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Old 05-15-2010, 07:10 AM
 
Location: Dudes in brown flip-flops
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alanboy395 View Post

As for RestonRunner, I think he should just cut and run away from NoVA. He is in no better time period of his life than now to cut his losses and bite the bullet. I know he is absolutely miserable here and while moving will definitely not solve all of his problems (that I agree with you on) a change of scenery can help.
Agreed.

However, I think Pittsburgh would make more sense than Winchester. Why would you spend 3-4 hours a day commuting to a job filled with people who live in towns you hate, only to come home to a place where your dating (and most likely socializing, if what everyone says about Winchester's lack of young people is true) prospects were nil?

Pittsburgh's economy may not be in the best shape, but I would keep applying for jobs there until I got one that seemed bearable. Pittsburgh has young people, living there wouldn't require 100 miles a day in the car (I'm not sure how that qualifies as living a sustainable life, btw), and I can even vouch for the existence of gay people there.
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Old 05-15-2010, 08:11 AM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,101 posts, read 67,188,022 times
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A few points I'd like to touch upon:

1.) Denton56 is correct in that I was beaming with excitement when I first moved to Northern Virginia. However, this was purely due to my enthusiasm for the position which I had been offered, the opportunity to get some breathing room from my parents so I could actually spread my wings and date, and I will admit I was a bit "fake excited" in a sense to try to make my parents respect me and feel proud of me. Ever since they found out about my "personal preferences", if you will, back at age 17 things just haven't been the same between us, causing me to feel very insecure, and I thought proving to them I could use my great grades in college to land a promising career in a large city would finally give them a reason to brag about me instead of deferring uncomfortably whenever I came up in casual conversation with colleagues, fellow church congregants, family friends, neighbors, etc. I now realize that the zeal I once had for my job has been totally zapped out of me by depression from realizing I do not like my geographic surroundings, the epiphany of realizing that my small-town naivety and kindness was being targeted and taken advantage of by people whom I thought I could trust down here, and finally having to admit the largest part of this move wasn't for me but was for them. I now sit here reflecting upon all of this and to say I'm downright miserable is an understatement. I know I need to take drastic corrective measures before I fall into such a dark place as I had earlier this year that I may be gone for good.

2.) I'm not your typical "young gay single." At age 23 most, if not all, of my friends here (at least those who haven't left me yet because my depression has been a "buzzkill") only care about drinking, and as someone who literally can't tolerate much alcohol without instantly feeling a buzz or falling ill (along with having seen how drinking nearly destroyed my own family) it has not been a pleasant experience for me. I worked full-time through college to shift as much of a financial burden for my education away from my parents as I could, and, as such, I never drank. Now I feel so "left out" being the "oddball" who refuses to drink. I feel like for most social functions I only get invited out to serve as a designated driver, but I can safely say that once all of my friends each get a few drinks in them and start to get tipsy the evening is no longer fun for me. I end up feeling like a sober prisoner, sitting alone silently sometimes for hours while everyone else drinks up like a fish. Before I fell ill inside I was befriending numerous people twice (or more) my age because that is where my intellectual level truly sits. I was the only male, let alone the only one under 40, at my church's book club. I participated in some community input sessions for Reston's master planning process until I got tired of feeling like the only non-NIMBY in the entire place. I became like an "adopted son" to a few from my church. I volunteered to help with used book sales at my community library, and once again I was essentially the only one under 40 (perhaps 35). Issues like volunteerism, politics, literature, current events, urban planning, and other "boring" topics are what drive me. Picture me as a younger version of Al Gore, and perhaps then you can see why I've had such a difficult time fitting in here. I'm not saying an obsession with getting "wasted" twice per week is NoVA-specific (since I'd probably eventually turn into an alcoholic if I lived here alone forever), but with how much intellectual capital is here I just can't believe people would rather spend a Friday night boozing up instead of going to a museum or going to a free jazz concert in a park. I'd imagine this "scene" isn't much better in Winchester, but at least I would have slightly more in common with the elder people whom I'd befriend because we were both raised, overall, with similar blue-collar roots and down-to-earth personas. Here even SOCIALIZING feels "competitive." Folks, having ambition is fine in life, but you shouldn't want to live in a place that constantly feels like "survival of the fittest." I couldn't care less about whom I was "seen" hanging out with and would rather be cast out from society at-large (as I now have been) than to let someone else feel like the unwanted black sheep all alone. I have a feeling I'm going to die alone. That no longer concerns me.

