Most Washingtonians can empathize with my biggest pet peeve. It’s a conversation — And it goes something like this:
New person making small talk (not from around here): Where do you live?
New person: Oh, like Northern Virginia? (Then they probably mention something about how swell it would be to live near a mall like Tysons, which — purely a reflex — makes my eyes roll.)
Me: No. Like, DC.
Then comes the look of confusion.
“Oh I didn’t know people actually live in D.C…”
When I moved to the area four years ago, I didn’t know people actually live in DC, either. In fact, I was told that no one stays in DC for long.
“It’s a transient city,” I would hear.
Someone once described DC as a layover for the young, well-educated and eager types who want to “change the world” or “dip their feet in politics” before moving out to the suburbs to get married and make babies.
That was only four years ago. And the sad thing is, that sentiment still stands.
What is even more upsetting, is that I often hear that phrase, “transient city,” repeated by people who live in this city that I call “home,” not “hub.”
It’s time to put an end to that misconception. Because DC is not a transient city. It’s an amazing place to live — and especially now.
DC is a city in which one can find a job, start a business and start a family.
District residents can eat at a new restaurant every week, catch live music at an endless number of venues and watch theatre in the same neighborhood where the country’s political theatre takes place.
Without leaving city limits we can kayak on two rivers, cheer on five professional sports teams, go on a hike, take a bike ride and walk among the nation’s monuments.
DC is rich in history and promises a bright future. It’s creative, it’s vibrant and it’s on the move.
Now, what about that list sounds transient?
In the past, the most “desirable” places to live in the District were often too expensive for those not making millions.
Now, areas formerly viewed as “a little too far from downtown” are attracting younger demographics, along with small and local businesses.
Neighborhoods and communities have always existed in the District. But a sense of community — especially among the young who move here without intentions to stay — is really taking root.
What people used to see as abandoned and disjointed sections of the city are seeing a revival in their playgrounds, their public schools and public works.
It would be naive of me to stand here and say that all of DC is perfect. There are still a lot of problems here. Many neighborhoods in the city need more funding, added jobs, better teachers, access to grocery stores and lower crime rates.
But looking at how much things have shifted in the last several years, I see nothing but hope — and love — for the District.
When I look at this city, I don’t see transient, I don’t see temporary. I see home.