I first moved to DC 10 years ago this week. (I did not remain here for the entire intervening 10 years, but still.) When I realized this today I did not feel surprised, in a "how time flies" kind of way: it does seem like it's been a long time. And really, despite my current dissatisfaction with some things in my life (my seemingly neverending job search), I feel pretty good about my situation compared to my 21-year-old self's situation. I'll put it in a quasi-chart form!
Then: Boyfriend who made me feel bad about myself. Not necessarily on purpose, but in lurve there is a heightened standard of care. (Yeah I made a law joke. So sue me. That was another one! HiLAWrious! Will stop.)
Now: Mr. TA--makes me happy to be around him. (Aww.)
Then: Knew nobody in DC; would go to coffee shops and look wistfully at other young people, wondering if it would be weird if I just introduced myself. (Answer: Yes.)
Now: Have lots of lovely friends. Would like more time to see them, but that is a much better problem to have.
Then: Lived with near-stranger who turned out to be a bigot and kind of an asshole, and who got a new roommate to replace me a month before I moved out, I mean not just found a roommate but let the new roommate stay in my bed when I was out of town with the plan that the new roommate would crash on the couch for the next month, all without asking or telling me, and then turned against the new roommate and kicked her out, leaving me in the middle because the new roommate was actually nice. And also, she ate only protein, and our apartment had no windows that opened, so it always smelled like meat, mixed with the fumes from the nail salon downstairs. (Also with Josie the cat, who sometimes went to the bathroom inappropriately outside the litter box, annoying my roommate to no end.)
Now: Live with Mr. TA! Who is great! (And with Josie, who has kept up the inappropriate bathroom thing.)
Then: Gotta say, DC, you were non-ideal. I mean there is something to be said for a combination of gritty/dangerous and frumpy, but. Actually, is there?
Now: OK gentrification is bad, and all, but there are way better food options now, and people dress better, which is nice on the eyeballs. But people still do not look as nice as in NY, which I appreciate because it makes me feel cuter.
Then: Mind-numbingly boring 9 to 5 job. Applied to law school basically to have something with which to occupy myself.
Now: Stressful job with long hours. Obviously there must be a balance there somewhere, still working on that.
So one can feel pretty good about most of that.