When it seems like everybody you know is having new adventures
Dear Carolyn: I live in D.C. I like it here. My husband and I are both gainfully employed — not our dream jobs, but jobs that are more good than bad — my family is here, I bought an apartment in a neighborhood I enjoy.
Now, five years out of undergrad, my D.C. friends have all moved away from D.C.
I always heard this was a transient city but now I am really feeling it. My friends and their significant others are off to new jobs, new commutes, new adventures. I am still here, doing pretty much exactly what I have been doing since college. And — I like it! But I am missing my community and connection, and also feeling like the last one at the fair. It makes me feel lame or boring for not having a more dynamic existence or new “news” to share.
I’ve never thought you should move to chase friends — move because you genuinely like the place you are moving to and the things you are doing there. But maybe that idea is misguided?
Any advice for this strange transitory time?
— Last One at the Fair
Last One at the Fair: See yourself as being first at the next fair. Transience means people you care about move away, yes, but it also means new people are constantly arriving, hoping their new neighborhood will be friendly.
Your communities and connections will grow back if you nurture them with effort and with the energy of liking your neighborhood enough to show its new people around. It won’t all go to waste when these people become the next to leave. D.C. is transient but being in one’s 20s is more so, I’d argue — so the more time you spend in any given place, the more you’ll notice there’s a population that comes and goes, and a population that stays put. If the churn really bothers you, then do some research and find a neighborhood that has lower than usual turnover.
Meanwhile, there are other ways not to be boring than to move away from a place you enjoy — like learning and doing new things, and having adventures that bring you back home at the end.