs, the big jump I took in changing careers, in and out of love, the biggest loss in my life, therapy, the music I made and even observations with living here. Plus a lot more. Yes, people who may actually be reading these entries may find themselves in the story...
Whatever it ends up being, I'm doing this mostly for me as this period of time has been a very profound one in my life. I believe in self-reflection and that it can be helpful especially in getting closure during a transitional time in life as this one will be for myself and my wife. I will post lots of things, long and short, on my Thinking Aloud blog here. I welcome any discussion on what I write about.
It's best I think to end this with a quote, which is from the Bruce Springsteen song "Born to Run", that is something I can get behind in announcing my departure:
"It's a town full of losers, and I'm pulling out of here to win."
More to come...