I ran away from Washington, DC. I didn’t pick up in the middle of the night, pack my bags, and leave. But, I did runaway. I was bored with the city. Bored with my job. Bored with my life. So when the opportunity presented itself I left.
Returning two years later is a whole unfathomable kind of weird. The moment I stepped off the bus and walked into the Union Station lobby I felt as though I had been transported into some kind of bad dream. Everything was the same, but different. I knew where I was going and how to get there. I didn’t need a map. It was like I had never left. But, then I’d look up at a sign that wasn’t there before or notice that the metro had made improvements or additions and my mind would get confused.
I could give a day-by-day play of my time in DC, but frankly that would be boring. I visited with friends. I went to my old spots. Ate at my old restaurants. Walked as much as I could. At no point did it really feel like I was on vacation. Which isn’t to say it was bad. It just felt like I had come home after a long trip somewhere else.
When you’re away for that long. Away from a world you went to school in, lived in, worked in, a visit is without question an emotional one. I’ve changed a lot in two years. The people I know have changed a lot in two years. And, despite looking the same on the surface the city has changed a lot in two years.
I lived in Washington, DC for five years. No matter where I was in the city my mind was overwhelmed by memories. So much so that at times I needed to take time to visit certain places by myself. To have that personally intimate moment.
I spent the past six months feeling very defensive of DC. Arguing and telling people how awesome it is. I had reached a point where I was ready to go back. Say my peace. Apologize to the city for running away. I went home again. I went home again and discovered that it wasn’t quite the same home. It’s different. I love it all the more for it. But, it serves as a reminder that you can never go home again. You can never go home again because it’s always changing. Despite what we want the world doesn’t stop when we walk—or run—away. It keeps going. You can’t go home again. But, you can certainly appreciate how home has changed.