3.) I concur it sounds ludicrous to imply that I could live a relatively green and carbon-neutral lifestyle by walking/biking all over town if I also commuted 100-110 miles per day back-and-forth to work. Leaving at 6:30 AM to get to work for 8 AM and then working until 5 and not getting home until almost 7 PM would not leave me with much time before trotting off to bed to do household chores, run errands, socialize, etc. This is why ideally I'd just throw caution into the wind and be willing to take a pay-cut to work potentially within walking distance of my new home, no longer caring how much people are going to judge me for valuing quality-of-life over professional fame and fortune. I have been flirting with the idea of pursuing an opening in retail management at the Pier 1 Imports store in Winchester that I saw posted recently, using my love of helping people, excellent sales track record, design skills, and hard work ethic to truly do something where I feel like I'm making immediate (albeit small) impacts upon those in my community. What I do now isn't "me." What I do now is what I thought was intended for me. I sit in an office for sometimes 9 hours straight without talking to a soul. I just sit crunching numbers. It offers stability. It offers a paycheck. Shouldn't you want more out of life though? Where I used to work my co-workers felt like family, and to this day if one of them sees a concerning Facebook status of mine I can expect a comment, personal message, text message, phone call, e-mail, etc. with people saying they miss me and hate seeing me down, knowing that I reciprocate that and offer them support as well. Through all of my illness in recent months with very few exceptions the only ones who have really shown any sort of concern for me have been all of my PA friends. In VA my friendships were shallower than I ever could have imagined, and instead of bonding like a true sense of "community" after a year many just thought "not fun enough" and cut me loose. That's the difference I see in the people whom I've met between PA and VA. In PA my friendships were like marriage---"in sickness and in health", "for richer or for poorer", etc. In VA my friendships have been like---"I'm yours as long as I can see myself deriving some sort of benefit from you." I just feel so very used in my life right now. Some people whom I've already done incredible things for here in VA just threw me into the trash can like an old dog's chew toy. I will never understand how someone like me could have craned my neck out for people when I sensed through my own intuition they needed support, but then when push came to shove instead of having that concern reciprocated I was thought of as "too much trouble."

4.) It is indeed quite possible I've just spent this past year having VERY terrible luck with running into people who have merely sought to take advantage of what I had to offer while the "true" NoVA, in general, is filled with compassionate, down-to-earth, salt-of-the-earth souls. Obviously if so many of you defend this place tooth-and-nail as being the best place on Earth in which to reside, then you haven't run into the same luck. In my case four people in particular did some very terrible things to me in January nearly simultaneously that destroyed my faith in humanity. A senseless squabble on this forum escalated to the point of me feeling so harassed and stalked I would have trouble sleeping and would constantly look over my shoulders (all I can do is hope this/these individual(s) has/have seen how much I've suffered since then and can think "the score has been evened.") Now I find myself bitter towards society, living in a car-centric suburb, going to work at a job that my depression has drained me of passion for, and feeling like everyone would be better off with me gone. This feeling is not something I would ever wish upon anyone. At least with something like cancer people have nothing but sympathy for you for suffering through no fault of your own. With severe depression very few honestly understand the condition and merely judge you as being a "drama queen", "not a thick enough skin", "making it all up", or telling you "just smile, damnit." I've learned the hard way that people whom I thought I could respect and trust thought and said some of these very same things about me behind my back, and that has only compounded things for me. The only "escape" I have beyond ultimately having this condition do me in permanently is to find somewhere to get a fresh start in life---somewhere where people don't know who I am, don't know what a terrible person I am, don't wish ill upon me, and where if I don't live up to society's expectations of what someone should be that it honestly won't matter. To me Winchester seems like it foots the bill.

