Celebrating 6 Months in DC! | My Top 50 Tips for Adulting in DC

Oh my goodness…time sure does fly when you keep yourself busy! I was looking to my calendar the other day and realized that I just celebrated 6 months as a resident of our Nation’s Capital! What?! Coming from someone that has questioned my decision of moving away from all things familiar almost every single day since I’ve been here, I’m counting this milestone as a huge victory. I’ve had my fair share of amazing victories, beautiful days, and incredible memories. I’ve also had my fair share of the lowest of lows. Of the moments that just kind of leave you sobbing in the shower when you’re finally alone with your thoughts as you hope and pray that this thing called life gets a little easier over time. We’ve all been there.

I’ve learned so much over these last couple of months. And so, I compiled a list of my not-so-essential items necessary to survive young-adulthood in DC. Have anything you want to add to the list? Comment below!

  1. When moving into a new apartment, it is absolutely necessary to tour it in person prior to moving.
  2. If you can find a complex that includes utilities with your rent, it makes life about 1,000x easier.
  3. Craigslist is a perfectly valid way to connect with a new roommate.
  4. Watching the sunrise on the mornings where you have to be up well before the crack of dawn makes the wakeup call worth it.
  5. If you have to be awake before 5AM, set at least three alarms, just in case.
  6. Walk left. Stand right. Always.
  7. The metro is probably one of the most unreliable pieces of public transit out there. Give yourself a good 45 minutes to get anywhere that should be 15 minutes away.
  8. If you’re driving, remember it has often taken over an hour to drive just 6 miles. Leave early.
  9. If you need to park near DCA, reserve parking online at a near-by hotel a few weeks in advance. You can take the hotel’s airport shuttle straight to your terminal while saving lots of money in the process.
  10. Keep a pen and a small pad of paper in your glove box. Odds are, you will hit a car, or three, when trying to squeeze into a tight garage spot/parallel park.
  11. If you are using a traffic circle frequently, save yourself some anxiety and memorize it’s lane layers and exits.
  12. If you don’t have a traffic circle memorized, pray you get stuck at the red light right before the circle. Open up Google Maps on your phone, zoom into your current location, and check for the correct exit. (Can you tell traffic circles are not my best friend?)
  13. Cling to the people that are there for you with a death grip, and don’t be afraid to ask for advice.
  14. Don’t forget to call home.
  15. Don’t call home so much that your mom thinks you’re dying.
  16. Call your grandparents every once and a while. They’ll appreciate it more than you realize.
  17. You will often get to a shoot or event and get a super terrible sinking feeling in your stomach when you realize you left an SD card in the port on your computer. Keep a spare memory card (or three) in your wallet at all times, just in case.
  18. Back up your computer’s hard drive daily.
  19. It is possible to work 15 hours straight without accomplishing a single thing.
  20. It is also possible to check off about 100 things from your to-do list in just about 30 minutes.
  21. Network. Network. Network.
  22. Even if you think you will remember, write each and every single thing down AND add them to your calendar, just in case.
  23. Keep a bag of fresh veggies and/or nuts in your purse at all times…you never know when your schedule will change, knocking your dinner time out the window. Driving in DC traffic is so not fun, especially when you are hangry.
  24. If you are trying to stick to a budget, shopping at Trader Joe’s is the way to go. (I’m looking at you, $2.99 bottles of wine.)
  25. If you don’t want to spend a fourth of your paycheck on a grapefruit and some gluten free tortillas, avoid Whole Foods at all costs.
  26. BUT, if you are looking for a quick lunch hot/salad bar, Whole Foods is a great option.
  27. Cava is a valid alternative to Chipotle. Sometimes.
  28. El Rey’s tacos can seriously hold their own against TexMex.
  29. If you’re running in the city in the summer, it gets really hot. Figure out where the Starbucks are, and plan your route around at least one. Fun fact: they’ll give you free ice water.
  30. Starbucks will also give you hot water for free. Save yourself a little money and pack your own tea bags!
  31. You will meet the coolest or the strangest people in an Uber Pool. Either way, make an effort to get to know your driver & fellow passengers.
  32. Driving through Georgetown at any time of day is not an option.
  33. Parking in Georgetown at any time of day is also not an option.
  34. Avoid K Street at lunch time. Always.
  35. Avoid parking in Chinatown at rush hour.
  36. Odds are, you will get lost before finding 95% of all new locations.
  37. When running (or driving) in the city, stick to the grid system.
  38. Whether it’s meal prep, playlisting for fitness classes, or sending emails on time, planning ahead is key.
  39. The DC DMV is a complicated and terrifying world. Most likely, you will receive 6-10 parking tickets before figuring out how to register your car. If you don’t you’re lucky. If you’re not lucky, don’t let it ruin your day.
  40. Even though you live in the land of free museums and endless things to do, most likely, tourists have done more in the city than you have.
  41. Start a journal about the good, the bad, and the hilarious. This transitional season of life is crazy but beautiful, and it is so cool to see how much you grow each and every day.
  42. Set time aside for yourself each day. If each day isn’t possible, make sure you save time for yourself at least once a week.
  43. You will have more bad days than good. On the bad days, eat a pizza, take a hot shower, and learn from it.
  44. If that doesn’t work, buying a new plant is a surefire way to turn your day around.
  45. You will accumulate a lot of new plants in 6 months time. Treat them like your adopted family.
  46. Set some crazy big goals. Map out a plan to achieve said goals. Break said plan into baby steps & Stick to said baby steps.
  47. You are younger than you think. Give yourself lots grace.
  48. Don’t let your age intimidate you. Just because you are young does not mean that you can’t dream big.
  49. On that note, You will fail more times than you succeed.
  50. But, don’t ever quit working towards your daydream.

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