I'm not sure which pricks me more: things changing or things not changing.
I remember returning to my alma mater the year after I graduated to find a new crop of students. They were doing all the things that I had done: trooping up and down Princess Street, grabbing mobile lunches at the Pita Pit, living it up at my bars, etc. I knew it was self-centered and foolish, but it bothered me that nothing had really changed. I didn't expect that there would be a me-shaped hole on campus, but I felt swept aside and, to top it off, foolish for having an unspoken expectation that things would be different with me out of the equation. Like the ex we hope/expect to pine for us forever even as we move on with our lives, though I had formed my own life in a different location, I wanted Kingston to long for me.
Perhaps because DC is my "hometown", I want things to not have changed. I want the intricate systems of road, parkways, highways, toll roads etc. to be just as I left it. And it's not. I want my favorite restaurants to be just as I left them - menus, servers, ambiance, etc. intact. And they're not. All areas, but especially urban ones, are embodiments of the Phoenix - they cannabalize parts of themselves to create the new and different. Since I'm feeling pouty, I'll point out that new and different does not necessarily mean better.
I always say that we don't ever get beyond 7th grade. Well, maybe the set-point is actually even younger than that. Logically, I know how ridiculous it is to expect everything to stay the same - how self-centred, really. But emotionally, I want DC to be my home place. I want it to be dependable and unchanging, comfort food like tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.
I'm happy to be back in DC, but it's also bittersweet. It's not the place I left a year ago. It doesn't fit me like it once did.
And all of that, well, that's just fine.