Musings on Mormonism



For those who care…a Bryce update

I’m going to be blunt: life in DC is wearing on me. This is not to say that there aren’t many things which I like about living here, because there are plenty. However, for probably a number of reasons, I’m not as enthusiastic about this place as I was a few months ago. Perhaps this is to be expected – most things in life tend to lose their novelty and luster as they become more familiar – but I think there is more to it. Although my employment status is definitely a significant factor in how I experience life generally (for the record, I am grateful to even have a job, and especially to have one that is fairly relaxed and involves some cool people), I think the biggest source of my discontentment is the culture and people of DC.

You may be thinking “Wow, waging war against everyone in a major metropolitan area would wear on anyone. You should chill out, dude”, so let me be more specific. What I have a hard time with is how political people are here. You may now be thinking “No duh, you’re in the nation’s capital”, and while it is obviously true that such a place would attract politically-minded people, I mean “political” in a broader sense; generally speaking, the culture here emphasizes power, achievement, and appearances. In short, it’s a playground for red personalities. As someone who, historically, has been passionately disinterested in power and appearances but cared a great deal about achievement, I am a bit uneasy in such an intense, self-conscious environment, even though I was initially drawn to it for the sake of achievement. Throw in the fact that I have tempered my ambition and perfectionism – or am at least attempting to do so – with lightheartedness, foresight, and concern for the needs of others, and compare it to the norm here – business-minded, short-sighted, materialistic, and busy (usually much too busy to slow down and really connect with people) – and you may see why this is a somewhat uncomfortable fit for me.

Fortunately, my perceptions do not necessarily match with reality. The reality is, I’m sure, that there are plenty of like-minded people here, notwithstanding the great pull this area has for stiff and power-conscious people. The trick is finding such people, and making the best of whatever circumstances I find myself in. In the end, life can and should be analyzed and pondered upon, but it must also be lived. In fact, that is the fun part! 🙂

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Comments

  1. * SKISLN says:

    Yeah, I’d heard that DC is chock full of people busy doing Big Important Things–I guess it’s not surprising that power junkies would get drawn to the seat of power. Here’s hoping you succeed in finding a peer group that challenges you to be your best self–many times in my own life I probably would have settled for lesser goals without the example of others to spur me on. When you see people you respect accomplishing worthwhile goals, it makes you want to not sell yourself short. I think that having peers who inspire you may have a life-changing effect on what you do with your own potential.

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 12 months ago
  2. * Greg says:

    With all the things that stink about D.C. ain’t it great to know such an awesome, smart, attractive and humble guy like myself: Greg. So Bryce I was thinking about you recently about our conversation on style, which you have so much of. I say we trade tips for a while and expand our ever so good looks. Stay dapper my friend.

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 12 months ago
  3. * Bryce says:

    Thanks so much for your comments, guys! SKISLN, I really appreciate your thoughts on peers and meeting your potential. Very well said – you’ve definitely given me something to ponder on. And Greg, thanks for just being awesome! I agree, we should support each other in our efforts to be dapper dudes 🙂

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 12 months ago
  4. * Susie says:

    Bryce, it really is interesting how one needs to find the place they feel comfortable, whether by forming a network of likeminded individuals or by moving themselves to a community where the majority tends to be likeminded. When you are in a community where you are different, you can be fresh and interesting to others in spite of the loneliness of “not fitting in” and not wanting to, and you can thereby be in a position to either effect a change or be changed, or both. A lonely position perhaps, but there will be those who respect and come to admire those differences you have to offer, and can be of mutual benefit. I hope in time you will find it possible to scratch deeper than these difficult surface truths, perhaps through getting better acquainted with individuals, and make friends that while different may be influenced for good through your part in their lives.

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 12 months ago
  5. * Bryce says:

    Susie, thanks for your comments! You’re right, being an “outlier” can be both a challenge and an opportunity. And actually, I do feel very optimistic about establishing connections with like-minded people, as well as bridging the gap with less-like-minded people. I feel like there are such opportunities around virtually every corner.

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 11 months ago
  6. * David says:

    Bryce, I stumbled onto your blog from facebook. My friend, I’ve been here two years and my perception is that you’re 50% correct. DC is certainly more about “who you know” than anywhere in the nation. This mindset seems to be pervasive, even affecting the technology sector from what I can tell. (Take a look at some management bios from startups here vs startups in Boston or Silicon Valley. In many cases management teams here are chalk full of older well-connected types, while in the Northeast and Palo Alto it seems to be more about “how smart are you and your team?” and “what interesting ideas do you have?”) I dislike this part of the culture, but I think it reflects the kind of work that gets done here more than it reflects the personalities of the people doing that work.

    Having lived in Boston, Silicon Valley, and stints in N.Y., though, I’d say casting this town as one with mostly Red personalities is wrong. In my experience, it’s half Red and half Blue (with a noticeable dearth of Yellow… haha).

    There are a goodly number of Red personalities walking the streets here, but I would implore you to remember that DC is the world mecca of nonprofits and low-paying government jobs. What sort of people are attracted to nonprofits and low-paying government (and quasi-government) jobs? Blues. Deep, altruistic Blues. People who deep down are true do-gooders who happen to be also be intelligent, active do-ers. Smart people who either can make a difference or are blinded by the belief that they can make a difference (I submit that DC is the world headquarters for both). How long they last here depends on how strong their altruistic cores are. Many are smothered by the “who do you know?” culture, the power-hungry Reds that make up the other half of the town, or the emptiness of not actually seeing much difference result from what they do. But most stay because it’s still a happening international and national hub.

    Some people mistake such Blues for Reds, because really their behavior can seem similar. It’s the motivation that is very different. Look around in your ward and tell me you don’t see these altruistic Blues, particularly among the ladies… cuz I see both male and female Blues all over the city.

    A lot of people in DC seem to think what they’re doing is important (for most recent grads in a new job this wears off in 6 months). I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Their work may not be that important in the grand scheme of things, particularly in light of what really matters, but so what? What could be better for productivity and personal fulfillment than thinking what you do is important? I think SKISLN has some good advice. Rather than push back at a culture you don’t see as inviting to you, invite yourself in since you’re already here and kick it up a notch. Of course, it’s a given that if you’re a DC-metro resident you’re expected to indulge in a healthy amount of insightful critique of what goes on around you.

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 10 months ago
  7. * Bryce says:

    Dave, wow, lots of great insights there! I think you’re right – DC attracts mostly Reds AND Blues, and I think you’re right about the two often getting mixed up. I thought this was especially portentous:

    “Smart people who either can make a difference or are blinded by the belief that they can make a difference (I submit that DC is the world headquarters for both). How long they last here depends on how strong their altruistic cores are. Many are smothered by the “who do you know?” culture, the power-hungry Reds that make up the other half of the town, or the emptiness of not actually seeing much difference result from what they do.”

    Also, ditto on the dearth of Yellows. I think that’s what gets me the most about this place. However, I do think kicking it up a notch is good advice for all occasions and circumstances, and so kick I shall.

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 10 months ago


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