I know this was long, but I was just trying to offer some "background" as to why I feel as if NoVA has been nothing but a mistake for me. I moved here all along hoping that the affirmation and respect I'd gain from my parents, people whom I loved but thought didn't love me back, for taking a leap of faith on a challenging career opportunity would overpower my disdain for the suburban lifestyle. Unfortunately when vicious social circumstances along the way caused me to lose faith in humanity I fell into a depressive and self-deprecating funk that I've now struggled with the entirety of 2010 with no end in sight. Through this past year I've lost most of my friends. My physical health has declined. I've lost passion for anything that I once derived pleasure from (hiking, running, hockey, baseball, etc.) I used to love martyring my own dignity and self-esteem to bring a smile to someone else's face because I told myself it might have been the only time that person had been able to laugh all day. Now? I realize how most people wanted to be near me only because I made them feel better about themselves or ratcheted them up the social ladder. As soon as I fell from that apex those shallow associations all evaporated and people scattered. This is why I say I need to find a place that's less tied to status, career aspirations, and using materiality as a means to help evaluate someone's worth as an individual. I need to find a place where people are more "grounded" and less, pardon my insult, "plastic." For all the warts my hometown of Scranton, PA had with an abysmal educational attainment statistic and people driving 20-year-old beaters at least those people didn't generally have this inflated sense of self-worth. I've never thought I was inherently "better" than anyone else. On the contrary I would often have so much pain inside thinking I wasn't wanted and just didn't belong. That is now how I feel here in NoVA, and I am desperately clawing my way out.
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Old 05-15-2010, 08:28 AM
 
5,071 posts, read 8,615,610 times
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So why exactly did you recently enter into a new lease in Reston? That's the part - after your hundreds of posts criticizing NoVa and singing the praises of places like Pittsburgh and Winchester - I don't get. If you're this aware of what attributes of NoVa exacerbate your unhappiness (and here I agree with Alanboy395 that some areas can aggravate one's unhappiness, even if they aren't the root causes), why sign up for more of the same?

Winchester is nice enough, but it seems to me you're projecting onto Winchester some idealized combination of (1) Scranton, (2) the Truman Show, (3) Mayberry RFD, and (4) Sesame Street.
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Old 05-15-2010, 08:49 AM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,101 posts, read 67,188,022 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
So why exactly did you recently enter into a new lease in Reston? That's the part - after your hundreds of posts criticizing NoVa and singing the praises of places like Pittsburgh and Winchester - I don't get. If you're this aware of what attributes of NoVa exacerbate your unhappiness (and here I agree with Alanboy395 that some areas can aggravate one's unhappiness, even if they aren't the root causes), why sign up for more of the same?

Winchester is nice enough, but it seems to me you're projecting onto Winchester some idealized combination of (1) Scranton, (2) the Truman Show, (3) Mayberry RFD, and (4) Sesame Street.
I signed a new lease in Reston back at the beginning of April, just before I arrived at this conclusion of "sitting around here suffering waiting for the area to improve isn't going to do me any favors inside." Now I can look for someone to take over my lease or pay two month's rent as a "penalty" for early cancellation of my contract. At $2,210, that isn't exactly a small chunk of change. I do feel "trapped" here until I can either finish out the next year or make an arrangement with someone on CraigsList to take over my lease with the understanding that as an "incentive" I'll pay $100/month-$200/month to them each month for taking it over (giving them a year of living in a 1-BR unit for sub-$1,000, which is unheard of in Reston).

