I have a few minutes before picking up Steph from her last day at work. I'm sitting on the floor in our packed-up apartment contemplating life.
Wanted to capture some thoughts around what I've learned from living in DC for a year.
In Johnson City, I surmised the world was bigger. I suspected that there was more to a career, connections, and adventure than small-town Johnson City. Don't get me wrong. I absolutely LOVED me some JC. We lived there for four years. We lived in DC only one -- that should tell you something.
Coming to DC, my suspicions were confirmed. The world is bigger. There is a lot more going on. My eyes were opened to a world of opportunity and of endless people to meet, events to go to, sites to see, and places to eat. From the monuments to the bars, to the meetups and the happy hours. Even church -- our pastor is Jordan Kauflin, the son of Bob Kauflin, the founder of Sovereign Grace Ministries. Everything was greater.
Life in Johnson City, Tennessee compared to life in Washington, DC is like dating compared to marriage. The actions, emotions, conversations, and relationship is largely the same in both -- but when you get married, it becomes the REAL DEAL. Everything is greater in marriage. The intimacy, the depth of knowledge, the desperation for faith, the need for community, the commitment and sacrifice: it's much bigger in marriage. Deeper, richer, and more fascinating. It's the same for Washington, DC to Johnson City for me.
Because there's so much to do, DC is exhausting. Between traffic, cost of living (our rent was $1600), finding parking, and longer work hours, DC life required more planning and effort than a place like Johnson City.
Almost everyone in DC is ambitious. They're driven in some way. It's the capital of the United States, they care about something enough to live there.
I'm over the politics. I never cared about it much before I came, and now as I leave, I feel about the same. Half the people you meet either work for the government or the government is their client.
I worked at an awesome creative digital agency called Viget. I will always remember Viget as the most awesome place to work with smart people who do great work that costs an arm and a leg. But I learned how an agency works, and I learned it from the best, and for that, I will always be grateful. I learned an agency job is not for me, because it feels semi-parasitical. In other words, an agency only thrives when other companies -- hosts, if you will -- thrive and can afford a premium partner. I I also learned that a sales job is not for me. Well, not entirely. I very much enjoy sales and will always do it in every role I have, but a purely sales job is underutilization. The best salespeople, I think, are the ones doing the work because they believe in it and see it first hand.
Museums are exhausting. You'd think living five minutes away it would be a high priority to see them all, but no. Just no. We found that we only visited "the sites" when friends and family from out of town wanted to see them. Which was perfect.
I remember telling my former boss and mentor in Johnson City that I believed God was going to use me to reach the "successful" business types and show them that deep-down, it's not enough. Success isn't enough and only breeds unhappiness. The mission I believed God gave me was to expose this lie and show ambitious people the rest and unconditional love God has for them. Did it happen? Erhm. It's not a black-and-white answer. No, I didn't stand on the street corner and evangelize to the suits walking on the sidewalk. I didn't spread tracks on the metro. I found that I grappled with my own faith when it came to living for me or living for God. The bible warns against selfish ambition, but it supports doing good works out of love for others. The book What's Best Next is an incredible resource to me at this stage in my life and I'd recommend it to anyone reading this. Don't feel bad for being ambitious and don't stop going for it. But don't let it rule you either. City life and the ambition that electrifies it is a thrill, but, just like money and technology, it can lead you down a dark path just as fast as it can lead you to your knees.
I'm extremely thankful for this chapter in my life. I've learned a lot more than I can put in a blog post. Now, on to the next chapter, starting with Phoenix, Arizona!