MyLife in Metro DC – New Beginnings

11 Jun
June 11, 2010

When you decide to embark on the tumultuous journey of finding the perfect job, it can feel like a cycle of lost hope and endless rejection.  It’s like going through a bad break up… on a weekly basis.

“What do you mean I’m not good enough?  Why won’t he call me back? Does this mean you want to see other people?”

And then, right when you’ve reached rock bottom, when you are ready to settle for mediocrity, to work as one of the masses in a dead end job, it happens.

As you stare defeated at your computer screen, hidden behind the banner ads and posts for terrible sales jobs, you find it.  The endless hours submitting applications and scrolling through job posts suddenly all seems worth it; you’ve found – the ONE.

You walk down the street to your interview, birds start chirping, everyone stops to say “hello,” the Starbuck’s barista even gives you your coffee for free.  This is it, the day you knew would one day come, the day you’ve been waiting for – Utopia found.

There is nothing better than this feeling; all your hard work has finally paid off.  For me, as I floated around on my cloud of euphoria, I quickly remembered accepting the perfect job meant moving to Metro DC.  From past experiences, I knew finding the perfect city to call “home” was just as challenging as finding the perfect job…thus my journey continued…

Choosing Your Perfect City

Trying to decide on what area of a new city to live in is an extremely important decision. The area you choose can totally influence how comfortable you are, shape the first experiences you have in your new city and affect your overall happiness– this makes it crucial you pick the right place.

I was very fortunate during this part of my journey.  A huge benefit of moving to DC was that I already knew plenty of people in the city.  This was extremely helpful when it came to finding the perfect part of the city to call home.  I thought about the cities my friends lived in, the ones I enjoyed visiting and started calling old friends and classmates to find out how they liked where they were currently living.  From these chats, I came up with the three most important things for me to consider when picking my new city.

1)  Traffic – Morning commutes in Metro DC can be some of the worst in the country! My office is near Tysons Corner, which as many know can be a maze of endless traffic that stretches on for miles.  I knew living in Tysons wasn’t where I wanted to be, so I was looking for other cities that had a “reverse” commute.”  (In Metro DC, this means it only takes 30 minutes to go 5 miles instead of over an hour…)

2)  “Walkability” – There’s something irresistible to me about having everything you could possibly need within a few blocks from your house.   I love being able to park my car on a weekend and not see it again until Monday.  Being able to walk to everywhere, to the grocery store, friend’s houses, bars and restaurants was critical in my city choice.

3)  Active – I’m a 26 year old single female.  I was moving to a new city, wanted to meet lots of new people and was not ready for the “burbs” (and don’t know if I ever will be…).  I wanted to find a city that had an energetic social scene with people my age and lots of options of things to do.

For me, Arlington became a clear winner.  It’s a quick (again quick in DC is a relative term) reverse commute on 66 West to Tysons, you can walk everywhere (if you can’t, you can just hop on the metro), and there is an abundance of “20 somethings” living in the area that partake in the endless choices of happy hour specials.  The next chapter of my journey was now complete and I hopped back on my cloud and floated happily along.

New City – Check.

My advice to you – Come up with a list of three or four characteristics that are critical for your new city, then start researching.  Talk to your friends, family members, and new coworkers.  Google cities until you can Google no more.  As you do this, places will start to eliminate themselves, leaving you with a few great options.  Before making the “big move,” visit these places and see which city fits you best. I guarantee one will stand out from the rest and be perfect location for you to call “home.”

-  Kristin

Sunset in Georgetown overlooking my new city - Arlington

Up next:  Finding a Condo and Making the “Big Move”

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