Last night I was sitting at a sidewalk cafe (Village Square) in Old Town Winchester, and words can't even express how envious I was of the sense of camaraderie I felt all around me. There were roughly 8 professionals (probably late-20s through early-40s) sitting at a table nearby, and they seemed to share the tight "bonds" of friendship (even if they were just likely colleagues) that I miss from PA. There was a table next to us with what looked like a father, two sons, and their grandmother. They were having a nice dinner out as a family, possibly to celebrate an occasion. Compounding this? Literally half of the people strolling by on the mall recognized someone at this sidewalk cafe and went over to hug, shake hands, high-five, etc. Some even stopped to take a seat and chit-chat with a drink. Many there actually knew the waitress on a first-name basis and asked her about her personal life. People seemed so genuinely happy to see one another, and I got the sense sitting nearby that I've truly lost that in life. People there seemed to love people. I don't see that in Reston, and I blame this on the fact that people are largely jaded due to crowding, traffic congestion, stressful careers, materialism, etc. I see a lot of people looking through people as they chat. I see a lot of people who seem nervous/stressed if they bump into someone they may know at the grocery store. I never got the same sense of "warmth" and "camaraderie" here as I sensed from just last night in Winchester, where I cried a bit last night wishing I could experience something like that again. It was a Friday night. None of these people were drinking (heavily, at least), and none of them seemed pressured to do so in order to "fit in." Nobody seemed to be in a hurry. Everyone who was on the patio was there when I arrived, and they were still there as I left.

No, Winchester may not be "Mayberry." It certainly feels much more hospitable, warm, and compassionate than Reston ever will for me though. Winchester feels "real." Reston doesn't. I really don't know how to actually describe this dichotomy between the two locales so people can understand where I'm coming from. Reston feels like it's still a place trying to "find itself." Winchester feels like it's a place that doesn't need to throw itself "we're so special" festivals/parties the way Reston does all the time in order to pat itself on the back shore up insecurities with image. Winchester makes no apologies for its industrial past and embraces its history. Reston doesn't even have much of a history beyond our founder's "Seven Founding Principles", all of which are now being disavowed instead of embraced. Winchester seems to have this "love it or leave it" attitude, and that's the way I now look at myself---I'm a good person with a few flaws, and if others can't look past those flaws then they're not worth my trouble any longer. Reston seems to have this flashy, almost "poseur"-ish aura about it of "I'm ahead of the curve. I'm special. Look at me." and goes to great lengths to court people. Why?
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Old 05-15-2010, 08:54 AM
 
2,688 posts, read 5,950,700 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RestonRunner86 View Post
I do feel "trapped" here until I can either finish out the next year or make an arrangement with someone on CraigsList to take over my lease with the understanding that as an "incentive" I'll pay $100/month-$200/month to them each month for taking it over (giving them a year of living in a 1-BR unit for sub-$1,000, which is unheard of in Reston).
So do it. Post your ad on Craig's list today.
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Old 05-15-2010, 08:55 AM
 
2,688 posts, read 5,950,700 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeb77 View Post

winchester is nice enough, but it seems to me you're projecting onto winchester some idealized combination of (1) scranton, (2) the truman show, (3) mayberry rfd, and (4) sesame street.
lol.
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Old 05-15-2010, 10:28 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
10,830 posts, read 26,338,550 times
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Some find Winchester to be a bit of a fishbowl, at least according to people I know who grew up there. It's a small place, overall, and I agree that it's a bit idealized in the descriptions presented. That's not a criticism, by far, because it's very easy to do that when you are looking at the negatives of one location in light of positives in another.

Have you considered Charlottesville? Charlottesville is a bit larger, and parts are growing, but it's a great small city, and there are smaller communities nearby that offer even more of a hometown atmosphere. You also would have more employment opportunities in the area, where you could use your education. Housing is not as inexpensive as Winchester, at least in the good parts of Charlottesville, but the salaries are not as low, either. If you want a slightly smaller place, that has a history, and offers proximity to gainful employment, I'd look at Charlottesville, too. You can have a sense of community within your own neighborhood, yet you're not on exhibit to all passers-by. Personally, I like anonymity when I need to run to the store, and have experienced both types of communities, small and large.

And, in the same Charlottesville area, you have Staunton and Waynesboro, that are still relatively close. So, if you were to secure a in Charlottesville, the commute would be nothing like Winchester to Tysons Corner. Charlottesville is also a more sophisticated area, overall, with educated residents, so one is not as likely to encounter provincial attitudes and stereotypes in the immediate vicinity. There are some areas that are from another era far out in the countryside, but not in the city, and its immediate environs.

