Happy anniversary to DC me!

One year ago today -- Feb. 3, 2008 -- I was standing in a hallway of a Courthouse apartment building, choking back tears as my parents hugged me goodbye and headed back to Philly. Without boxes. Or plans to return. Or me.

In that moment, my "firsts" list seemed endless: first time on my own as an adult, first time Philly wasn't my homebase, first time I didn't have my car, first job in the nonprofit sector, first job working downtown, first big move since college ...

I was overwhelmed by excitement. And loss. And a profound sense of growing stronger, growing smarter, growing up.

Now it's a year later -- Feb. 3, 2009. I'm sitting at my desk in a Ballston townhome, contemplating how I never in a million years would have predicted my life would look like it does right now (for better AND worse).

Indeed, the "firsts" have been endless: first Cherry Blossom festival, first (and repeated) Kennedy Center visits, first successful attempt at blogging, first substantial salary bump, first website redesign, first city youth group, first time laid off, first "in DC" job search, first DC-area theater production ...

I'm overwhelmed by excitement. And loss. And a profound sense of growing stronger, growing smarter, growing up.


Something's telling me this is exactly where I'm meant to be. Exactly where I will always be. Not DC, per se, but on an evolving path. And in a time of great uncertainty and no-small-amount of personal doubt and worry, I consider this understanding to be a bonafide blessing.

Not to mention it keeps me from drinking in the morning. Well, most mornings. Ok, maybe only on the Lord's day. But still.

Usually in posts like these, you'd wrap up the narrative thread with a look ahead, a question: "Why, wherever will I be on Feb. 3, 2010?" And then some hopeful, overly ambitious predictions would follow, such as "I will singlehandedly cure cancer" or "I will engineer the resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict" or "I will look like Jessica Alba -- without the aid of plastic surgery."

Me, I'll be happy if I can hang the rest of my pictures in my bedroom by 2010. Because, yes, it's been a year and I still haven't finished that. (Obviously, some bigger, more important things have come up.) And if my friends still invite me over, and my family still wants me home for the holidays, and you all still read my blog, then I think those will be signs of success, too.

Happy Anniversary, DC Julia! Many happy returns.

P.S. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the other big milestone happening today -- my parents' 30th anniversary! The couple that was first introduced because "they're both Italian" is going strong three decades, two kids, and one journey later. Have fun, you crazy kids!