Do you like where you live? Would you live somewhere else if you could?
For almost 18 years I’ve lived at several addresses in what the demographers call the Washington DC suburbs and exurbs; and just a little further north in the Baltimore area for 9 years before that. My feelings about this region run the full spectrum from love to hate. As I begin plans to move again in the next couple of months I imagined where I’d choose if I could live anywhere instead of the forthcoming one-county relocation and I thought about the pros and cons of living here in the mid-Atlantic.
Places I seriously considered at various times in the past decade or two include Asheville and the Outer Banks, both in North Carolina, Dallas, where I lived before Maryland, Flagstaff, Arizona because it felt good the one time I visited, and New Orleans, where I grew up. None of those are practical for me at this point and maybe never. The two in North Carolina were both on my ‘early retirement’ hit list but I’ve been screwed out of so much money in the past ten years that I’m convinced I’ll never retire.
So, what about the DC area? First, the good stuff: it is the center of power in the universe, the capitol of a great country and the world center of freedom. The monuments are amazing and you feel a sheer sense of awe and living history as you walk around the National Mall. There is culture, sports, music, diversity; numerous stellar universities, medical facilities, museums and parks. We’ve got a team for every sport and two of the sports facilities are state-of-the-art. Metro rail.
The bad stuff: it is the center of power-hungry egos in the universe. Traffic is a nightmare. Many people are rude and many others are way too self-important. It is very expensive to live here, mostly due to unrealistically high real estate prices. The region is geographically spread out, which means it takes forever to get anywhere. A by-product of the sprawl and the traffic is that people are often too busy to commit to social activities or are so over-committed that they don’t have time to add another thing.
So why live here? For me, the good stuff outweighs the bad.
Would I live anywhere else? Yes, either of my NC faves, but leaving here for either would be a tough decision and is unlikely to happen. So I visit those whenever I can.
The part of all this I am most grateful is that I have the option to make this choice. Not all of us have that option.