When I first moved here, I was shocked by how often I ran into people I knew on the street or on metro. It seemed impossible—especially considering how few people I knew at the time.
It no longer surprises me but I always love it.
But lately I've started noticing that every time I run into someone I get asked the same question.
Where have you been?
Earlier this year when I left CRAFT I immediately took an audit of my work/life balance... and essentially found that I didn't have one.
So I mapped one out.
Six months later I'm a healthier, happier person.
And apparently souls do grow back.
But I've also really largely checked out of political social circles in a big way.
I'd rather be in the gym sweating with happy, uplifting strangers than having policy arguments with wonks over vodka-waters.
I'd rather work through lunch at my desk eating salad with a plastic fork than sit through another noon briefing with the same three panelists on the same topic with the same strategy at the same think tank.
I was tired. I was tired of watching the same characters with clear cognitive dissonance try to baseball bat their way into a culture they don't understand.
I was tired of the ugly infighting—the unapologetic gossip-mongering and threats to end the careers of good, smart people because of personal vendettas and messy break ups. I was tired of being manipulated into taking sides.
So I looked at all the moving parts.
I trimmed off the dead branches bearing no fruit.
I asked myself this: Who would you be if you weren't living your life for everyone else in it?
Most of my major life choices have come down to whether or not my family will be proud of me.
When I came to DC I had no money, no job prospects—just a small network of friends who I wish I could do more to thank.
I try to thank them by succeeding. I try to thank them by letting them know that their investment was worth it.
In the same way, I thank my family by trying my hardest to be a good person.
But what if my definition of success and being a good person isn't the same as theirs anymore?
What if I have come to a trail head and have decided I want to completely change my course?
You know, it's funny.
The more I learn about myself, the more vividly I see my tendency to romanticize the past.
But maybe that's not the point.