I would also not place too much stock in the quest for parental admiration. You're an adult and should have an adult relationship with them, not reliving school triumphs when you received praise for everything. Perhaps they are jealous that you got out of a confining environment before being trapped locally. Maybe they had dreams to do the same and didn't, so they're not as thrilled because you took that risk. Whatever the reason, don't dwell on it, and live your life. Right now, I would suggest that you look to the future, and not allow the drudgery of your current situation to negatively influence you. If you have made a decision to move, tape a sign to your front door, inside, that says "I AM MOVING!" so that you see it when you exit. It will remind you of the temporary nature of your current situation; that, with time, will become a mere footnote when you have found the place/position where you feel most at home.

Don't limit yourself to one city right now. See what else is out there that you may like, since it may or may not be Winchester. If you were to take a position that has a low salary, that would affect being able to afford a home, and maintenance, if it's an older one that needs work. Also, such positions can be limiting in that you may not have the resources to be able to relocate to another area, say Pittsburgh, if that's what you wanted to do in five years or so.
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Old 05-15-2010, 11:22 AM
 
Location: Arlington, VA and Washington, DC
23,565 posts, read 33,282,476 times
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Originally Posted by Stephen 81 View Post
Agreed.

However, I think Pittsburgh would make more sense than Winchester. Why would you spend 3-4 hours a day commuting to a job filled with people who live in towns you hate, only to come home to a place where your dating (and most likely socializing, if what everyone says about Winchester's lack of young people is true) prospects were nil?

Pittsburgh's economy may not be in the best shape, but I would keep applying for jobs there until I got one that seemed bearable. Pittsburgh has young people, living there wouldn't require 100 miles a day in the car (I'm not sure how that qualifies as living a sustainable life, btw), and I can even vouch for the existence of gay people there.
Agree. On my ride to KY, I stopped briefly in downtown Pittsburgh and it's not shabby-looking at all.
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Old 05-15-2010, 12:14 PM
 
4,711 posts, read 10,860,588 times
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Originally Posted by Alanboy395 View Post
Agree. On my ride to KY, I stopped briefly in downtown Pittsburgh and it's not shabby-looking at all.
All that means is where you stopped wasn't shabby.

The wife and I went to a wedding in Pittsburgh a few years ago, and we got royally lost trying to find our hotel. We went through some areas that made me wish I had tucked the Glock under the seat.

There are no cities anywhere that don't have bad parts...
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Old 05-15-2010, 01:08 PM
 
5,071 posts, read 8,615,610 times
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Originally Posted by bmwguydc View Post

Have you considered Charlottesville? Charlottesville is a bit larger, and parts are growing, but it's a great small city, and there are smaller communities nearby that offer even more of a hometown atmosphere. You also would have more employment opportunities in the area, where you could use your education. Housing is not as inexpensive as Winchester, at least in the good parts of Charlottesville, but the salaries are not as low, either. If you want a slightly smaller place, that has a history, and offers proximity to gainful employment, I'd look at Charlottesville, too. You can have a sense of community within your own neighborhood, yet you're not on exhibit to all passers-by. Personally, I like anonymity when I need to run to the store, and have experienced both types of communities, small and large.
Charlottesville? RR would come across a lot of folks who think "Mr. Jefferson's University" outranks Kings College (or, for that matter, just about any other institute of higher education), and everyone there would then soon be relegated to the ranks of "poseurs." I don't know that Winchester is Nirvana, but I bet RR would be happier either there or in Pittsburgh than in Charlottesville.

BTW, there's a great article in the Atlantic this month that discusses how the same "quest for the ideal" that consumes RR also characterizes many who live in NYC, who complain about the "Disneyfied," consumer-oriented nature of Manhattan today and pine for what they imagine was an ideal - if short-lived - era in the city's history when lofts in the old industrial buildings could be rented out for a dime and there were still mom-and-pop shops on every other block.

Last edited by JD984; 05-15-2010 at 01:36 PM..
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