The Cost of Living the Dream


Moving to Washington DC was one of the biggest and most unplanned decisions I've ever made. I'd like to say that in typical me fashion I had plans to move here after graduation, with a job lined up and ideas of what neighborhood I would rent an apartment in. But I cant.

Somehow I found myself walking across the stage of my college graduation totally unaware of what my next step was. All I knew was that moving back home was the last thing I wanted or needed, and I was willing to take the first flight anywhere.

Luckily I didn't completely drop the ball my senior year, having spent a quarter interning in DC and applying to one graduate school. I didn't think too much about it, the application fee was waived and it's hard for me to say no to a good sale. Hell, I was saving 40 dollars, how could I not apply? Amazingly I was accepted, but I didn't say yes to the offer right away. It took one month of living at home to realize that beggars cant be choosers, so I said 'yes' to moving back to DC and starting grad school in the fall. Goodbye year to find myself, hello crippling student loans!

I'm not complaining though, at least not completely. I love Washington DC and all the opportunities it has presented me, but every great chance has come at a price. And that's what happens when you take advantage of the things not everyone is offered, you give up all the comforts of predictability. Anyone who moves away to a new town far from home glamorizes packing up and catching that long awaited flight, yet no one talks about how hard it is once the plane lands. With no one to greet you at arrivals and welcome you home, living the dream feels more like surviving.

Related Post: 7 People You See on Your Morning Commute

I keep reading all these articles on sites like Thought Catalog and Elite Daily that talk about all the great things that come with moving to places like New York and being in your twenties, but who is writing about all the stress that comes with feeling alone in a place as big as New York City and how fucked up dating in your twenties has become.

Moving to DC meant leaving behind every friendship I had created in California, from past roommates to high school best friends. Going to college 400 hundred miles from home meant I wasn't new to having to start over, except this time there weren't planned socials for me to meet new friends or extracurriculars I could sign up for with the hopes of leaving with free pizza and a new friend.

Leaving my best friends had to be the hardest transition, with no one to run errands with or invite out on a Friday night. You don't get used to not knowing a single soul, and after a while, you began to give up on the idea of finding a new group of friends.

I can honestly say I haven't really found a group of people in DC yet that I can truly call friends, and it sucks, but it's the sacrifice I've made. That and giving up 50% of my income to keep a roof over my head.

Related Post: Things You Miss When You Move Away From Your Small Town

Shows like How I Met Your Mother and New Girl glamorize living in the city, and especially sugar coat what it's like to have roommates in your twenties. This year I decided I would do everything in my power to live on my own, and while it was possible, the struggle is very much real.

Quitting my job and praying I'd find a better paying one fast, renting a studio and putting up with pipes that smell like rotten eggs are just some of the challenges I face on a daily basis. But I try to not dwell on the price of rent or the fact that I'm just not clicking with the crowd in DC, cause I am living the exact life I pictured when I caught my flight to the East Coast. Sure it took a year before I found a decent paying job and semi affordable apartment, but hey, it was worth waiting for.

The point of all of this was to remind you that life isn't as simple as all those listsicles make it out to be, people who travel often than you are most likely broke and lonely half the time, and it's perfectly normal to have to settle for less for a greater purpose. So ignore people who tell you how it's so important to be single in your twenties or move to a new city, do what works for you, because at the end of the day nobody's happiness is more important than your own.

Have you ever made a major life change to be happier overall? What's the biggest risk you've taken, and did it work out in the end? 



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10 comments

  1. None of the big risks I've taken to move out of my hometown worked out but I'd do it all again in a heartbeat.

    I don't think moving back to your hometown guarantees that you'll have a group of friends waiting for you. I was less lonely living in a town where I knew no one vs living in my hometown where old friends are happy to see me but are too "busy" to hang out.

    Despite the challenges it's cool that you've found a rhythm that works for you in DC.

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    1. I totally agree, I've always been much lonelier in my hometown with all the moves I've made around the country causing me to lose contact with old friends.

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  2. Your post definitely helped me out a bit! I've been going back and forth between moving to a big city (when the right job comes along) or staying somewhat local, saving money for a year or two--then making my move to a city (Dream cities would be Pittsburgh or Chicago). After I visited D.C. this summer, I dreamed of living there--but I know the expenses are insane. Congrats for being brave to make the move and live out your dreams! Good luck with finding your place in a new area, and I promise things will get better :)

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    1. DC is very hard to live in sometimes but it was my dream since visiting in the 8th grade lol. It is really hard to make a move, especially how I did with no job or friends, but the benefit is that big cities always have places that are hiring, so finding work isn't as difficult once you're settled in :)

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  3. Wow! I wouldn`t have made that choice. It has to be sooo hard without your friends there!

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    1. It's not always so bad, but it can suck to not have someone to take with you to an event you're dying to go to

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  4. I saw the title of this post and instantly connected, on so many levels! I randomly moved to DC 2 years ago after college. I knew 2 people in the city and left my family and friends behind in college. I will be honest, it takes a while to make DC feel like home. It takes a while to make friends, at least a strong core friend group. But it is completely worth it. It has been the hardest thing I've ever done and also the best thing I've ever done! You can do it, girl!

    Amanda
    http://anchoredtosunshine.com/

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    1. I completely agree, I've made friends but not the type I had in college. I'm trying to spend less time at home with my TV so hopefully soon DC will feel more like it should. Moving here wasn't hard at all, but staying has been a serious struggle at times...

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  5. moving somewhere you know no one can be super tough. it's a huge risk, but those are the things that always have the biggest rewards too. best of luck to you!

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    1. Thank you so much! Moving here I had no worries, it wasn't until I landed that I was like, oh crap, I have no idea what Im doing lol

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