Wednesday, July 2, 2008

DC and the transient nature of its residents

Today is my DC-versary. On this day 6 years ago, I left my family and friends behind and moved to DC, a city with no family or friends of mine. I knew no one and despite the fact that I was not alone in not knowing anyone, it took me a while to find friends. Sure, you can always find someone to go to happy hour with. Someone to drink your sorrows away with. But as far as true, honest to goodness, loyal peeps you can always count on to talk to when the going gets tough--yeah, those are very rare in this city.

My problem is that I find that one true friend and then the friend moves away. This has happened to me multiple times. Sometimes they're an intern and their internship is over and now it's time to go back to her real home. Or maybe it's a job as a contractor and the job is now up. Or maybe he decides to buy a home with the boyfriend whose job is taking him to another city. Or maybe she can't find a good job and has to move home where good jobs are abundant. OR maybe they just happened to apply and get into very prestigious PhD/Masters programs and therefore need to move abroad/to Princeton/to the Midwest. Yes, all of these have happened to me. The last one is the latest reason why three of my good friends are leaving me at the end of this summer.

You're probably all thinking, well, OC girl, you can totally maintain these friendships despite the distance. Yes, that's true. And with everyone who has left me and DC before, I have attempted to do so. In fact, the aforementioned intern is someone I still consider a great and true friend. However, that doesn't work for everyone. When it comes to friendships, distance doesn't necessarily make the heart grow fonder. In fact, distance is often a deal killer. Long distance friendships take work (right, Cali peeps?) and if only one person puts in the effort (such as what happened between me and the boy who bought a place with boyfriend in another city), then the friendship very easily falls apart.

Gone are the conciliatory drinks and coffee breaks ("I'm so sorry I've been so busy. Let's meet for drinks on Friday and catch up!"). Instead, unreturned emails and phone calls abound.

Although I am really happy that my friends are moving along academically (M with her Masters program and S and V with their PhD programs), I am really, really upset to see them go...all at the same time. It's this constant cycle of good people coming into and out of my life and, although I've tolerated the departures of my friends in the past, this time I want to put my foot down and scream, "NO!"

I understand that the revolving door of friendships keeps turning because people keep coming to and leaving DC. This city doesn't seem to be the place where one stays (unless you're in the military or politics or both) and settles and raises a family. In the long journey of life, DC is like a pitstop where one refuels or gets a tune up and then moves on to the next destination refreshed and re-energized. Why don't people stay for longer than a few years? This place isn't so bad. Yeah, I complain about it all the time (really, it's the weather and the people who think everything revolves around them). But it's still a nice place to be.

Sometimes I look at Jesse and what he's got and I'm jealous. Jesse has lived in Northern Virginia since he moved here from Charlottesville as a wee lad. Jesse has the same group of friends that he's had since elementary school. The group grew in size when they added new friends in high school and college. And still, all of his friends are all here, living in NoVA and still hanging out. A big group of guys (and a couple of girls) who grew up together and managed to stay friends through it all. Yeah, I definitely get jealous.

The truth is (and I know this sounds incredibly selfish) I just really wish my friends were here with me all the time that way I wouldn't miss them so much.

1 comment:

aneo said...

But then again, now you have all these exotic holiday options... :D

At least we have the net!!!!