Some of you are reading the title and scratching your heads. Why would anyone want to escape from the DC area when seemingly all the jobs are here? Why would someone want to run away from the free museums, shopping malls, metro (when it actually works and the escalators aren’t down), humidity, traffic, and a fast way of life?
Well, you’re right about the job. Especially if you work for the federal government, DC is the place to be. Free museums are nice but you can only go so many times before you’ve seen everything. Humidity doesn’t serve you well if it’s only going to aggravate you and cause you to be irritable towards everyone. As for the city’s fast pace, who says you have to speed it up? Trying to emulate a New Yorker is not going to add years to your life.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that regardless of what goes on in the rest of our nation (i.e. recession, unemployment, etc), we seem to make it through the elements unscathed. After all, we’re still employed. We still have money to spend at the mall. We still keep our gym membership and personal training sessions. Someone in a different boat would suggest that we cut out our “privileges.” In a practical sense, that someone would be right. But in a realistic sense, that someone would be wrong. Because see, we can’t give up our $90 sneakers and Starbucks addictions because those liberties are what we rely on to make ourselves feel better and they serve as our escape.
Let’s look at a typical workday for a lot of people. The stress begins when the alarm goes off at an insanely early time because of the 1+ hour commute to work. During that 1+ hour, the train is delayed or traffic is slow due to endless ongoing construction or an accident caused by some moron. Some people are so stressed by the time they get to work that they have to go to Starbucks to get their coffee. Others who skip coffee wait until lunchtime to go to the gym to escape the office for a while. Yet others who get constantly annoyed by their boss or co-workers (or both) plug their earphones into their iPod to tune everyone out. By the end of the day, people feel drained and aggravated. There are people who will go straight to the bar on a Monday afternoon. It may not be the best solution, but for them, it’s a temporary escape. There are others who will relieve their stress at the mall…not because they necessarily need anything, but because being there makes them feel better. Rinse and repeat.
Think about it, when you already have so much unnecessary aggravation and stress to deal with throughout the day, you will look for some kind of escape. Because if you don’t get it, you feel like putting on your $90 sneakers and running as far away as they will take you. And once you arrive at your escape (or “happy place”), you realize that those sneakers are worth their weight in gold.