Saturday, February 2, 2008

Winds of Change

Here I am, with a glass (or so) of red wine, about to recount the nuclear option I recently decided to pull on my life.

This is Kim's Colorado Countdown - or my thoughts on leaving a life in the nation's capitol for a life in the nation's playground.

The beginning:

My move back West has been a perfect storm brewing for a while now. I've been in D.C. for seven years - leaving on my eighth - and how long I would stay has always been in question. However, forever has never been an option. I always knew I would head back West, but I didn't know when that would be. Turns out it's within the next 30 days.
The thing about D.C. is it sucks you in. From the endless, upward bound jobs you can pad your resume with to the unending list of things to entertain yourself with, not to mention the sheer fact that you're living in the Capitol of the United States of America...and for a history buff like me, this is an absolute dream come true.

But, as the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end. I've spent most of my 20s in D.C., and as I enter a new decade of my life I have the itch to experience something new.

So, here I go...with no job, and no real plan but to live with my best friend of about 16 years in Colorado...

The first 24 hours of my decision were touch and go. I didn't know when I would break into tears - I was lucky to make it five minutes! I even bought waterproof mascara to shield me from any unexpected waterworks. But, as the minutes tick by I become more and more ok with my decision. That's because I know it's the right one. It's just a hard one.

You see, I've LOVED this city. Every nook and cranny...from the Love Cafe on U St., to the up and coming bars/restaurants on H St., or any other D.C. neighborhood, to the "Good Morning Man," in front of Union Station, to the way the light shines from the Capitol signifying they're still in session, to the way Lincoln presides over the Mall, to the rowers on the Potomac on my early morning runs, to the row houses that make you just see the Colonials walking the streets, to the smell of my local coffee house roasting coffee beans, to the way my peony blooms in my community garden, to the Bishop's Garden and the prayer rooms at the National Cathedral, to the white lights adorning my favorite tree in the city, to having a martini at Utopia, to hunting old books at Second Story, to Sunday mornings sipping tea and reading the Post in my breakfast nook, to Cups coffee shop trips in the Senate, to dancing late night with drinks from Edgar at the Hawk, to the church bells that ring all around me on Sunday mornings, to the chess players in Dupont Circle, to singing karaoke at Peyote, or Rockit Grill, or any other karaoke venue in the greater D.C. metro area, to the aging 1600 sign on my building, to the High Heel Races, to yearly orchard trips, to my favorite antiques store outside Leesburg, to Virginia wineries and The Railstop in The Plains, to the way the yellow paint on my walls changes shades depending on the sun's mood, to 24 hour weekends at Kramerbooks, to driving past major monuments on my way to Target for toothpaste, to Eastern Market Saturdays, to the all-you-can-eat Cherry Blossom sushi buffet at Sushi Taro, to a brunch of a bagel and cream cheese with lox at The Java House (the same place as the roasting beans), to the way the sky looks different every day around the Washington Monument, to how close you feel to the White House on the north side of the building, to having to change your running route because the president's helicopters are landing between the Lincoln and WWII, to my FAVORITE running strip on the Independence side of the Lincoln, and to the way the sky looks as I'm running that strip, to the Go Out Gurus and the Thursday edition of the City Guide, to happy hours at Rosemary's Thyme, to E. St. Cinema and the recently closing Dupont cinema, to a life-changing discovery of Splenditos at Helix, to ice skating at the National Gallery followed by hot toddies at the Tabbard, to UW watch parties at Crystal City, to finding a country dancing haven at Nick's, to COWPIE, to the sound of the geese and ducks on the pond between the WWII and Lincoln, to the Weeping Willow I pass right there while I'm running...goodness! I could go on. Especially if I started including all the personal memories and stories! This would become a run-on blog indeed!

The point is: I've had a lot of time to notice, experience, and LOVE the elbows and knees of D.C., or the otherwise not outright beautiful or obvious parts of the city... the parts only a person truly in love could appreciate - right down to the homeless villages around McPherson.

But, the time has come for a new love affair. I know it'll be hard to replace or compare some of the above, but I've got to try.'s to all the places I didn't mention but still love. Here's to all the memories not mentioned at's to my D.C.


Stacey said...

Kimberly, I know that you love D.C. and I am happy that I finally got a chance to visit while you still lived there. I think that you will find all of these things you love about Colorado too only in a different way. Though Denver is SUPER crowded, you are going from cramped D.C. to wide open spaces (as the Dixie Chicks would sing!) Your post though sounds like a eulogy! You shouldn't look at leaving D.C. as a dying part of your life!

Kelly said...

You're making me miss D.C. for you. You have so many friends and aquaintances there that you'll no doubt have plenty of excuses to visit from time to time. Unless you're like me with Wyoming/Colorado and the thought of returning only to leave it behind again is something you can't bear. :)

Betsy said...

Well Kim I must say that you almost brought me to tears with this one. I miss DC so much since I left to come to Miami. Who knows what life has in store for me but I guess we will have to wait and see. Love and miss you and let it be known that I will be coming to visit so you better keep in touch!

Chad said...

Kim - your description of DC is so poignant. Nearly ALL of those things went through my mind as I packed up my house for the last time just a little over one year ago. After 20 years in DC, I had all the same emotions, all the same sentimental thoughts, the same wonderment that such a fantastic place can exist. But you are spot on when you say it sucks you in. While DC for singles is a GREAT place, I fear very much that DC for families in the VA suburbs is much less than so many other places. WOW, do I miss the sparkling martinis, endless array of lounging options, coffee shops, and infinite time sucks, but I sure don't miss the stolen bikes. Or the lost mail. Or the vandalism. Or the parking tickets. Or the hassle to get just about anything actually done. As much as I miss my friends, my old neighborhood, and my house - there's a lot I don't miss. Good luck with your packing and moving!! See you in Colorado.

Chad said...
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Greg said...


That's a pretty impressive list you've created. I hope everything works out for you in Colorado.