Washington, DC and I just celebrated our two year anniversary. It feels like just yesterday that I packed up my life in Atlanta and boarded a plane. And it also feels like a lifetime ago. In May of 2015, I could count the number of friends I had in this town on one hand. Almost all my knowledge of DC came from The West Wing, and I had never lived on my own before. My word. I was such a baby.
I moved here for one job. A job as a Special Assistant (a title that sounded straight out of The West Wing, and made me feel so fancy) at a committee. I quit that job after just six weeks, and went to work at Georgetown. So right away, any plan that I thought I had in place went right out the window. Those first six weeks were rocky, but that first job brought me to DC, and led me to Irene, so I certainly wouldn’t change a thing about that.
I really picked quite a time to live in DC. My apartment is less than a mile and a half from the White House. For the first year and a half that I lived here, I’d walk to the White House all the time just to be near our President. I got to visit the East and West Wings of the White House, and the White House Gardens. These days I’d give anything to get far, far away from the President. I hate to say it, but I have less faith in the political process than ever before. Luckily I get to spend my days surrounded by students who are committed to turning this ship around. I hope that in another two years, or maybe it’ll be four years, things will be different politically.
Visiting the White House isn’t the only thing I’ve gotten to check off my bucket list since I got to DC. I’ve lived through two White House Correspondent’s Dinner weekends. Attended the historic 2016 Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Been quoted in The Washington Post and spotted in POLITICO Playbook! I will be 90 years old and still pinching myself about all the amazing once in a lifetime experiences I’ve had these past two years.
When I pictured moving to DC, I thought occasionally I might get to walk past a Congressman on the Hill. Or ride in an elevator with some random Senator. I could never have imagined that two years later I’d have formed relationships, and even friendships, with some of the smartest people in this town.
The funny thing is that I’ve met plenty of ‘famous’ people these last two years, but for the most part, the ‘famous’ people haven’t been who I’ve been most impressed by (except Madeleine Albright who is every bit as incredible as you’d imagine). That’s a little bit of a bummer to Hanna of two years ago. But the good news is, for every person who’s been a little bit of a disappointment, there are so many more people who I’ve been honored to meet and become friends with and who impress me every day with their smarts, humbleness, and commitment to public service. I was so easily impressed two years ago. Less so now, which is a good thing. And a sad thing.
Personally I’ve grown so, so much in two years. Did I mention that I’d never lived on my own before? While I miss being close to family in Atlanta, building my own life, choosing my own apartment and decorating it from scratch, that’s been some of my favorite stuff these last two years. It helps that I can hop on a flight and get from my office to my parent’s house in Atlanta in four hours.
My dating life has been nothing short of exciting these last two years. I’ve met so many people. So, so many people. Lately it feels like I can’t go anywhere without running into at least one person I’ve gone out with. However, it’s been tough to realize that people can be so smart in some ways, and so dumb in others. I’ve never met so many people who are professionally brilliant and personally Most days I feel like I’ve made approximately zero progress in that area, but I try and remind myself of all that I’ve learned about myself through the ups and downs.
It’s May of 2017 now, and I’m a different person. For better or for worse, I’ll never be the same girl that stepped off the plane at DCA. The other day a friend told me that when they think of that me of two years ago, the thing they remember most is how many questions I asked. It makes me smile to think of that girl with all the questions and no idea what was to come personally or politically in the next two years. She and I have come so far! I have no idea where I will be two years from now. Literally no idea. But if the next two years hold even half as much adventure as the last two have, I’ll count myself a lucky girl.
Thank you to everyone who has supported and encouraged me over the last two years!