Life in DC Year 1: Emotional Health

Posted By Mandi Lindner on Dec 14, 2016 | 0 comments

It’s been far too long since I’ve updated this site. On the one hand I was so busy getting my feet under me that I didn’t have much time to process all of the changes in my life. On the other hand so many great things were happening that I didn’t want to sit down at a computer and try to sift out what I should write.

Suffice it to say that my first two years in Washington, DC have been awesome and tiring and exciting and healing. To give you the short and sweet explanation I’ve broken down how each year really changed me and made me better. My first year in DC was really all about shoring up my emotional health.

Professional Confidence

Sometimes you don’t know how a past situation has adversely affected you until you get into another situation that’s entirely different. That’s exactly what happened to me at my new job. After two years of freelancing and underemployment and health issues, I was finally employed full-time at a job I adored. And was good at, apparently.

I couldn’t get over how excited everyone was to have me on board. I couldn’t get used to so many acclamations (I still can’t, actually). And I couldn’t get used to the feeling that I knew what I was doing (lol) when it came to the basic functions of my work.


Because I once had a very bad boss a few jobs ago and it really affected my confidence. I didn’t even know it until I started the new gig. In the old job my boss and I just had very different ideas of what success looked like in that position. The person before me was a rockstar and I’d never be able to live up to the standard. I knew in the first week that it was a bad fit, but ended up staying for over a year.

Then I quit. Found a new job. And over the course of several years and transitions found myself in DC at an organization that does amazing work and that thinks I’m awesome. Sometimes it still feels too good to be true.

 Friends Who Became Family

 I wouldn’t say my emotional health took a toll in the Midwest. I would say that it’s hard to find a place to fit in when you’re of a certain age and are not married with kids in the suburbs. I knew a gal in her early twenties who relocated to Wisconsin from L.A. for work…and she lasted less than a year. While making friends at work and having fun at events is easy, everyone else’s lives revolved around their nuclear families on the weekends and any given day. She wasn’t able to really find a place to fit in as a single twenty something.

DC has been the exact opposite. The city is young and it’s booming. The majority are intellectual (and by that I mean curious, not necessarily educated or whatever term has been recently denigrated by politics) and many are single. Everyone has hobbies. Few have immediate families nearby unless they’ve made one for themselves here over the years. In short, everyone is looking for something to do and someone to hang out with…even those who are married with children. People here are in a near constant state of making friends, or, at the very least, open to expanding beyond their current circle. The city – as I’ve experienced – is vibrant. It helps that there are so many free things to do.

The second friend I met in the city introduced me to a group that have become my family here. Work has also become a source of close friendships. In short, I’ve found a place to belong and my calendar is always full.

The saddest part about living here is that people come and go more quickly. But the friendships are many and long-lasting. This city is my people. It’s been a balm to my emotional health. And that first year laid a great foundation for even better things to come.


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