Due to some strange personal choices, I’ve spent the better part of a month at my parent’s house in DC, and it has not been un-fun. I stayed here so long that all the people I knew from high school and middle school finished their holiday trips and went back to where they work, and all the people who work and go to school in DC came back from wherever they went, so I’ve seen a broad cross-section of the people I know here. Actually, it just occurs to me that the only people I didn’t see were my writer friends.
I’ve lived in the DC area for three formative periods of my life. I went to middle and high school here; I worked here for two years after graduating from college; and I went to grad school in Baltimore for two years. And being back here for the holidays has caused a wave of nostalgic memories.
It is saddening to see people I haven’t seen for awhile and won’t see again for awhile. And it is saddening to go to places where I have lived. It is saddening to be witness to old selves and to lives that I’ve left behind. I don’t like being reminded of how much time has passed and of the fact that I, of necessity, had to make choices about how and where I was going to live. In general, my life in California is pretty good (certainly, I have zero problems with the actual living-in-California aspect of it). But it’s still upsetting to think that there are things I gave up. For instance, if I was still living here, I could see my family much more often. And also, there is something about being from a place. I don’t know what it is. There is just a certain depth of connection. I can’t say that I know more people in DC, precisely, or even that I’ve known them for longer, on average. But I just feel more connected to it, as a place. I can remember, when I drive around, all the other times I’ve driven around here, and all the dreams I used to have for myself.