We’re just halfway through 2017 and already I have several commitments for 2018 in my planner. As much as I like to plan things, that level of planning ahead is unheard of for me. It means that, for the foreseeable future, my commitment to DC is tangible, it’s not something that I can pretend doesn’t exist.
I never imagined I’d stay in DC. Not really. I went to undergrad here, and when I was earning my degree I always thought I’d pack my bags and leave this city upon graduation. There was no particular reason why; I had always moved from place to place so naturally I thought that trend would continue. But then I didn’t leave DC. I stayed. And not only did I stay, but I didn’t seriously make, or consider, any plans to leave.
It’s strange, but I know in my heart of hearts that while DC is likely the best place for me right now, I know it won’t be forever. Even now, if you ask me where I want to settle down, I’ll say something along the lines of, “Oh, I don’t know — but not DC, not likely.”
I resisted planning on staying here, at first. I guess I still resist planning on staying here for too long, but initially I refused to contemplate anything further than the one-year lease I signed on my first apartment for my first year as a college grad. Then I refused to contemplate anything further than the next one-year lease I signed, on the apartment that I called my very own. Then, when that lease morphed into a month-to-month contract, I assumed I’d start making plans on leaving eventually. But then… I didn’t, and I haven’t.
I thought maybe one day, if not for work, I’d leave DC for love. But then I fell in love with my job. And then I fell in love with a man who lived in New York City. Maybe I’ll move there! I thought. Then — plot twist! — he moved to DC, primarily for work, but also, I think, a little bit for me.
I can count the number of years I’ve lived in DC using two hands — only the second ever place I’ve lived in where I’ve been able to do that. With the exception of my study abroad year in Beijing, all of my years growing up from unsure teenager to moderately more sure young woman were spent here. My years here, without a doubt, changed my life. And while that can be said for any year anywhere, the longer I stay in DC, the more I wonder when it will be time to leave.
I know it won’t be within the next year, though. Because for the first time ever, I have committed to events that are location-specific and more than a year away. (Tickets to shows like Hamilton and Lorde tend to have that effect.) I thought I would’ve been more nervous than I was when I bought the tickets; but it turned out I was most nervous about the price tag associated for these events than committing to the event dates. I guess that means for now, I can keep on planning ahead.