I realize that I haven’t been writing, giving you the delicious tidbits of my expat existence as you sit in your cubicle, daydreaming of escaping to some foreign land and then returning to online shopping or your annoying boss. The big news, folks, is that I have returned to the first world and the remains of my former life. This just means I am back in DC and living in my beautiful, extremely spacious (and extremely expensive) first world apartment replete with every modern convenience known to man. This is not really a permanent move but a strategic moment in the shift of the weather to figure out some stuff. Or for those of you new to the game - it is summer here in the north.
I have been about town a fair amount in the last week for meetings and other stuff, which means that I’ve been running into people left and right. People who look at me and exclaim, “Wow, you look great! How are you?” and then sometimes they ask again, filling up the awkwardness between us when I cannot tell some of them the same (some of you look fabulous, really) because the majority look tired and sallow from too many hours under the florescent lights, fighting the ego laced turf battles that define a large part of Washington life. I can’t decide if they keep saying this because they have nothing to say to me, feeling that I have detached myself too far from the matrix to understand anything or that they are so deeply into the matrix that they cannot even see a glimmer of light from the outside of it. Or maybe it’s true that the last two years of avoiding winter, struggling to find work, and living a life a little less predictable have all agreed with me.
Either way, some of these reunions have been a little bit painful. As I walk away, I often think about how lucky I am to have escaped. Now don’t get me wrong – there is another kind of comfort and pleasure that my friends are getting in that other life. Sometimes I wistfully dream of a day when I am not worried about a bank balance that is in a downward spiral that would rival the stock market circa September 2008, where I will live in the next few months, my lack of 401K contributions -- a life somewhat more secure than my somewhat (at times) precarious existence.
Ultimately, security is an illusion most of the time anyway- something we convince ourselves exists as to not feel like daily life is a precipice. Just don’t look down.